Reader Mail

One life amid the Heisei Era

My life in Japan is contiguous with the Heisei Era (“Heisei Era: Hangover” in the June 24 edition). A retrospective of Japanese life in the Heisei Era is resonant with me because it touches many of my personal experiences here. My 1980s were occupied mostly with study — seven years of university. My leap into adulthood, employment and independence came with my arrival in Japan. My plan was to travel farther, to get as far away from my Canadian hometown as I could get without approaching it again from the opposite direction — to discover the diametrically opposite antipode and reside there. Tokyo is not it, but when I arrived here I discovered a country of the living: a place to be human.

Rainy season. I wasn’t prepared for it.

The Recruit scandal.

Takako Doi.

The investigation, arrest and prosecution of the child murderer Tsutomu Miyazaki. His case introduced the term “otaku” to me.

I was riding the Marunouchi subway line in Tokyo about 90 minutes before Aum Shinrikyo released deadly gas there.

Attempts by prime ministers and Cabinet ministers to dismiss homelessness as a lifestyle choice in the face of legions of homeless people sheltering in major train stations in the capital.

Yukio Aoshima ran a delightfully minimalist election campaign for the Tokyo governor’s office — and won!

When Hideo Nomo cunningly escaped his rigged Nippon Professional Baseball league contract in order to play Major League Baseball he was openly vilified in the Japanese press as a traitor — until he was successful, when he was immediately eulogized as a hero.

The yen was sky high on money markets and Japanese ladies were dancing their money away at Juliana’s.

Kogyaru (schoolgirl uniform-based fashion) culture and loose socks. Street music in Yoyogi Park every Sunday.

A sick American president vomiting on Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa.

I got to see the great Chiyonofuji wrestle.

Writing — 196 of my letters printed in The Japan Times.

GRANT PIPER
NAKANO WARD, TOKYO

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.