Honest to Ghosn, listening to Nissan's California employees wail, you'd think the company wanted to put them aboard a one-way waste barge headed for Devils Island.
Get a grip, folks, Nashville is hardly Chernobyl. As Automotive News' Edward Lapham pointed out recently, Tennessee's capital is hardly bereft of attractions, what with the Jack Daniel's distillery within easy weaving distance (though it's located in a dry county). But Mr. Lapham has but scratched the surface of a sea of good reasons to head east from Gardena.
Nashville is known, largely to writers who have never been there, as Music City USA. Beneath this sobriquet lurks a strange connection to Japan's automakers.
Until a 1988 dinner in Hiroshima, I had no grasp of the average Japanese auto executive's love for ingesting enough saki to strip a Steinway -- and then singing to a roomful of colleagues overcome by a similar spirit of suppressed judgment.
This lubricated vocalizing is done to the accompaniment of a recorded instrumental track, and the activity is of course called "karaoke." Or "making a spectacle of yourself," depending on your love of good music. On the evening in question, singing began immediately after dessert.
The fourth performer, and the first to sing in English, wobbled to the microphone, beamed at the crowd, and crooned "The Tennessee Waltz." At the time, aided by the saki, I saw this as a manifestation of the clash between Eastern and Western cultures.
I now realize that Nostradamus, had he been present and had he stayed out of the saki, would have seen this as an unmistakable omen that a man called God and hailing from a large southern land mass would, in the second millennium, decree that a large maker of wheeled contraptions continue its expansion to the east.