Weirdly, seeing these criminals makes me thrum vaguely with nostalgia for my time in Japan, since I saw their images at every train station, everywhere I went in the country. At that point, Asahara was in custody and sentenced to be hanged. It was all reasonably interesting, and when I came home, I actually read a book about the attacks, though I've forgotten much of the content of it.
All of this came up again on Facebook recently, after I read and posted that Shoko Asahara had been, along with other remaining members of the group, actually executed. It took them 23 years to hang the man, which seems a really long time. To my surprise, one of the people who chimed in was Pointed Sticks vocalist Nick Jones, who was IN Japan at the time of the attacks, long before the Pointed Sticks regrouped to tour there. "I was there with the Stones," Nick told me afterwards. "We were traveling back to the hotel in the morning, then catching a flight to Osaka or Fukuoka, can't remember." When the attack happened, he was four tube stations away. "By the time the plane landed, that was all anyone was talking about," he wrote on Facebook. "The horror and panic in Japan that night was palpable."
Jones wasn't particularly disturbed, in his Facebook posts, to hear that Asahara has been hanged - is more troubled, as am I, that the government spent so long to get around to it. Apparently reaction in Japan to the executions has been mixed, and also includes some disdain for the law's delay. Generally I disagree with capital punishment but some crimes are monstrous enough that it's really, really hard to mourn the perps.
As for Nick Jones, there are no Pointed Sticks gigs confirmed for the moment, Nick says, but there will be a Frank Frink Five show New Year's Eve at Lanalou's, which actually sounds like a pretty great way to celebrate New Years. I still haven't brought my wife to a Frank Frink Five show; maybe this will be the year. Meantime, happy belated birthday, Nick!
(And goodbye, Shoko Asahara...).