William Matheson (nova_one) wrote,
William Matheson

62. The Chronicles of Ojin-cho

I’m very tired, but I must write something, or else today might as well not have happened, right? =)

Today was a good Monday. It’s nice to know those exist.

Mt. came to visit us today! He had gone back to Australia to do electrical work, and he’s got a job at a water treatment facility, but now he’s back in Tokushima for nine days to visit his kids. He takes a slight salary deferral from the contractor to get a work week off here and there – he works 40 hours and gets paid for about 35 and before long he has a week’s worth of vacation time ready. He’ll be coming back in August, and again at Christmas.

He still has to pay for his flights back and forth, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem for him. He told us he’s saved a few tens of thousands already, and he hopes to buy a house soon. He’s living at home, and gets to pocket an obscene amount of money every week.

So if anyone out there is pondering, “Hmm, electrician or teacher? Electrician or teacher?” I would suggest “electrician” in a heartbeat. But check the labour market where you are – your mileage may vary.

Speaking of money, I’m doing okay because I don’t go out, don’t buy things, and don’t have a cell phone bill, but some of the interns who are living like normal human beings aren’t doing so well. Two of our guys have ¥6,000 ($60) between them, and payday isn’t until the 16th. As the second fellow put it, “I have food, it’s just beer that I’m worried about.”

* * *

I saw Prince Caspian last night (it was “cheap” day at the theatre again), and it was terrific. I may write a formal review at some point, because as much as I enjoy the Narnia series, it really kind of bugs me. I feel that it glorifies blind faith (as opposed to imagination or creativity) and it’s sometimes too thematically Christian for comfort. (The connection is indisputable, what is debatable is its pervasiveness.) The new films are backed by Philip Anschutz, a neoconservative evangelistic billionaire. Kind of like George W. Bush, but with a passion for the arts.

Still, I’m more than willing to sit through these films (I think even Philip Pullman would be) in light of the fact that they’re so good. The production is amazing – no expense was spared. And since I was raised religiously and spent two years in a Seventh-Day Adventist school, as much as I’m less fettered and more open now (in a more honest, non self-deceiving, empirical-aspiring way) on a conscious level, I still somehow “buy” some of the things in the series more than, say, a truly dispassionate person would. Even though I see some things a little more clearly, the mythology will be with me for the rest of my life. But this isn’t all that bad, because it sometimes allows us to take pleasure in stories like this that deliberately target this part of our belief system. (We’re always going to have beliefs, but like opinions, they ought to be informed. We need beliefs, at least of the everyday variety – could you imagine the mental strain of having to reevaluate your outlook every second, not to mention the impossibility of maintaining any course of action (usually based on what you think is true), if you weren’t capable of accepting anything to be “true?”)

This topic deserves a lengthy treatment, and I’m going to file it on my mental list of mega-projects. I have hope that Narnia will be one of the great Christian tales of the Age, one that will be mentioned by future cultures in the same paragraphs as Dante and Milton. (Works like The Screwtape Letters require some subscription to the mythos and may not age as well.) It might become akin to how we view Ancient Greek plays and poems vis-à-vis the myths of the time. In any case, I look forward to the film adaptations of the remainder of the series, even of The Last Battle - though I’d be surprised if they do anything past The Silver Chair. For me, the point is not whether or not I agree with everything, it’s whether or not the story works for me. I’m willing to enjoy this sort of thing while I still can.
Tags: books, christianity, films, lewis, money, narnia, religion, school, teaching, trades, work

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