Monday, October 11, 2004


If you’re looking for Japan, you’ve certainly come to the right place at the right time. Just a couple of eras ago, a mere second in geological terms, you might have drowned. Because it wasn’t until the early Miocene that the Japanese islands finally broke away from the Eurasian Continent and headed east on their own, a separation that, judging from present attitudes, was inevitable.

Reflexively you might wonder what the Japanese thought of the breakaway, but of course there were no Japanese back then, everything can’t happen at once, but perhaps more importantly there were no people anywhere at all yet, so even the Chinese, who are notoriously touchy about territoriality, couldn't raise a finger in protest at this departure of a major land mass from their coastal region as they certainly would if such a thing happened today, but then on the other hand if it did happen today, all the so-called Japanese would have been by this time thoroughly Chinese and reluctant to leave their traditional home and live on an island, speak a completely different language and be on very close terms with the capitalist land masses.

Diplomatically, as you can imagine, such a split would generate tremendous international repercussions, so it’s much better it happened many millions of years ago, before diplomacy was as desperately needed as it is today. Things like that often work out for the best if you just leave them alone, a lesson we in the modern world would do well to learn.

Anyway, by the middle of the Miocene, the Japanese Islands (which needless to say even at that late date were technically still not the Japanese Islands, the government of that period being only a very loose confederacy of primitive mammals and ferns) had drifted to more or less where they can be found today, which is a great boon to airline pilots and mariners and whoever else happens to be looking for Japan at this precise location, although it was only about 400 millennia ago that the touristically interesting environment of today’s Japan appeared, subsequent cultural developments making possible among other things Tokyo, which can now be found quite consistently, thanks to the mapmakers, who prefer Japan and everything in it to be repeatedly right where they’ve drawn them (which as I’ve indicated they haven’t always been), so that visitors like yourself, who would have missed this place completely before the Miocene and wound up in the drink off the coast of what wasn't even China yet, can now find in Japan all the things on every local map, such as the Takarazuka. You certainly picked the right era!


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