The Iran Nuclear Arms Deal Or Why It Is Still Unsafe To Visit Iran

The Iran Nuclear Arms Deal or Why It is Still Unsafe To Visit Iran

“The only people who should be allowed to govern countries with nuclear weapons are mothers, those who are still breast-feeding their babies.”
Tsutomu Yamaguchi

This is how I feel about the Iran Arms deal. You don’t give nuclear weapons to an unstable country in an unstable part of the world. I don’t care about the political ramifications. I care about the human ones.

Isn’t this the same Iran that when the Ayatollah came into power, he kidnapped the Americans there? Isn’t this the country that thousands of people were forced to evacuate and can never come back? Isn’t this the same Iran that funds terrorists groups? Isn’t this the Iran that is holding American journalist Jason Rezaian and others on trumped-up charges? Will the Mullahs suddenly decide that an international community is the way to go? What happens when a new even more unstable regime takes over? Do they return the weapons to us?

I recently wrote a blog on the ten most dangerous countries not to visit now and there are many more than ten. I was torn based on my research on the tenth one between Iran and North Korea. I ultimately chose North Korea but Iran was a good choice as well. I am confused about why we would give nuclear weapons to a country that is very dangerous for us to go to without the nuclear weapons.

I imagine from a financial point of view it is profitable. If Iran buys nuclear weapons the surrounding countries will need  more weapons to defend themselves. Everyone in the Middle East will be buying more weapons.

We are the self-proclaimed “watchdogs of the world” and giving Iran nuclear weapons is not protecting our world in any way. Is the hope that if we trust them they will behave with integrity? I believe Winston Churchill thought the same about Hitler when he signed the Munich Agreement in 1938 to avoid war. The Munich Agreement has become synonymous with the futility of giving power to totalitarian states.

Hate is irrational and there appears to be a lot of hate in these countries – especially for Jews and Israel. I imagine the Jews who signed a petition in favor of the Nuclear Arms Deal with Iran probably would not have left Nazi Germany in time. Many intelligent wealthy Jews held out hoping that the threat of persecution and death would pass. – that rational, intelligent thought would prevail over the death camps.

Have any of the Jews who signed the petition or people in favor of the Arms Deal with Iran been to the Hiroshima museum in Japan? Every Japanese school child has to go. The motto is No More Hiroshimas. The symbol is the Hiroshima Dome (Genbaku dome), the only building left standing in the area where the bomb exploded. Anyone who has spent time in this museum and listened to the stories and continued health problems would know the only good use for nuclear weapons is to keep people from using them. Ultimately what would be our defense against Nuclear Weapons? Nuclear Weapons.


Fly safe,

Things I Have Learned In Okinawa And Hiroshima

“If I had known they were going to do this, I would have become a shoemaker.”

Albert Einstein

Things I Have Learned in Okinawa and Hiroshima

Driving on the Okinawa Expressway in the rain is like driving anywhere else in the rain.

Japanese Navigation

Touring Shuri-jo Palace in Okinawa one must follow the signs that say “usual route.”  What is the unusual route?

One of the hardest things to see was the Himeyuri Peace Museum in Okinawa.In the face of the American invasion, the Japanese forces stepped up the nurse training in the local high schools. Three hundred and two high school  students (mostly girls) and twenty one teachers were deployed to the front. They were told they would be working in hospitals but ended up in hospital caves with very bad conditions. There was no legal basis in Japan to use young girls for military purposes. On June 18th 1945 the Japanese forced the young girls out of the caves to fend for themselves against the American attack.  On June 23 the Japanese resistance ended. In those five days, 219 of them were killed. The museum is a model of one of the high schools that the girl’s came from. High school students from all over Japan come to pay their respects.

I was the only foreigner in the museum with alot of high school kids from Japan. I was looking at the photos  of the girls and was standing next to an old woman. She started to talk to me but I didnt understand so I found someone to translate. (not so easy to do in this museum).  We were standing in front of a picture of her daughter.  Two strangers became two mothers  looking at the ultimate tragedy.

Busena Terrace in Okinawa is the Grand Wailea/ any resort in Hawaii. Naha looks like Lahaina  . You can always find the American servicemen and their families at the Mcdonalds.

The Japanese and the Koreans were just as bad to the Okinawans as the Americans in WW2.

Okinawa Aquarium contains the largest fish tank in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

The Okinawa  Peace Museum is a memorial dedicated to the 200,000 people who died in the Battle of Okinawa. It is located in the south part of the island where the heavy fighting took place.  Over 100,000 were civilians and 12,500 were Americans. The civilians died from shellings, suicides, starvation, malaria and retreating Japanese troops. It was the largest campaign in the Pacific.  The lesson of the memorial is  the “Okinawan Heart”  that rejects any act of war, mourns for those who died in the war, passes on the stories of their struggle to future generations  and remind us of our humanity.

