The blog of Tokyo based photographer and photojournalist, Damon Coulter

Men Of Wisdom

The picture is the great Buddha at Kamakura, which Barack Obama visited on Sunday because he had fond memories of eating Green Tea ice-cream there as a child of six.

I don’t know about you but that little piece of information just makes me believe in the man who wrote The Audacity of Hope all the more, regardless of his many problems at the moment; and despite being leader of the free world and all that, it makes him very human in my eyes. It also makes him worldly (how many other American six year old kids even know of the existence of green tea ice cream or Kamakura. Or Japan for that matter?) and though there is the possibility of course that whole event was staged to sweeten the bitter pill of some future news related to Okinawa and  military base inertia, it does feel real: it feels like a man seizing an opportunity to revisit happy childhood memories that can be enjoyed all the more because of his current adult stresses and that just make him more understandable and ordinary. Perhaps some people seeing it will think about how they would deal with the things he has to contend with each day and see that they could no better handle the anger and ignorance of the Tea Party movement or the agendas of lobbyists or the interests of companies and their ransomed scientists; or voters that hate the help he promised to provide them and which they desperately need and cut him some slack. After all don’t we all sometimes wish we could sit in a park eating our favourite flavour ice-cream and enjoy the moment without any other care, just as we used to when we too were six.


PS Funny how my spell checker recognizes Obama but not Okinawa. Which says a lot more than it should about the problems all Americans face.


3 responses

  1. Excellent!

    November 17, 2010 at 9:00 am

  2. itllallendintears

    really don’t see how the base situation can end well. no other community in japan is going to accept a new american base, there might even be unrest if they try to move it within okinawa…

    in the long-term the marines are just going to have to leave, and japan will be forced to normalise it’s relations with it’s neighbours sans the threat of american military intervention.

    at this point it seems like rough roads lead off into the distance in all directions!

    November 17, 2010 at 9:27 am

  3. Thanks Guys. Can’t see it ending well in Okinawa also John, and it could push the Okinawa autonomy issue further as they will feel the contract the japanese government has with the US is just that a Japanese thing, not an Okinawan thing. There are some bad memories of Japan in Okinawa though i cannot see them wanting to break away completely, but the irrationality of nationalism can be dizzyingly short-sighted so who knows what will happen.
    Brian long time no hear. Hope you’re keeping well. Hope to catch up soon.

    November 17, 2010 at 9:49 am

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