Blowin’ in the Wind

This post will confirm my 60’s roots and the profound impact the experience of the tumultuous events of a decade had in shaping my thinking still today.

While on a solitary daily walk I take to break-up the hours of self-isolation during the Covid-19 crisis, I listen to selections from my extensive music collection as I wander through different neighborhoods.

Today I had programmed a random playlist of older albums and songs.  It was an emotional journey down memory lane on a beautiful spring day.  The music filled my mind with images of the exhilarating experiences of my generation –– student activism and protests for civil rights, freedom of expression, women’s lib and opposing the Vietnam War.

One song in particular, Blowin’ in the Wind, written by Bob Dylan and sung by Joan Baez, caused me to stop and ponder the troubled times in which we now live and that ultimately it was the power of the right to vote that altered the political landscape of a nation and influenced the course of national and world events.

I have been watching Trump’s “reality TV” briefings live on CNN and am shocked at the socio-economic and political chaos he has created.  When the world needs Winston Churchill’s eloquence, courage, and perseverance in the face of unrelenting horror, we see Trump parading around as a “War President” making a mockery of the role played throughout history by truly great leaders in times of crisis.

In Japan, it would appear Prime Minister Abe has learned nothing from the experience of other countries and his ill-advised initial slow response to prevent the spread of the virus in order to avoid cancellation of the 2020 Olympics. Overtaken by events, he was finally forced to act but still, supported by an officious bureaucracy, his political concerns trumped the need for a more forceful emergency declaration.

Fortunately, the Governor of Tokyo, the largest metropolitan area in the world, ignored Abe’s request to wait two more weeks to “see what happens,” decided in the face of growing evidence and fearing a New York City-like experience to take far stronger action. Tokyoites are responding and I will do my part by fully supporting the Governor’s call for unity and compliance.

Incidentally, the Governor of Tokyo is a women!

And, although residing in Tokyo I will cast my absentee ballot in one of the most consequential Presidential elections in American history. I still hear Tennyson’s rallying cry –– Come, my friends. Tis not too late to seek a newer world. I pray my fellow citizens will answer the call.


Blowin’ in the Wind | Bob Dylan

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, and how many times must the cannonballs fly
Before they're forever banned?

The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind

Yes, and how many years can a mountain exist
Before it is washed to the sea?
Yes, and how many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?
Yes, and how many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn't see?

The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind

Yes, and how many times must a man look up
Before he can really see the sky?
Yes, and how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, and how many deaths will it take 'til he knows
That too many people have died?

The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind

Recent Tokyo Sights

Here is a small collection of some recent photos from my travels around Tokyo.

There are many large beautiful parks and gardens all over Tokyo. However, it is the small neighbor parks nestled in between shops and other buildings that provide a welcomed place to sit, relax and reflect on the wonders of city life.

Need to call home? With fabulous technology all over town, you can still find pay-phones and an occasional phone booth.

And more …..

Our favorite neighborhood “fast food” place!
Street musicians in Ueno Park. Great smooth jazz.
Meet my new friends!
Performing monkeys. These guys are good.

Toma’s New Adventure

Neither Keiko nor I miss having a car in Tokyo. But I suspect that Toma does miss his daily rides in the car to the Back Cove and Mackworth Island as well as other frequent trips around the Portland Maine area. Indeed, I suspect he really doesn’t understand what happened to the Audi TT Roadster. He loved proudly riding around in that car with top down!

To compensate, Toma had his first bike ride.

“Not quite the TT Paul, but it will do.”
“A cool trip! Don’t stop now.”

He and we really enjoyed the experience. Keiko and I shared the transportation duties, while Toma was safely tucked into his travel backpack. Next trip we will try to get some video clips.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to …..

That old Broadway line was brought to mind as Keiko and I were taking a walk around the building location of our new condo last week.  We were early for a meeting with a contractor and were leisurely exploring the surrounding neighborhood.

As we were finishing the tour an elderly Japanese gentleman appeared walking across from us. He stopped and was staring at me.  We stopped as well.  After a few moments of silence, he said inquiringly to me in perfect English “Where are you from?”  Not certain of his intent, I answered “Tokyo.”

He smiled and said “No, where are you from originally?”  I apologized in Japanese and answered “the United States.”  He walked up to us, saying “I thought so” as he extended his hand in greeting.

After introducing ourselves, we were then treated to a very friendly and informative 15 minute conversation.  His English was flawless.  He said he has lived all his life in the area and provided us with interesting historical information beginning with the Edo or Tokugawa period in 1603.

He welcomed us to our new home.  As we were parting, he said he walks the neighborhood every morning and that perhaps we would meet again.

We said thank you waving good-bye and turned to each other with the same look of bewilderment.  A mere coincidence?  Frankly, what are the chances of that “just happening” in Tokyo, a metropolis of over 39 million people?  Fate?  Destiny?

We agreed that for whatever reason, the strange encounter was a positive sign and confirmation that Keiko made a good decision in buying the condo.

I am looking forward to seeing him again ….. if he really lives there?