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Post Noah Rich Sends Mountain Day Greetings from Japan
Created by John Eipper on 08/23/17 3:41 AM

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Noah Rich Sends Mountain Day Greetings from Japan (John Eipper, USA, 08/23/17 3:41 am)

Noah Rich writes:

It's been a long time since I've made a contribution to WAIS and I haven't had much time to follow a lot of the discussions currently going on. I just moved to Japan at the beginning of the month and am still getting settled in.

However, about a week and a half ago Japan had a national holiday, "Mountain Day." Its first year of celebration was in 2016 (only a 2-year-old holiday), after being decided in 2014. The Japanese Alpine Club, one of the holidays biggest supporters as it was being decided on, said that the holiday is to provide "opportunities to get familiar with mountains and appreciate blessings from mountains."

When I spoke with my coworkers about what I should do on the holiday, they said silly things like, "Maybe you can look to the west and appreciate Mt. Fuji for a couple of minutes." (I'm in Saitama.) What a laugh! I thought to myself, "Oh boy, only in Japan." But surely there must be other somewhat silly national holidays across the world where other WAISers live, no?

So I ask all those out in WAISworld, what kind of odd holidays do countries you've been to celebrate?

JE comments:  Readers will remember our friend Noah Rich, who recently graduated from Ohio University in Athens.  During his undergraduate days, Noah was a research assistant of WAIS stalwart Robert Whealey.  Noah is also the world citizen par excellence, having studied in Catalunya as an exchange student, and now living in Japan.  Tell us about your new gig, Noah!

As for holidays, August 23rd is Buttered Corn Day, as well as two days laden with gravitas:  European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism, and the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and Its Abolition.  The latter event marks the date in 1791 when enslaved Haitians first rebelled against their European oppressors.

This is a lot of heavy remembering.  I'll make sure I eat some buttered corn tonight.

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  • Waldchestag and Other German Holidays (John Heelan, UK 08/23/17 1:55 PM)
    Noah Rich asked on 23 August: "So I ask all those out in WAISworld, what kind of odd holidays do countries you've been to celebrate?"

    When we lived near Frankfurt, we enjoyed Wäldchestag, when work stopped at midday and everybody went for a pleasant walk in the woods. Another odd holiday in Bavaria was at the end of Fasching-Rosmontag, held on Shrove Tuesday the day before Lent begins. Studying "Carnival" in various countries, the ritual and mores of Fasching itself--and Rosmontag in particular--fascinated me. One of the rituals on that day (in Munich anyway) is that any man wearing a tie is likely to be confronted by a woman wielding a pair of scissors with which she cuts off the loose end of the tie. It always seemed to me a symbolic castration of males before the start of Lent.

    (Don't get me started on Spanish pre-Lenten carnival rituals and "The Burial of the Sardine"!)

    JE comments: My tie (I'm back at the College now) cringes as I edit this!  (It's kind of old and ugly anyway.)

    Remember folks:  Buttered corn tonight.

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  • Greetings to Noah Rich (Robert Whealey, USA 08/24/17 8:06 AM)
    A greeting to my student Noah Rich. I am still in Athens and I am still trying to edit my memoirs.

    I have never been to Japan. I still remember my reaction to the dropping of the two atomic bombs. The Far East was one of my teaching fields on my PhD General Exams (orals) taken in April 1959.

    Keep thinking.

    JE comments:  Keep thinking.  Love it.  It's a stunningly accurate embodiment of the WAISly ideal.  Can we make it our second motto after Pax/Lux/Veritas?

    Robert:  Please send us a sample chapter of your memoirs.  How about your memory of August 1945?  If my memory serves, you were fifteen at the time.  Was there general jubilation in the US?  Horror about the thousands of victims in Hiroshima and Nagasaki?  Anxiety at the dawn of the Atomic Age?  All of the above?

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