Wednesday, May 07, 2003



I'm not sure yet why I think of this cult as cute; there just seems to be something sort of kawaii ("cute"; but only the Japanese word can capture the meaning I intend here) about them, at least so far; you never know with folks who surrender their brains to the ether without a second thought. But here I was, thinking that not too many folks in Japan were as doubtful as I am about electromagnetic fields (EMF)-- people all over the country blithely living below very-high-tension cables, building grade schools right beside intense transformer stations etc.-- when, since 1977, a woman guru (now terminally ill; where are miracles when you really need them?) has been creating an entire cult around EMF that now numbers over 1000 members!

And what a name! Panawave Laboratory devotees get to wear white headdresses like ancient Egyptians, dress up in white sheets (white protects them from electromagnetic waves), drive around slowly in long trains of all-white, sticker-covered, EMF-generating vans and camp here and there in the unfortunately green mountains of central Japan in their sacred quest to protect themselves and their guru from the insidious effects of pretty much everything, actually.

It's no surprise that the towns in their proximity and path do not want these ghostly flakes anywhere in the vicinity. A recent urgent pronouncement from the dying guru does not address any of these problems or issues; rather it calls for the protection of Tama-chan (kawaii!!), the celebrity bearded seal recently granted residency ahead of many humans in line. For our information, the cult also issued the un-kawaii statement that the "approach of the Nibiru star will be delayed nearly a week from Monday [missed a bus or something; those death-stars are never on time] and those who do not listen to this message will face death." It's not clear what those who are listening should do about the Nibiru star, but hey, it's not all that different from having an unpleasant president. Right now the ghostly EMF-evaders are up around my in-laws' neighborhood, but perforce they continue to roam the back roads of Tottori, Hyogo, Kyoto, Fukui, Gifu and Shiga Prefectures, so any day now I might look out my window and see dozens of white-robed pariah-pharaohs, basking in the uniquely EMF-less airs of Pure Land Mountain. I'll let you know if I do.

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