Wednesday, April 27, 2005
amagasaki accident, pt.2

(photo by Ko Sasaki)

According the latest news articles, the official death is now 91 and looks to rise to perhaps over 100.

On and off during the past couple of days, I've been thinking a lot about the accident, especially since I know that I used to ride that exact train line (running from my home in Kawanishi to Amagasaki) to make it in time to work. The last stop the train made before the accident was at Itami city, where roughly over a year ago, I began teaching at a kids school close to the JR Itami station - cute kids just like this.

Almost everyday, I would ride the kaisoku (rapid) train from my home station, standing in a crowded train car with music playing from my headphones. I can still hear the loud station announcements (only in Japanese) in my head.

Mamonaku, Itami... Itami desu. Itami no sugi wa, Amagasaki... Amagasaki desu...

I can recall exactly the speed of the train as it leaves JR Itami station and speeds toward Amagasaki. The feeling of the train rising and lurching on the tracks whenever it approaches the left hand turn that takes it into the JR Amagasaki station. I never felt in danger once while riding it.


The Daily Yomiuri and the NY Times have had good articles about the accident - the Times article is notable because it discusses that perhaps that the fault of the accident lies with a Japanese cultural obsession with being on time.

Yoshihiro Shimoura was a third year college student traveling on his way to Kinki University. Shigeru Kosugi was the head of Television Osaka's Tokyo branch who had returned with his wife to visit their home in Kawanishi. Kai Takezaki was a 31 year old woman on her way to her vocational school in Osaka to study pet care. They were all killed in the accident.

Part of me wants to rationalize away feelings I have... to dismiss these odd pangs of guilt. After all, human beings frequently ask themselves the question of why are some spared and why are some not. People will often just attribute survival to dumb luck and random chance. But the other part of me can't accept that and yet at the same time, there's almost a vague sense that if there's a reason that I'm alive, what is it? Or was it just not my time?

I'm no more deserving than they. I mourn and pray for the families who grieve.

Jesus' words from Luke 13:4-5 come to mind.


On a related note, I finally got around to watching 21 Grams last night for the first time and I was deeply moved by the movie. The story's pacing and the sequence of the scenes were well-done, and Sean Penn, Benicio Del Toro, and Naomi Watts gave brilliant performances.

In light of my thoughts about the Amagasaki Accident, the story was a lot more meaningful. The juxataposed stories of the lives of three different strangers shattered and blown apart like leaves by a single, tragic accident was a reminder that life really is fragile and that when when people have been afflicted by horrible circumstances, especially those beyond their control, they are left deeply wounded and scarred...


i'm watching the 7pm NHK news right now. 10 bodies found today, making it 106 dead.
oh, the driver was one of the 10 too.
yeah i think about this a lot too. if i'm breathing it means i'm here for a reason...that God's not ready to take me, because i myself don't see any reason to be here. absolutely none.
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in?scrip?tion (n-skrip-shun)n.
1. The act or an instance of inscribing.
2. Something, such as the wording on a coin, medal, monument, or seal, that is inscribed.
3. A short, signed message in a book or on a photograph given as a gift.
4. The usually informal dedication of an artistic work.
5. Jeremiah 31:33

the facts.
name. Gar AKA "that Chinese guy" "Sleepy.McSleeping"
ethnicity/nationality. Chinese/American, 4th gen.
location. Sea-Town, WA, USA Kawanishi, JAPAN
occupation. less-cynical poor grad student
age. younger than you think, older than you know



UnseenGC @ AIM
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