Other monuments in the park include the “Cornerstone of Peace”, a collection of large stone plates with the names of all fallen soldiers and civilians, including Koreans, Taiwanese, Americans and British.

After WWll , Okinawa was under United States administration for twenty seven years. They established numerous military bases on the Ryuku Islands.  In 1972, the islands were returned to  Japan but the US has maintained a large military presence. There are about 50,000 Americans  in Okinawa (including family members). There is protest from the Japanese and the Okinawans about the large American military presence there. They are trying to resolve it with a modified plan.

“As the bomb fell over Hiroshima and exploded, we saw an entire city disappear.  I wrote in my log the words”My God what have we done? ”The death was up to about 150,000 There were 76,000 buildings in the city at the time and only 8%  of them remained intact after the bomb explosion. The bomb affected an area of around 13 square kilometers and turned that into ruins.”

The closest surviving building to the location of the bomb’s detonation  in Hiroshima was designated the Hiroshima Peace Memorial.

After the bombing, Hiroshima began to receive donations of streetcars from all over Japan. (After World War II, Japanese cities – like British ones – wanted to get rid of their streetcar systems due to damage to the infrastructure)  Hiroshima  rebuilt its streetcar system along with the rest of the city.   Hiroshima is now  the only city in Japan with an extensive streetcar system (although other cities have streetcar lines). Some streetcars that survived the war – and the nuclear attack – were put back into service, and four of these are still running today.

Hiroshima has now became a center of the movement for world peace and reduction of nuclear bombs, which is commemorated at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. The city government continues to advocate for the abolition of nuclear weapons . They write a letter of protest every time a nuclear weapon has been detonated anywhere in the world. In 1949, Hiroshima was proclaimed a City of Peace by the Japanese parliament.

The Thousand Origami Cranes was popularized through the story of Sadako Sasaki, a Japanese girl who was two years old when she was exposed to radiation from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima during World War ll. Sasaki soon developed leukemia and, at age 12, inspired by the Senbazuru legend, began making origami cranes with the goal of making one thousand.  One popular  story is she died before and her classmates finished  them. The Hiroshima Museum says she completed them and kept making more  when she didn’t heal.  One thousand origami cranes is said to bring a thousand years of health , happiness and prosperity. The cranes are left exposed to the elements, slowly dissolving and becoming tattered as the wish is released.

People leave them in her honor  and for all the people who died from the bombing at the Eternal flame in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial.

My father was stationed in Okinawa during World War Two.  He never talked about it.  There were some black and white photographs  of him in a uniform, skiing in Hokkaido, and the  old Japanese life in the cities..  The first words I ever learned to say in a foreign language  was not the Yiddish that my grandparents spoke but I Am An American Soldier in Japanese. Watashi wa Amerika hei desu. I guess I just wanted to see what happened for myself.

Sayonara, Fly Safe


Japanese Food

“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.”

Luciano Pavarotti

Japanese Food

You get free tofu refills  with the tofu dinner. The containers on the tofu bar hold steamed tofu.  After the steamed tofu course, you may add as much tofu to your tofu as you wish.

“Western food. Every damn plate is round”.

The truth about Kobe beef is that all wa gyu (Japanese beef) comes from Hyogo prefecture usually from Tajima. Tajima sells the beef all over the Japan. If they buy it in Kobe, it is Kobe beef.

Food is served so beautifully in Japan it is not uncommon to see even the Japanese taking pictures of the food.

They have Yoshinoya in Japan. It was the first thing I saw leaving the airport.

Okinawans are considered to be the longest living people in a country of long life. They attribute it to the Okinawan diet which includes many different kinds of seaweed , a bit of pork, spam  and taco rice ( from WWll)

Okinawan sayings include the phrase that Okinawan cuisine “begins with pig and ends with pig” and “every part of a pig can be eaten except its hooves and its oink.”[

Things to eat in Okinawa  are–mango pudding, purple potatoes, Chinese food (Okinawan  food is more influenced from Chinese food  than Japanese food), teriyaki squid on a stick, barbecued grasshopper legs, pork,  pigs feet, pig skin , pig ears, ,goya juice, sooki soba( pork spareribs with soba noodles in soup), Okinawan doughnuts ( deep fried balls of dough) and Mozuku seaweed (seaweed for a long life).

Hiroshima is famous for oysters and anago (salt water eel).  Unagi ( fresh water ell) is more common in the US. It is not to be confused with inago, whole locusts boiled in soy sauce and sugar.

In Japan they say Autumn is the time for art and eating.

Food is always seasonal. It is chestnut season now and they are served in some way at every meal. Red beans and chestnut sweets  taste just like red beans and chestnut. (chestnut sweets)

Japanese women are always on diets .

