Interesting encounters in Japan

My strategy for fighting jet lag returning from Asia is to have a large breakfast followed by a large lunch on the departure date. Minimal fluid around lunch and depart in the afternoon. Sleep little the night before. And then sleep all the way in a window seat on the plane. On numerous occasions, I managed to be out before take off and waking up as the plane approaches San Francisco. Picture to the left was my breakfast (a promise I’d show Allen during a chat) from yesterday while in Japan.

Seriously though, I had a number of interesting encounters during this trip to Japan.

First was a peddler for the Epoch Times in a market near Ueno Station. She was there distributing copies of a Chinese language version of the Epoch Times paper. People mostly ignored her, except for the occasional takers. Since I had some time before catching a bullet train to Narita, I thought a conversation with such a person might give me some insights into her thinking. In the back of my mind, I wanted to know to what aim she hope to achieve.

On the front-page of the paper were images of Yueyue being struck by the two vans. (We recently blogged about it too, here. As reader Naqshbandiyya pointed out, one must bear in mind the ‘bystander effect.’) She said the two year-old died because of the CCP. She said that the Chinese people and culture were noble before the CCP took power.

I interrupted her and asked, “what about the hundreds of millions of people the Chinese government brought out of abject poverty?” Before I finished, she shoved a copy of “the History of the Chinese Communist Party” article at me. She went into corruption without missing a beat. I again interrupted her by pointing out the fact that the U.S. recently extradited a corrupt official back to China for prosecution for embezzling money. I was about to explain that the Chinese government openly acknowledges the problem and in fact works hard at fighting it.

Apparently what I said didn’t register. She went on. I thought about the conversation I had earlier this year with a Chinese auto worker while on my way to Yangshuo from Guilin. (See “Conversation with a Chinese auto-worker on fighting graft.”) Not possible with her.

She viewed the CCP like how the Crusaders viewed the Muslims; it was a matter of good versus evil. (She also talked about the plight of many Chinese during the Cultural Revolution. Honestly, on that and corruption, I was sympathetic.)

After she brought up organ harvesting, I lost my patience. So, I asked her what she wanted? She replied, “the CCP must be gone; if they are gone, China will be well again.”

I shook my head and pleaded with her, “if you studied Chinese history, you should know that whenever China becomes weak she is invaded.” Before she replied, I also said that whenever a country looses strong central control, the country usually breaks out into civil war. That is even assuming the country is not meddled with by foreigners. That would likely bring disaster. “Do you wish that on the Chinese people?”

I didn’t expect her to have an answer. And, she didn’t. She continued with more accusations.

Our conversation basically ended there.

As I continued walking through the outdoor market full of shops, I thought how sad this encounter was. Here is a Chinese woman in Japan trying to distribute copies of the Epoch Times in Chinese. How many Chinese people travel through that area a year? I didn’t get the impression she could speak Japanese well. Something must have happened to her personally to give rise to such strong resentment.

I felt sad because she seemed to be shrouded in so much hatred and is unable to see things from another perspective. Perhaps her personal grievances have merits and perhaps there are just recourse within China. Instead, here, she was alone in a foreign land trying to seek ‘justice’ at home.

Had she thought about the hundreds of millions of Chinese people who were once dirt poor and now looking forward to an even better future? It’s a long line!