Thursday, August 16, 2007
I was moved to watch White Light, Black Rain on HBO after reading Lisa's excellent review. I watched that special with mixed feelings. My Dad was a WWII veteran, and he was being sent off into the Pacific theater right before the bomb was dropped. The bomb ended the war, so instead of going off to fight in Japan, my Dad was part of the recovery crew that landed in Nagasaki, 6 months after the bomb. The pictures that I am showing here, are ones that he took after he landed.
This posting has little to do with television, and a lot to do with hope...that after such suffering (the victims of the bombing at Nagasaki/Hiroshima) there could be anything...even 60 years later...to say that would be positive on their behalf.
But here it is. Last December, my son Tommy's high school band hosted 1o0 students from another school band from Japan. Many of the band parents in Torrance California volunteered to have Japanese students stay at their homes for a couple of days, during this exchange student event. We ended up having Aya and Yuka stay with us. Between the two of them, they spoke maybe 8 words of English, and most of those words had to do with Disneyland. Tommy rallied his high school musician friends, one of whom was Japanese American and fluent in both languages. He came to our house to translate, and they all had a spontaneous band jam in my living room that first night...(trumpets, trombones, guitars...my neighbors must have hated me!) Somehow, between Tommy's fledgling Japanese, our translater friend, sign language and lots of flipping through our 800 cable channels (we actually found a Japanese language news channel for them on Time Warner cable) we were able to communicate through a 2 day visit. To be honest, it was food, and not television, that formed the most delightful bonds with our guests. It wasn't always clear what they like to watch on TV, but it was instantly clear that they loved the pizza, or fruit tree, or (biggest hit of all) Denny's cheese omelet and hash browns take out.
Aya and Yuka had an excellent visit, played wonderfully at a local concert hall and were treated like royalty by my son Tommy and his friends. Everyone exchanged email addresses, and they still keep in touch. Throughout the visit, I could not help but think...60 years ago, Tommy's grandparents, and Yuka and Aya's grandparents...were trying to destroy each other.
But you would never know it from their encounter, here in Torrance, California, just a few months ago.
White Light, Black Rain was a heart rending documentary. The world's only survivors of nuclear weapons, serve as living examples for why the world must never again come to that brink of horrific destruction. I think that kids like Tommy and Aya and Yuka...will make sure of it.