Regardless of creed or culture, there’s no denying the horror of the event that was witnessed in Akihabara on Sunday, where a man in his mid twenties hired a van in Shizuoka, several hours drive away, with the sole intention of ploughing it into a crowded pedestrian area, climbed out of his van and then proceeded to attack the crowd with a hunting knife. Of the people hit by the van and stabbed, seven died.
>> BBC Link
As one of my favourite areas in Japan, the reality that such an event could occur right here, under our noses is horrific.
As a father and husband, the thought that such random violence can, at any time intrude upon our lives and bring all that we have built, all that we cherish crashing to the ground, fills me with sadness. On of Japan’s major plusses, which I hold dearly above virtually all others is the safety inherent in living here. The knowledge that even at night, it is safe to walk the streets with very little chance of being mugged for something as trivial as a pair of trainers or a mobile phone.
Instead, to have this heinous crime committed brings home the fact that no matter where you are, evil, real evil exists.
If there is any good to come of this incident, then I believe it will come from the heightened awareness that a disaffected underclass exists beneath the surface of our society, and that disaffection and disassociation must be tackled at the source if we are to prevent such tragedies occurring again.
This, however, offers scant relief to the families of those affected, who must feel a pain and emptiness in their hearts that calls out for justice or revenge. I offer my sincerest hopes and wishes to all affected that their pain will be appeased, somehow.
Please, take a moment out of your busy schedule to reflect on this tragedy. For, small though it may seem in the ugly morass of destruction that we are forced to witness with every day, it is very real to those who’s lives were irrevocably changed on Sunday, 8th of June, 2008.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always found the sometimes controversial statues of Colonel Sanders somewhat tasteless. In Japan, however they are still commonplace.
Still, Akihabara tends to be the great equaliser, where the hikikomori (the literally hidden substrata of disaffected Japanese youth that shun society) those who rarely leave their home can dress up as commandos, galyords, Anime War Lords or French maids and enjoy a nice day out in the sun.
Colonel Sanders got the Akiba treatment this weekend, in a sweet, Akihabara style publicity stunt.
I must say, he looks a extremely cute, for a 60 year old man with a bad temper.