(Former) Prime Minister Koizumi said in a press conference statement yesterday (August 27th, 2006) that he is deeply disappointed in the fact that the expressway through Tokyo spoils the beauty of Nihonbashi.
I found this an extremely haunting message. It is colored with great sadness, yet tinged with hope, because, yes indeed the expressway that runs through Tokyo has destroyed the beauty of Nihonbashi. In fact, like 90% of Japanese public works, it has destroyed the beauty of a great many things. The project was a careless one, and those that proposed and built it cared nothing for the land, the scenery, or (despite what they surely claimed at the time) the future. A classic <a href="http://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/product/0809039435/sr=8-2/qid=1156728892/ref=sr_1_2/249-8260153-2193949?ie=UTF8&s=gateway">Of Dogs and Demons</a> moment for Japan. And now that innocence is lost, there is no going back. Or is there?
The fact that Koizumi spoke of this problem, says to me, that there is hope yet, that the Japanese people are starting to wake up to the calamity that they are now well-entrenched into. Their once beautiful country--the one that they claim to be in harmony with--is nearly half paved over in concrete and good intentions. Well, we all know the phrase about 'good intentions', but I think the Japanese are just beginning to suspect. It's a hard, cruel nightmare to wake up from. I hope they don't come out of this as shell-shocked as I fear. Though, I look forward to the enlightenment that hopefully will come after.
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/mopedronin/226667167/"><img src="http://static.flickr.com/66/226667167_36bc7b00b4_t.jpg" width="100" height="68" alt="Nihonbashi (Past)" /></a>Nihonbashi, humble in its beginnings, as painted by Hiroshige.<br><br><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/mopedronin/226667165/"><img src="http://static.flickr.com/95/226667165_800a8f921f_t.jpg" width="100" height="75" alt="Nihonbashi (Present)" /></a>Nihonbashi today, covered by a massive expressway rumbling through the varied districts of Tokyo.