* * * * * Entropic Forest * * * * *

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Series No. 04



Hi there, it sure is hot our there, but don't you just sit there with your pathetic butts pasted on the couch! Get out there in that beautiful mary gold yellow sunshine, and get into action! The riverfront athletic park rehabilitation is finally complete, just waiting for your arrival. Dioxine removal really made a huge difference, and we're now back to the level of cleanness in the late last century. Now, why don't you all go out and take a whiff of that fresh summer morning air, at the City Waterfront Park!

--- From a public service message on the National Broadcast

...so this encouraged my wife to kick me out of the house again, and besides, not much of a comfort being in the house with my alzheimer parents occupying the already scarce floor space like a immobile log, and here I am at the river front again. As usual, hardly a soul there, as you can see from my picture. Morning tends to be slightly better, with bunch of old people (who can still move), but the sick-air syndrome panic a couple of years back has really cut back all out door activity, and hardly anyone goes out unless out of absolute necessity. No one really knows what this "sick-air" is, and the syndrome itself is very likely just a form of mass hysteria, but who cares. Rumors flow around claiming it's worse there, or it's intense here, causing the panicked residents into mass exodus (with the media as the match-pump, as usual).

One of the Tohoku river beds was discoverd to be used as an enormous dumping ground for the past several decades. Ground contamination supremo. All the rivers immediately lost crediblity. Clean-up activities didn't inspire confidence for some reason, and the local government is out of hands except for cheesy public service announcements. Many indoor freaks never go out. They move from indoors to indoors, using air-conditioned cars. Some went so far as to install an space-station grade air lock system on their cars, so that they won't have to touch un-cleansed air. Home clean rooms are also popular. Sounds crazy to me, but as I observe the noon air, it seems misty and dense with smog. I kinda see their rationale.

We're supposed to feel nature here --- yer, right. These days, nature is unpopular, to say the least. Some people started to worry about natural insecticides (you know, the natural pesticide poison that the plants emit to protect themselves). Ecology maniacs are completely confused. Vendors of housing appliances have come up with natural pesticide remover (which is not clear what it's actually doing), which became a huge hit. New genetically engineered "safe vegetables" that does not emit natural pesticides are grown (using tons of artificial pesticide) and marketed for the super health conscious. But is this natural? What is natural and safe anyway?

Nature these days seem to be an urban infrastructure, locked in parks and leewees, or crouched beneath huge iron utility towers. Of course mother nature comes back with a vengeance. Last year, with the typhoon, this river flooded, and the whole area mudded down. Also, fears for the Great Tokyo Earthquake, which is supposed to happen any day during past 50 years, are looming. Rumor has it that it is possible to forecast it 3 days before the thing. This doesn't leave enough time for mass evacuation, so only the VIPs, rumor says, would be informed. Watch out when all the high ranking bureaucrats and the royal family leaves the area at the same time. Four years ago, there was the Japan Siberia Friendship Festival, G9 summit, and the funeral for the former president of Brazil. Aha! Major panic. 53 people crushed to death. I wonder what would happen when the actual thing hits Tokyo. Come to think of it, this riverfront park is supposed to be an evacuation area for that occasion...

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Came back after five years. Nothing changed. Still nobody here. Even the plantation seems to be the same; possibly because of the contamination? Some claim that the change in the urban climate requires a shift toward more tropical plantation. Maybe this will change in another five years. From here, you can hear the whole city humms with the air conditioner sound.

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YAMAGATA Hiroo (hiyori13@mailhost.net)