Blowfish ovaries and pig ears are surprisingly delicious until you find out what you are eating.

Fugu (blowfish) is a delicacy and speciality of the Kyushu islands. Because it is poisonous, you must have a special license to cook it. Every year a few dozen people are hospitalized. The few  fugu deaths each year are fishermen who try to prepare it themselves.   The ovaries and intestines must be removed and cooked without puncturing them. (I didn’t know until after)  We had an eight course fugu dinner (including ovaries and intestines they made a point of telling us that ). I am still here so the chef must have been licensed. It was the most amazing meal, I had on two trips of amazing meals.

Surprisingly, Japanese eat a lot of eggs as in raw, appetizers and egg sushi.

Yakitori  chicken (grilled on a skewer) is usually not the breast. It can be thighs, skin, liver etc – because all the parts of the chicken are used.

People in Osaka spend more money on food than anything else.

Okonomiyaki is kind of a cross between a pizza and a pancake. It is batter mixed with cabbage and fried with different toppings. Okonomi means “to one’s liking”.  Unlike pizza and pancakes, the usually filling is octopus, squid, pork, yams or kimchi. Or you can have whatever you want on it.  It is most common in Hiroshima and Osaka.

The food in Japan is so tasty that you can find a delicious meal in a train station.

It is considered bad manners in Japan to walk down the street eating or drinking. Hence Starbucks is always very crowded.

Japanese now drink more coffee than tea and they all drink “shorts” at starbucks, which have been discontinued in the states.

Jidori chicken is a delicacy of Kyushu. It is a muscular chicken because it is allowed to run free, which makes it rather chewy. ( free range – as we say)

In expensive supermarkets, they bag your groceries, in inexpensive supermarkets you do it yourself. Also the boxes we have at registers for signing and scanning are considered “”so old fashioned” in Japan.

Sake means sake but also liquor.

Anything can be made out of tofu.

Yellowtail is always frozen.

Japanese seaweed is sweeter than other seaweed. ( There are many different kinds of seaweed. –apparently even in nice restaurants in the U.S., we get the cheap stuff).

There are hundreds of different soy sauces and sakes.

The first night of Kaiseki dnner (eight courses) at the ryokan (Japanese hotel and hot springs) is amazing. The second night is delicious.  The third night is good. The fourth night, you are thinking pizza. (  These are the first  three of the eight courses .  They go from raw to cooked.  The green pickle looking thing is fresh wasabi that you grate onto your food)

The food department in a Japanese department store  is almost always in the basement and can be an attraction by itself due to the wide variety of Japanese delicacies, sweets, desserts and other food on display. The food department at Harrods in London is a boutique compared to some of the Japanese stores.

Pockys come in many flavors . Haagen Daz does seasonal ice creams in Japan. Kit  Kats come in seasonal flavors but the most popular is Green Tea.

Im not a fan of Japanese breakfasts . I like the food but just not for breakfast. To me , it looks alot like the same food we had for dinner but im not a detail person. I wouldn’t notice that the fish in the morning is grilled  or the pickled vegetables are different, or that there are different vegetables and proteins in the miso soup.  On top of that I need coffee in the morning not green tea. (Dont be confused by the eggs-they are raw)

If you are a fan of Japanese breakfasts, Tsukiji fishmarket for fresh sushi in Tokyo  is the way to go – the earlier the better, They open at five am.  I prefer coffee and toast and getting there at 10. Sushi before 10 am is rough for me.

Here is what i found out on my first trip to Japan. I like abalone steak, flounder, red snapper, squid and octopus sushi.  I love tofu dinners (eight courses of differently cooked fresh tofu).  I like tofu buffet dinners. (every kind of tofu imaginable). I don’t like foo, or the diet jelly stuff, or mackerel (dry raw or whole). I don’t like raw eggs in the morning with rice. I hate roe sushi (which is not what you think-unless you are thinking survivor food challenge)  I like green tea soba, green tea mochi and Japanese green tea ice cream ( not what we have here with no taste) I like Japanese desserts –especially black sesame ice cream.

I hate to admit this but i did not use chopsticks until my first trip to Japan.   I dont have great motor coordination and it seemed like a  a lot of work to get the food to your mouth.  I was probably the only American in the towns where the ryokans were.  The chance of getting a fork was going to be slim.    I practiced eating everything with chopsticks at home for two months .   My friends,  the waiters in the Japanese restaurants in LA and especially my Vietnamese manicurist urged me on.   When you set your mind to it, and ask for help when you need it,  you can do anything.

Also see

Things I Have Learned  In Tokyo and Japan

Things I Have Learned In Okinawa and Hiroshima

yo I sorano tabi o,