Tuesday, 24 April 2007

 In a nutshell all change.

Its so easy to fill up every conceivable space in the diary without asking what the priorities are. Heading to my new place on a Monday night I have already seen lots of the homeless people from Ueno park getting ready at the entrances of the station. I question my own relationship to this, am i feeling guilty? is it empathy? who know but I am very grateful for a roof over my head and food on the table. I wonder sometimes if having all the added extras just makes us forget the basic things that keep us together. There is something very nice , for example about eating with people in a sociable way. Are those homeless people in some strange way living a better life. Im not tryig to suggest its a confortable one but are people who count their blessings for food and shelter somehow more aware?

Reading more of Ecclesiastes after its mention at church I am quite surprised at how relevant it seems today. Here is this guy who has it all and hes still not happy. Perhaps the lives of Brittany Spears and other rich celbrities bear a poignant testimony to that.
I have also learnt why people work so hard to suceed, it is because they envy there neighbours. But it is useless. It is like chasing the wind. ..It is better to have only a little, with peace of mind than to be busy all the time with both hands, trying to catch the wind (Ecclesiastes4: 4,6)
Don`t get me wrong I think its great to be motivated and an active member of whatever you are into but its all about the motivations. Why ? Whats behind it all. If its love great but if is to run away from a feeling of emptiness or to try and prove just how loveable/special/sexy/generally great you are wheres that going to get you...? This is to me too! Am I chasing after the wind?

On a related level (maybe) I have started a fascinating book about Japanese culture. Here are a few of the concepts that really intrugued me

Dotuku - THE WAY
from a book called Analectic 4*8
In the morning hear The Way; in the evening die without regrets

I am also still trying to figure out how the idea of Makoto or sincerity fits with the private /public face.

Other interesting concepts are Tsumi - this is a little similar to sin. Active conditions that debase or obstruct the development of life

Yamato damashii - or unque japanese spirit
Wakon yo sai - Japanese spirit /Western knowledge

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Hanami hanami, spring the season of outdoor parties and cherry blossoms. For me this year`s hanami celebrations were low key but nice. Sangenjaya to Higashimatsubara the moon peeped out from behind one of those blue edged night clouds shining like neon on metal. Somehow the moon remains very mysterious and calming.

Now most of the blossoms are looking a bit brown or have already been blown off the trees and floated away giving the surreal appearance of snow in April. If you actually have time to be reflective in this city the cherry blossoms capture the essence of a Japanese wistfulness and impossible longing that is summed up in the tales of Genji (Japanese romantic stories about a prince). Somehow everything passes, always, and yet the memory remains. Perhaps the memory of a baby pink tenderness. The Japanese concept of Inochi which is roughly equivalent to life is an interesting concept in relation to what continues on ...

I went to a poetry reading/music night last week in aid of awareness of plans for nuclear power to be used in japan. Considering Hiroshima and Nagasaki this seems like it would be a consideration for people here but I was told people aren`t aware. The event took place ina converted high school which is now the base for a design school see this link

 One of the leaflets on the table outside really moved me. It was a fictional letter written from a child of the future explaining the outcome of the current situation and asking us to make changes now, for their sake. One of my students yesterday told me she is going to make her own soap, baby steps as Bill Murray would say in what about Bob?
baby stepping baby stepping