Thursday, December 22, 2005


You couldn't tell by me, the trains seem just as crowded with just as many folks of all ages - though now that I think of it there seem to be fewer infants around than there were 20 years ago, which on a crowded train is definitely not a bad thing...

Don't look now, but at any minute, for the first time in a century, fewer people in Japan are being born than are dying. These days there just seems to be less general interest in those two types of experience. Which brings us to the aging society, with Japan once again the world's canary in a coal mine, entering a new realm before anyone else, and with yours truly pretty much up there in the local silver vanguard, looking for the champagne bar.

I have been a senior citizen for some time now, having climbed from the slough of mere youth to the promontory of age, step by hard-won step. I have done and have been doing my part, but others younger than myself clearly have not. As a result, just about now Japan's population is officially declining, but believe me, I'm not complaining. I rode Tokyo's Yamanote line at rush hour in the 1970s.

As to said decline, I myself may be declining, but nevertheless it seems to me that Japanese society could do a lot better with wisdom at the helm than some upstart knowitall whippersnappers fresh out of the classroom who can't even add to the population. Life experience is what we need, clear-eyed, reading glass-wearing folks up there in positions of party leadership who have experienced life, who know how to bring fine wines to the masses, create a department of rock and roll, swear in a secretary of sexuality, break down a few fences, change quite a few stodgy rules and eliminate even more others that get in the way of a good time to be had by all 24/7 nationwide.

It's called the Silver Surfer Party. Bring a date.

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