After dinner, Agnes tidies up the tableware and begins to prepare to return home.
Jii-chan called me then we drink an after-meal coffee.
Misuzu, Ruriko, Yoshiko-san, Torii-san, and Shou-neechan’s with us.
「 Recently, I looked at the textbooks used in Misuzu’s school 」
「 To tell the truth, it’s too filled. The contents you learn from Japan high school is equivalent to books in prestigious universities in Europe 150 years ago 」
Everyone’s listening to Jii-chan talk.
「 Well, even among the university professors who were familiar with their field, not many people would know even other fields of expertise. But high school nowadays teach such high-level contents 」
「 They just don’t teach it, well, there are tests, but even if you know it all, you can’t use it all practically. I don’t even know what’s the real-world use of functions and factorization. Even history lessons, you’ll never use the Formulary of Adjudications after graduating
「 True, for general education, teaching such high-level lessons may not apply to ordinary students 」
「 Well, nobody remembers it all, besides, after tests, you’ll only remember it as “Oh right, we did have lessons in that” 」
「 That reminds me, there was an interesting event recently 」
「 I went to the theater and saw a play starring a kabuki actor, and it was an ordinary play set in the world of the samurai in the Heian period. 」
「 A trade drama? 」
「 Yes. Correct. In that play, the protagonist’s samurai house has his allied warriors coming to ask. Then, the maidservant of the samurai’s home brings in tea for the guests 」
Tea for the guests.
What about it?
「 Then, a girl about the age of an elementary school girl in the row in front of me, and that girl told her mother “That’s weird” 」
「 Oh, it was Eisai from the Kamakura period that introduced tea to Japan 」
「 It is now known that tea was introduced to Japan before Eisa, but it was only drunk by the court of Kyoto, the nobility, and a few temples. It is said that Eisa came back from the Song Dynasty and planted tea seeds in Japan, and wrote ‘Tea health Ki’ to popularize tea drinking in Japan 」
Oh, I think I learned that one. “Tea health Ki.”
「 Therefore, a samurai living in poverty in the countryside, far from the capital, at the end of the Heian period, before Eisai’s return to Japan, could not possibly serve tea to guests 」
It’s not normal in all houses like now.
「 Oh, I see. You learn Eisai’s name in elementary. They teach a lot of “First times” in elementary books 」
And since the girl read such books, she finds the samurai in the Heian period drinking tea as weird.
「 And there’s another problem 」
「 The tea they presented in the theater is green tea, which is common nowadays, but… 」
「 Oh, I get it! 」
「 Green tea is established during the Edo period 」
「 Indeed, it was matcha back then. I’ve heard of that 」
「 Therefore, they are historically inaccurate. But, only elementary students would care about that 」
Oh, if I was the one watching that play…
I won’t care about that. Heian samurai drinking tea or something.
「 They do have the knowledge and so they mind it. That happens often 」
「 Once you are aware, you’ll mind it even if it’s fiction. And that’s why the police based productions on television today are struggling, right? 」
Shou-neechan joined the conversation.
「 Yes, today’s viewers have a lot of ‘knowledge’ about the police force, so they know that it’s not possible to have an investigator from a fictional police station chasing after a murderer in Shinjuku and shooting him in Shiodome, just like in the past. 」
「 Going to a place where another office is in the jurisdiction and shoot your pistol would be too absurd. In Tokyo, each police station has its own Metropolitan Police Department on top of it… you can’t have one police detective investigating crimes over a large area by himself 」
「 People with such knowledge are too many and they make complaints on TV stations. “That show’s portrayal is just weird’ That’s why they can’t get wild anymore 」
「 Although, I have doubts that the entertainment industry can still act like revolver handguns can fire as many bullets as they want or a shotgun can drop the enemy gun without harming them like before 」
「 After all, it’s an age where people always look at the minor details. Then, they immediately protest when there’s something wrong. Fearing that, the TV stations have shrunk down 」
Anyone with a phone that can send emails can easily make protests.
