In order to tell my friend Gulzar Natarajan about ‘Peter Tasker’ (who has made Japan his home), I began searching for him on the internet (and among my old saved bookmarks). I have forgotten his name except that I remembered that it began with P and the last name began with T. These days, I don’t check the bookmarks at all. I just search for what I want. So, there is the useful old treasure out there in the ‘Bookmarks’ folder. Thankfully, I had saved his URL and I recognised the name.
I read two of his recent posts on Rash Behari Bose, his Indian curry adapted to Japan, his Japanese wife and how the Quad – esp. India and Japan – could do a lot better than now. These sentences stood out for me, in the context of the times we live in:
The pan-Asianists may have been right about the western colonizers, but they were woefully naïve in assuming that the natural state of Asia was one of peace and harmony between different peoples. There was nothing in pre-colonial history to support such a belief, nor does contemporary reality correspond with it.
Also, the comment about the ‘Right’ and the ‘Left’ was revealing of the times then and the times now:
In the crude ideological categories of today’s world, Mitsuru Toyama carries the label of “right-wing nationalist.” He was a major figure in two semi-clandestine organizations, the Black Dragon Society and the Dark Ocean Society, and through mysterious means rose from poverty to riches while remaining a private citizen all his life.
Yet he was on good terms with the bohemian Nakamuraya crowd, to the extent that examples of his calligraphy remain in the Nakamuraya art collection to this day.
Historian Ian Rapley of Cardiff University says this about the Nakamuraya circle. “There were undoubtedly strong socialist and in particular anarchist connections but, whilst we might characterize them broadly as ‘progressive’ or some similarly loose term, it is important to recognize that many associations crossed what seem, to contemporary eyes, to be intellectual boundaries.”
What gave the Taisho era its freewheeling dynamism – so different to what came before and after – was this willingness to cross boundaries and the intellectual ferment that was thereby generated.
You can read the two-part fascinating historical article here and here.
Then, I also came across his review article of Daniel Yergin’s new book, ‘The new map’. I had not heard about it. Well, to me, it appears to have been a silent release. The article is from January 2021. The book, its subject and the conclusions resonate with me. I will get hold of it.
Over 80% of the world’s people have never been in an airplane. ‘Flight shaming’ may be a social mode in Sweden, population 10 million, but China, population 1.5 billion, is building eight new airports a year.”
Yergin’s main scenario is that the global fleet of planes will double over the next thirty years; that oil consumption will hardly fall at all in absolute terms, although its share of total energy consumption will decline significantly; that the number of ICE-powered vehicles will be more or less unchanged, although over half of the new cars sold in the world will be EVs.
“Oil will maintain a pre-eminent position as a global commodity, still the primary fuel that makes the world go around,” he declares. “Some will simply not want to hear that. But it is based on the reality of all the investment already made, lead times for new investment and innovation, supply chains, its central role in transportation, the need for plastics from the building blocks of the modern world to hospital waiting rooms, and the way the physical world is organized.” [Link]