News across the world has been solemn and unsettling lately. In Libya, what began as a civil uprising against a long-ruling dictator has escalated into a civil war, and much of the rest of the Middle East remains in violent incertitude. In the Ivory Coast, the possibility of wide-scale civil war looms as the country struggles to find political harmony. And, in Japan, as we should all be aware of by now, the ongoing humanitarian crisis following the tsunami, the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and its aftershocks, as well as nuclear anxiety make it hard for anyone to find peace of mind.
When we’re caught in a moment of global suspense like this, imagining a day when all can return to normalcy seems far and distant, if not impossible. But, from Japan at least, here’s something that temporarily pulled me out of gloom and made me think chirpily, “Ah, yes, only the Japanese could have concocted something like this.” Watch an animated video explaining the nuclear situation below.
I think many of us have noticed that Japanese people don’t shy away from talking about human excrements, and their sense of humor can be downright scatological. I actually find that brand of Japanese scatological humor endearing, and this tale of Genpatsu-kun and his stomach ailments was all sorts of cute, funny, and informative.
I have to admit though, on initial watching, I was a little wary of it. As much as I enjoy it, it also simplifies a very serious and complicated subject. I don’t believe nuclear radiation can be compared to lethal flatulence (if such a thing exists), and the situation in Fukushima might not be as innocuous as Genpatsu-kun’s story would have us believe. But then again, I realized that in a state of heightened tension, maybe us laypeople really just need some simplification, and maybe some levity could do more good than harm. If anything, at least it’ll help kids, whom the video was made for, make sense of things, and at least it leaves us with the reminder to continue cheering for Genpatsu-kun’s doctors and the people of Fukushima.
How do you like the video? How effective do you see this as a coping mechanism? Do you think the nuclear anxiety might be overshadowing the humanitarian crisis?