Even without the direct protests, they can write about how wrong their production is over the internet.
「 On the other hand, many people don’t know a lot because they have no knowledge 」
「 Children these days use phones commonly, don’t they? That’s why they don’t know about the age where there are no phones. Do you guys know those payphones that you put ten yen in that are red or yellow?
「 A red phone? 」
「 Of course you don’t. I heard this story from a company president during a meeting last time, that the children nowadays don’t the manners from back then 」
「 You see, back then, I’m not talking about the Sengoku or Edo period. Just 20, 30 years ago 」
「 For example, the price tags on store items now … all of them would be neatly printed out in computer text. Some stores even have LCD screens to change the prices immediately 」
Oh yeah, they do have LCD screens for prices on department stores and supermarket foodstuff and daily supplies
「 Jii-chan, you went to a supermarket? 」
「 I did, for inspection. I want to learn from experience how Japan is nowadays 」
「 And it’s a lot of trouble each time 」
Jii-chan’s bodyguard, Shou-neechan, smiled wryly.
「 It was easy going to high-class department stores, but recently, it’s stretching even to the district shopping malls 」
「 I always make sure to look at the grocery sections as it changes in time 」
「 I don’t want to be someone who visits high-class stores and then say that I understand how Japan’s economy works…No, let’s return to the topic. About the price tags in stores 」
Jii-chan continues his story.
「 Back then, price tags are all handwritten. They write using permanent markers huge and easy to read writings. They even have a class in commerce high school where you learn how to write a price tag. And if you go further back, they use a brush to write price tags 」
「 Huh, isn’t that a lot of trouble? Besides, the prices in groceries like vegetables change nearly every day 」
「 There’s no other way. There were no convenient machines like now. Barcodes don’t exist so you can’t just beep and go. The employee has to memorize the cost of all the goods in the shop 」
「 That also applies to restaurants. There were no machines where you just push a button back then. The shop assistants have to remember all of the orders in each table and if they don’t bring the orders in sequence, the customers will get angry. You can’t work in a restaurant unless you have the mneme 」
「 There were no white shopping bags when buying things, they use brown paper bags or they hand over used newspapers. It was during the latter half of the ’70s when they started using that bag 」
「 I see 」
「 In trains, you buy tickets from vending machines where you have to push a round button with the fee written in it. The children ticket button is below the adult-use button, you hold your child up to make them press it. The ticket gate staff has scissors cutting off each ticket. That approach differs from each station. Underground trains have no air-conditioning so it was hot during summer. Electricity goes away for a moment in between underground stations and it gets dark
Jii-chan said one after another.
「 Those were common decades ago. For me, it was just recently. But, you don’t know that lifestyle from somewhat a while ago, do you? 」
「 Well yeah, we don’t 」
No other answer to that.
「 Well, you usually discover the customs from the previous age through movies. If you watch old movies, you’ll see “Oh, so that’s how it was before.” Television series replicate the customs of their time, but… 」
Jii-chan’s face turns grim.
「 The children of this age never have the opportunity to watch old movies, do they? They don’t even watch television anymore. Television series is now just a rerun 」
「 Well, in reruns, the actors and staff are already paid, in some works, the production company has already disappeared and the copyright owner is unknown… 」
「 That’s not the case 」
「 The television stations now want to watch what they make right now. Reruns don’t make achievements for themselves, do they? 」
「 Oh, I never thought that they would be gone until the evening reruns of historical plays 」
「 In the worst-case scenario, they’ll take a drama that’s airing on weekdays at 9:00 and rerun it on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Thinking they’d do it for a little publicity. Anyway, if what they’re making now isn’t a hit, they’re not going to get the recognition they deserve… and that’s all they think about. 」
What’s left are the simple news shows. They repeat the same news over and over again. They use talents in between the news to fill in time with unimportant news. Anyway, they try to increase their work even for a bit. As a result, television nowadays hardly has any production. At best, reruns of wide-format dramas are probably only made within the last 15 years. Works during the 90’s period aren’t rerun yet 」
「 It wasn’t until 1996-97 that cell phones became cheaper and more widespread. Therefore, the dramas in the past depict people with status by holding phones 」
Speaking of which, nowadays, everyone has a phone in the dramas broadcasted nowadays.
