Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Strange dreams. They kind I was happy to wake up from. Not because they were scary, but uncomfortable. And boring. Dreams that seemed familiar, familiar places and scenarios and themes. Plus a heavy feeling like I was being pressed on. Physically. Something heavy was laying on top of me. Which probably relates directly to my body, how I was feeling, the fact that yesterday I walked three miles to class and back, stood for three hours in class, and then walked another three miles to my therapist and the grocery store. In my new work shoes, that are more like heavy boots, and aren't exactly made for walking long distances. Or maybe they are. I don't make boots. But they are heavy. On the last leg of the journey I walked slowly, like a caveman after a long day in the jungle. Sings Bill Callahan: "Peace on your hand / don't be silly. / Peace in my bah-dee / when I'm tired and beaten."

But it could be worse. Always. And actually yesterday was a good day. Just tiring. Though not tiring like the Japanese death march through New Guinea, as I continue to read accounts of the fighting on the Pacific islands during the second world war. Every time I put the book down, to go to sleep or get off the train, I say, either to myself or out loud, "this is the craziest shit I've ever read." And keep reading. One thing I'm learning from the Japanese perspective was how defeated they all were long before their government surrendered. Marching for a year, starving and sick with no food and no ammunition to fight a war, and no choice to surrender. If you refused to charge to your death you were shot anyway by your commanding officer. "My own company broke camp in Pusan with 261 men. I was the only one who boarded a transport ship bound for Japan and home after the war."

From the Marines' perspective, the Japanese were fearsome, self-less warriors, jumping bonzai style into their foxholes at night to stab a few Americans before blowing themselves up. Whereas from the Japanese perspective, those 'fearless' soldiers probably had no food or ammunition, and no option to surrender. A suicide attack was just about the only thing they could do asides from waiting to be killed. In many of the accounts by Japanese soldiers, there is a moment where, after seeing a fleet of American bulldozers or tanks or an airfield built in a day, or from the account of a film maker who spent time in the Hollywood, to witness the wealth and abundance of American resources, that many of these soldiers had the realization that victory was not possible. And not because of bogus ideas of national character or racial whatever, but because the Americans we're rich and could build thirty times as many planes, and can feed and clothe and provide their soldiers with ammunition. "The only one who wept at the actual news of Japan's defeat was the commander."