July 4th, Wednesday:
- Miso Soup (Bean Curd, Daikon Radish, Carrot)
- Stir-fried Vegetables in a Chinese Sauce (Onion, Carrot, Cabbage, Spinach, Bean Sprout)
- Breaded Shrimp Patty
In America, today is Independence Day. American settlers wanted self-determination, thus they fought a war with England to obtain it. Their usurping of the Native American’s lands in the process was a bit shady, but I much sympathize for a desire for freedom.
In Japan, the equivalent holiday to Independence Day would be Foundation Day (Kenkoku Kinen no Hi). This holiday was originally founded (then called Kigen Setsu) by the new Meiji state to help strengthen the national conscious. It was, of course, abolished during the Occupation of Japan. However, it was revived some years after with its new name. Modernly, it isn’t much celebrated: we get the day off from work, a few people hang the national flag, and I know that my local shrine has a small but charming celebration that involves singing the national anthem and delicious Japanese sweets. I think it isn’t so popular of a holiday because people associate it with the imperialism all great nations (including Japan) engaged in during the start of the 20th century. But I personally feel celebrating the historic foundation of Japan and engaging in Western-style imperialism are two completely separate things, and it’s a shame they are still linked together in the modern Japanese conscious.
Hawaii, of course, celebrates Fourth of July along with the rest of America. But Kamehameha Day could be accurately listed as a holiday similar to Independence Day and Foundation Day. It celebrates, as you may have astutely conjectured, King Kamehameha who united all the islands into a true nation-state. Of course, in that age of imperialism, such a small country had no chance of remaining independent. American businessmen shortly overthrew the democratically elected monarch. But I suppose if America hadn’t done so, Japan eventually would have. Actually that might have been pretty cool. I could have been Japanese like Tachihara Masaaki!
The fierce JHS sports competitions continue today, so there is no school lunch for me again. Instead I will give you a video my dear brother brought to my notice about Hawaii and imperialism. It is kind of long, but involves animated kittens, so I encourage you to watch it.