In other words, few dramas were broadcast before the widespread use of mobile phones.
「 That’s why the younglings don’t understand. How hard the atmosphere in Japan is back then. Having a different atmosphere to the current generation makes one no longer understand 」
「 The Japanese today think differently, have different preferences, and such. Japanese people won’t always be the same. Well, the basis of how Japanese you are don’t change. However, the minor details above the foundation change over the age 」
Japanese people may have the same roots but they change after decades?
「 After the war, the U.S. expelled Japanese politicians and entrepreneurs from public office for ‘cooperating with the fascist military’. It’s the same as what the US is doing in the Middle East just recently. They thought they could ‘democratize’ Japan by expelling those close to the administration. But in reality…….it was just the rise of socialist forces in Japan. It was a time when the Cold War was heightening. The U.S. feared that Japan would become a socialist state if it remained so. So … they brought back the politicians and entrepreneurs they were supposed to have excelled. Unlike the dreamy socialists, they are the ones who have actually run the state. They saw the reality. However, many people oppose the return of power for the leaders during the war era. In the 1955 system, a third of the Diet occupy the Socialist Party. Then, the ruling party, though they’re in control of the majority, they view and listen to the opposition party as a compromise, seeking to lay the groundwork. It was considered shameful to force a vote, saying, ‘It’s okay because we’re the ruling party,’ 」
Misuzu smiled at me.
Jii-chan’s talking so listen to him.
You won’t see each other for a while once we’re back in the Kuromori Mansion.
「 Students during the US-Japan Security treaty were still children during the war. Not many of them had their brothers killed in battle. In other words, there were extremely few people five to ten years older than me. So, in my 20’s I got a great status. In regards to that, the students who participated in the US-Japan security treaty in the ’70s were post-war babies. It was the so-called baby boom generation. Anyway, there were a lot of people. However, those from the ’60s view them as children ignorant of war. The 70’s students were also insecure because of their ignorance of the war. That said, even if they know about the war, the 60’s people didn’t participate in the war. They were still young, and they experienced their father’s and brother’s dying, air-raids, and food scarcity. Therefore, they see themselves as victims of war 」
「 Post-war Japan has been continuing on with the generational struggle. The leaders of the political and business circles were angry that the children of the “60’s” who were children during the war haven’t changed. The 70’s children who don’t know war used that anger. Before the battles that came from ideological differences, there was a clash of generations. There was a prime minister of Japan from 1982 to 1987, he’s still alive today. He was a major in the Navy at the end of the war. Meaning, he’s a fairly ranked soldier. In 1991, the man who was in charge of war insurance as a finance bureaucrat at the end of the war became prime minister. In other words, until just before the bursting of the economic bubble … the major positions in Japanese politics were occupied by a generation of people who were already adults and in the business of the country during the war. 」
I see, so it’s like that.
「 The 1955 system ended in 1993. Since then, Japan’s politics went off course. The prime minister from the 60’s treaty generation has a weak status, and they’re at the mercy of the party. There’s one exception. In the end, the political instability continued that it strayed off course greatly, changing the regime a few years ago. This is where the first prime minister of the ’70’s security’ generation was born and further messed up the nation. The funny thing is, the first prime minister… the son of a regulator during the 70’s security was protected by the establishment… and the second, a man who rose through the ranks to become a politician through the student movement, is nothing like that. It’s common in political parties I believe. Despite being raised to think differently 」
Oh, so there’s two like that.
