A small red circle, and a small read circle
I must tell you of my changed feelings towards the Japanese people since my experiences as a POW was published in the Village Pump.
My wife Lena and I have recently been on a visit to Japan where we spent 15 days meeting and talking to the people. We were overwhelmed with the generosity and kindness shown us wherever we went. We have since attended a reception at the Japanese Embassy in London where we met up with some of the new friends we made whilst visiting their country and are now looking forward to welcoming them when they return for a longer stay.
Whilst chatting to one of the Embassy staff, I learned that his thoughts on his countrymen were that we had seen the last of the old generation. The new generation of youngsters are international and he thinks the World Cup may have hastened it on; the David Beckham hairstyle is a must now! We have been told repeatedly that they the people were unaware of what was happening during those terrible years and, in spite of the fact that the schools are not allowed to mention it, the children are interested and are finding the facts out for themselves.
What a wonderful evening; so many people to meet and chat to, a thirsty task! My wine glass was never empty and in my left ear I frequently heard "More champagne, Ma'am?" until Lena was dragged away to another group. It wasn't until we were leaving that I realised, and was told by my wife, I hadn't eaten enough, just quenched my thirst. I was still capable of taking her for a late evening stroll!
We really did have a great evening.
I don't suppose anyone is interested but I'm one of those people who is quick to criticise others; but only, and only, after I have severely criticised myself. I was interested in Brian Harrison's comments in the August issue, where he makes a request for more contributors, something I do of course go along with. The question is how do you achieve the utopia you seek? My answer is we start from with-in. Meaning, those of us connected with the Pump. There is much that I admire about our Pump. I happen to think we have, for example, a first class enthusiastic Editor, who receives excellent support from his 'Team'. This doesn't of course mean that everything in the garden is lovely. I often ask myself, 'where is the Pump going' and I am not sure if it is going anywhere. What I mean by that is I see our Pump as a 'small circle' in which there are a number of people starting with our Editor, his 'Team', together with the Contributors, all one big happy family. Well not quite!
And here our problems start because we are not a family but a group of strangers, well nearly. The only person I have really got to know in this so-called 'small circle' is our Editor, a charming man. Yes of course I know the Locals involved with the Pump because I'm a Local myself, but the Newcomers are as unknown to me today as they were some two or three years ago when I first became involved with the Pump. I would like to see our 'small circle' of people meet every month and I would suggest meetings should be held in various Pubs and Clubs in our area. Showing the world we are alive and well and not holed up in some bicycle shed afraid to show our faces.
I get a little tired of going to meetings or other events where at the end of it all I get just coffee and biscuits. Well, good for you if that's what you want, but I don't, I want a pint. I'm even now told it's good for you. I don't also understand why so many of our organisations seem to content to operate with-in a 'Small circle', as a result only a limited numbers of people are attracted. I want to belong to, yes a 'small circle' to start with, but one that is vibrant, one that is constantly wanting to push out it's boundaries to involve yet more and more people so that in a very short space of time our 'small circle' becomes an ever increasing one. For this to happen our future has to be planned and we will only achieve this by frequent get togethers as I have outlined. We must remember that it isn't just what we do that's important, but what we don't do, and it is that which, in my view, requires our immediate attention.