Firstly, I found out a few minutes ago that my Great Grandma died. I feel bad about this because I really liked her. On the other hand, she was almost 95 years old and it is hard to get too upset for a person that had such a good run as my great grandma did. She was in pretty good health up until a few years ago and until recently, had very good mental capacity. At 94 years of age, we should all hope to be so lucky. I will miss her and the way she decorated her Easter eggs. She was a good person.
Not to dwell too much on that, I went to Kyoto today with my Aunties. It was pretty fun and they spoiled me again. I got treated to lunch by one aunty and then my other aunty bought me a Japanese pajama set. Next time we go out, I am going to pay for everything, they really do spoil me. Motoko's mother came with us for most of the day and is a very sweet lady but she has Alzheimers and can't really take care of herself anymore. I tried to not let it bother me but seeing her, it reminded me a lot of my grandma and I could not help but to be a little saddened at the sight of her. I also saw the temporary care home that she was going to stay in while Motoko went on vacation. I forgot how much nursing homes bother me. More thoughts of my grandma. Upon seeing all of the people in wheelchairs looking at me, I had to try very hard to not excuse myself and wait outside. If I ever get that way, I want to be shot. Seriously.
We also spent some time at Motoko's house and that was fun. Her step-father has a nutty butterfly collecting obsession and I got to look at his massive collection. It was crazy how much work he has put into his butterflies. I guess there are even a couple of species of them fluttering around Japan somewhere that are named after him. As I said, the guy likes his butterflies. I was also shown a live specimen of the Japanese national turtle. The States has the eagle, Japan has a turtle. The thing that sets this turtle apart from others is it can totally close its shell. When a normal turtle gets scared, it retracts all of its extremities into its shell but there are still openings in the shell where the legs, head, and tail were. With this turtle, there are only two openings in the shell, the front and the back. When the turtle gets scared, it pulls its extremities in and actually brings up the bottom of the shell like loading ramps and totally seals itself inside. It was kind of cool to see. Motoko has named the turtle, Kame-chan. Or Miss Turtle...creative, I know. And if a butterfly collection, and the national turtle of Japan weren't enough, I also saw a Tanuki in her backyard. Tanuki are odd creatures that I have a hard time describing. The best I can do is to say the thing has the face of a raccoon without the mask, the body of a fox, and the snout of a badger. They are truly odd looking animals. If you did not know what you were seeing, you would probably think that it was a very tall, emaciated raccoon that looked messed up. Anywho, that was the Japanese wildlife spectacular for the day.
Tomorrow could be kind of weird. I have the day off and if the event happens, I will be able to monitor it and all that transpires from it in real time. In theory, North Korea is going to test fire a long range missle that would be capable of hitting Guam around 2pm tomorrow afternoon. Though it is not thought to be big enough to carry a nuke, it could easily store a chemical or biological warhead in the event that North Korea decided to attack someone. The whole trick to test firing a missle is that you have to fire it over somewhere. In this case, that somewhere is Japan. If this happens, it will be for the second time; North Korea fired a mid-range missle over Japan in 1998 and that gave Japan the excuse it needed to seriously start thinking about re-arming itself and reinstating a full fledged military, something they have not had since WWII. If North Korea tests this missle, Japan is going to be pissed to say the least. If for some reason North Korea miscalculates the trajectory of the weapon and it comes down within Japanese waters, or heaven forbid, Japan itself, the government has said it will take it as a military attack on the country of Japan. I doubt this will happen but if it were to, that would give Japan the legal right to attack North Korea under its constitution. That is when stuff could get really weird. As I said, I seriously doubt this will happen. On that note, it may be that North Korea doesn't even test fire the missle and is just staging stuff to mess with peoples' heads. As it stands now, it looks as if North Korea is prepping the launch site and moving fuel into position at the site. This is all based on satellite photos taken in the past day or two. I have also read that the North Korean government is telling their people to watch the skies and their televisions at 2pm for some kind of announcement. Great.
Now to be fair and unbiased, in North Korea's defense, they have said that the missle they are preparing is going to be used to put a satellite into orbit. People agree that the size of this missle could indeed do that. The downside is, this is the same story North Korea used in 1998.
Anywho, Japan has at least one, if not four destroyers in the Sea of Japan at the moment and all of them are equipped to track any missles that may come from North Korea. If the North Koreans do launch a missle tomorrow, Japan will see it coming almost as soon as it is in the air. In 1998, the launch came as a surprise and I think that was part of the problem. I will keep everyone posted as I find stuff out, I am going to try to be near a television tomorrow afternoon.
In another event that may be related or totally unrelated to the North Korean stuff, the Kyoto train station was bristling with police officers and bomb dogs today. I also saw one person arrive at the station with a full bodyguard escort and was quickly ushered inside by guys in suits, sunglasses, and radios in their ears. It may have been an official on the way to a meeting about the whole North Korean situation or it may have just been a rich somebody that felt like bodyguards were a good idea for today's outting, dunno, but security was higher there today than I have ever seen anywhere in Japan and there were security guys in suits looking all secret servicey hanging out as well, which I have never seen here until today.
Last but not least, today is Father's Day. Happy Father's Day, Dad! :)