「 Thirty years ago, if you say anything antigovernment, it would make you look good, it was that kind of poorly shaped structure. The older generation didn’t like it. However, the generation of adults during wartime is about to die out. At least everyone is already retired from key positions in politics and business. But for those who are now inheriting that position lack in dignity. That’s how I feel 」
Jii-chan sips his coffee.
「 Then, that kind of background, or should I say that it’s an atmosphere that changed in time. It’s not that we can teach children nowadays about it. They misunderstand that the ideals and ethical standards from before are still prevalent today. Of course, it’s not the young people’s fault. It’s the adult’s fault for not teaching the changes 」
Do I know?
I feel like I’m someone who makes decisions depending on what I see.
Despite not seeing everything.
「 Oh, I see. Jii-chan and I have different ways of thinking and different standards, is that it? 」
「 Of course. I lived for much longer than you are now 」
「 Furthermore, I’ve seen the atmosphere of various ages. I’ve experienced the change in times 」
Then, he looked at Misuzu and the girls.
「 At least, the women of Japan are much more beautiful than before. Their legs have become longer, torso shorter, and their faces are much more adorable. From what I heard, it’s caused by sitting on chairs much more often and changing their eating habits 」
「 Yes. The culture of sitting on one’s knees will bring your kneecaps forward. Therefore, we don’t do that sitting unless we’re in our traditional dance training 」
「 It is said that Japanese people’s jaws have become smaller since they no longer have to chew hard things. I’ve heard that some children don’t grow wisdom teeth 」
「 Japanese people’s constitution has changed for the past 50 years 」
「 Yes, Grandfather. Before; a piece of cloth is enough to make a Yukata for one person but nowadays, everyone has a good constitution that one measure isn’t enough 」
「 Oh, I think I should sew Danna-sama’s Yukata 」
Misuzu looked at me.
「 It’s already past the time to wear Yukata 」
It’s going to be the winter season soon.
「 Then, I’ll prepare one for next year 」
「 I would lose to Ruri-tan and Mana-chan in cooking so I’ll try sewing instead 」
「 Oh? Winter’s nearby so why don’t you try knitting? 」
「 Knitting’s already starting to boom 」
Misuzu smiles wryly.
「 Everyone’s researching to make mufflers and sweaters for Danna-sama 」
「 Nagisa-oneesama’s teaching us 」
「 Therefore, I would go for Yukata since there are fewer rivals 」
Not many of them knit kimono.
「 Then, I will try learning leathercraft and dressmaking 」
Ruriko says with energy.
「 Geez, you’re well-loved, aren’t you? 」
Jii-chan looked at me in amazement.
「 By the way, I have a question for you 」
「 What is it Jii-chan? 」
「 Imagine a man who disagrees with your views. What will you do? 」
「 If they’re not causing harm to my family or me, then I’ll just leave them alone 」
「 Have you thought of changing their opinion? 」
「 No. After all, they won’t change their opinions because I told them to. I don’t think that I’d want to make contact with people like them. It’ll only involve a lot of trouble. I’m okay if it’s just me but not if my family’s involved 」
「 Hmm, I see 」
Jii-chan looked into my eyes.
「 Then, what if that man who has a different opinion than you wants to cause your family harm? 」
「 I won’t stay silent 」
「 I’ll use any method I can to keep him away from meddling with me 」
Torii-san stares at me.
「 You mean using violent means? 」
「 Isn’t that obvious? Talking to them will make no progress and my family will still be in danger. If I see people as my enemy, then I will quickly take them down 」
「 That does include killing them? 」
「 Naturally. Anyone dangerous to our family will continue as a threat by staying alive. If they can’t quiet down without killing them, then there’s no hesitation 」
「 I find that resolute character of yours amazing. You have no sentiment when it comes to enemies 」
「 After all, I have no time for them. I’m not naive to think that you can resolve everything by talking 」
「 So, what do you think of that? 」
Jii-chan asks Torii-san.