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A Japanese Competition We Should Consider (Maybe Especially ATS)

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posted on Dec, 11 2011 @ 02:37 PM
I hate to admit it, but I don't know how to handle this post. It's one of those where you tear yourself apart because part of you wants to roar with laughter, the other part knows it's impolite, so you sit quietly in sympathy.

Anyway, here it is. I found it while leafing through old stacks of the Mainichi Daily News. The Bethel Festival

About 600 people visit Urakawa, Hokkaido, in late August each year to attend the two-day Bethel Festival, a hallucination and delusion competition for those suffering from alcoholism and other mental illnesses.

During the festival, alcoholics and patients with schizophrenia talk about hallucinations they have experienced, create a stir among the audience with their stories of failure, and sing self-deprecating songs.

I would really like to hear a self-deprecating song. Maybe it would start out, "Oh, I'm not much of a song, song, song. I'm not very good and I'm not very long."

The grand prix of this year's Bethel Festival on Aug. 26 and 27 was given to a man who came up with a dance to calm down 50-meter-tall Mr. Hallucination, which a friend complains threatens to attack him from outside the window. The past grand prix winners include a man who had never strayed more than two meters from his mother for 35 years but overcame his excessive dependence on her, and a woman who spent four days in a restroom at a train station after hearing an auditory hallucination that she claimed ordered her to go live in a public restroom.
This is helpful stuff. The next time my 150 ft tall Mr. Hallucination drops in, dance is my weapon. Dependence on my mother? Does it count if I never stray from my Mother's basement?

Hallucinations and delusion have been negatively interpreted because of news organizations' coverage of incidents involving such handicapped people.
I'm sorry, delusions are seen as bad things, and that's the fault of news coverage?

Bethel's slogans "Turn your weakness into bonds with others," "Walk down the path to reality" and "Live without being afraid to despair," were created through discussions between patients.
"Walk down the path to reality" is now my favorite all time bumper sticker.

I'm torn three ways on this. Part of me says, "What an original idea, this might hold hope some real hope for sufferers," part says "Why does Japan always come up with the really strange stuff?" and part says "Hey man, this is so far out, let's swim right over there. Wait 'til they hear about what I saw last month when I flew off that bridge! Oh, bring the chips."

So, tell me, what is the right response and what is the response you had?

posted on Dec, 11 2011 @ 03:54 PM
Once I read the whole thing, it sounds like a very old concept. Bringing people face to face with their illness is how folks were treated way back when.

As for schizophrenics, the poor folk are treated with chemical lobotomies these days; might as well have a go at something a little less drastic.

posted on Dec, 11 2011 @ 04:07 PM
reply to post by AnIntellectualRedneck

Dear AnIntellectualRedneck,

Thanks for the response and I think you're right. I have to admit, I still find it funny in a twisted way though. I wish the article would have had some information on how successful this treatment is.

With respect,

posted on Dec, 11 2011 @ 10:12 PM
reply to post by charles1952

As AnIntellectualRedneck says (implies?) there are numerous comparable traditions in many earth-based cultures. It's a kind of acceptance thing - the 'patient' accepting himself, foibles, eccentricities and all, and the culture accepting difference with the implied contribution of value. I think it's rather beautiful. Funny too, in a coyote-trickster sort of way. Absolutely not pathetic, overall.

I do worry about that poor man who didn't leave his mother's side for 35 years - doesn't sound anywhere near as organic as the others' troubles - and I harbor serious doubts about that mother of his. More Electra reversed than Oedipal. [I'm sure there's a term for it but alas, the mind is not cooperating.]

Otherwise, I am reminded of the distinctly spiritual beings and assorted faeries who kept me company in the bush when I was little. I learned a lot from them and do miss them. Granted, their replacements are more substantial, but much less innocent.

posted on Dec, 12 2011 @ 09:38 AM
reply to post by charles1952

I didn't read the source article before I posted, so I did today. I applaud the facility's goals, and their avoidance of welfare oriented "re-integration."

...Bethel, a facility supporting the activities of mentally disabled people, ....running a coffee shop and publishing books to support the livelihood of mentally disabled people in the town.

......."We are not seeking to reintegrate these people into a society governed by market mechanism, the very society that caused them pain, as if nothing had happened. We'd rather like to help each of these individuals integrate themselves into the realities of the regional community through their engagement in business activities while accepting their own illnesses as they are.

I especially like this bit, which bounces off the town's name:

Urakawa comes from Ainu words that mean "river with dense fog." Many people come to the town in an effort to find themselves and uncover the future of civilization after straying into the dense fog of life.

......Sounds like ATS to me:

"Many people come to ATS in an effort to find themselves and uncover the future of civilization after straying into the dense fog of life."

posted on Dec, 12 2011 @ 11:19 AM

Dear soficrow and AnIntellectualRedneck,

Have you been lost in a large unsettled area, until one landmark pops up and shows you where you are? A true "Ah-Ha!" moment. That's what has happened to me here. I hope I haven't run out of gas driving around, and that there's enough fuel left to get somewhere.

Let me explain. For various reasons, which I don't think you would benefit from hearing, (and which include my own mental-emotional condition) I saw humor in this article at first. Then I saw that there were real questions raised about this treatment's validity and effectiveness. Throw in my natural sympathy for suffering people and I was torn in my reactions, the driving around lost part.

I was then informed that this thread, and the Bethel Festival story, could be a very effective way of bringing some relief to many on ATS. That's when the landmark popped up and I knew that the tone of the thread had to shift. I hope there is enough 'gas" left in this thread to be of some use to somebody.

So if you, soficrow, or you, AnIntellectualRedneck, know of anyone who might get the slightest benefit from talking here, please invite them. I will treat all with respect, or just get out of the way, whichever is desired.

With respect,

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