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"The April rain, the April rain,
Comes slanting down in fitful showers,
Then from the furrow shoots the grain,
And banks are fledged with nestling flowers;
And in grey shawl and woodland bowers
The cuckoo through the April rain
Calls once again."

Mathilde Blind, April Rain
April
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Japan

mheredgemheredge TeacherHere and therePosts: 37,503 mod
As you probably all know, I am fascinated by other countries and love to travel. I am going to pick on different countries in the hope of getting you to tell me more about these places. I want to understand better!

I have a British friend who has recently gone to Japan and signed up to an 18 month course to learn Japanese. He showed me pictures of the apartment he's just moved to. His room is minuscule, though he shares a kitchen and living room with other students, so he says it isn't a problem.

I saw this very interesting BBC article about a key part of the Japanese Aesthetic, or where ancient ideals still govern the norms on taste and beauty in Japan called "wabi-sabi," is not only untranslatable, but also considered undefinable in Japanese culture. So I am immediately curious.

@takafromtokyo, @Yellowtail, @Shiny03 can you enlighten me? @kindgnice have you come across this?

The article is interestingly called "Japan's unusual way to view the world."

http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20181021-japans-unusual-way-to-view-the-world



But what else is unique in Japanese culture? Apart from the food which I adore.
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Comments

  • YellowtailYellowtail Posts: 822 ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2018
    @mheredge
    That's a good article. Honestly, I have only vague idea about what wabi-sabi is. It's something associated with some tea ceremonies, haiku poets, and pottery appreciation. And I'm not really involved in any of those activities.

    But still I agree we may prefer some kinds of imperfection and deterioration. Grand and symmetrical archtectures like Christian cathedrals are somewhat intimidating to me. I may prefer something like lopsided wooden houses.

    Dispite I don't own myself, an example of beauty of deterioration I think of is netsukes. Netsukes are traditional small sculptures of animals and mythical creatures. They were used as fasteners of the cords of portable containers a few centuries ago. Aside from there exquisiteness, the value comes from the worn down surface. As they were daily used goods, the owners always fiddled with them in their palms. So the finely carved details have faded away. But in fact the mark of interaction with the owner added some charms to it.

  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 37,503 mod
    I never knew anything about netsukes @Yellowtail. They look very curious.

    I know what you mean about some of the huge cathedrals. They are very grand but so intimidating. I much prefer mosques in their simplicity.

    I like very much the simplicity of Japanese style.


  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 37,503 mod
    This poor guy should brush up on his English! Tokyo garden loses fortune because ticket seller was scared to charge foreigners. He let about 160,000 tourists into Shinjuku Gyoen garden rather than risk being yelled at for not understanding them!!

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/30/tokyo-garden-loses-fortune-because-ticket-seller-was-scared-to-charge-foreigners?CMP=fb_gu&fbclid=IwAR3GdWOD0dPe9ucOQcLM7neKnSDSKb_Pr-AzBYbB-GaWnIRvTpWhhFlm9dE



  • JMAROUFJMAROUF Posts: 104 ✭✭
    sincerely i have never visited japan , but i like this country , i knwo some people who have alredy visited it , they say it s incredible , especially tokyo
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 37,503 mod
    I hope maybe to go back. I visited for three weeks in 2015 but this wasn't nearly enough time. Maybe I will get an invite to visit my friend who's studying there @JMAROUF.
  • JMAROUFJMAROUF Posts: 104 ✭✭
    @mheredge that is nice , you had a chance to go there , it looks wonderful , what are things that caught your attention ?
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 37,503 mod
    Apart from the food (which I loved), I liked particularly the politeness of people, the way that things seem to work efficiently and quietly, with no fuss, the beautiful little houses and decor of the traditional (and modern) homes @JMAROUF. I also find Japanese culture fascinating and want to learn more about this.
  • JMAROUFJMAROUF Posts: 104 ✭✭
    i love the way of work they follow @mheredge , they are polite and persevering .
  • VokVok Posts: 1,143 ✭✭✭
    I would like to visit Japan one day, too @JMAROUF . I’ve been amazed by the story told by a friend of mine who lives in Kobe about a train operator apologized profusely for being one minute earlier at the train station.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 37,503 mod
    I found the trains ran very efficiently. Even though I don't speak Japanese and most people in Japan don't seem to speak much English, I had no problem at all with travel as it was very easy to work out and when I did have any problems, people were very helpful @Vok.
  • YellowtailYellowtail Posts: 822 ✭✭✭✭
    @Vok
    Some stations issue 'delay certificates' when the train delayed five minutes, so that people can prove to their bosses that being late is not their fault.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 37,503 mod
    Just five minutes @Yellowtail. I think this would be considered 'on time' anywhere else!
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 37,503 mod
    This is a habit I can seriously relate to: Tsundoku: The practice of buying more books than you can read. Tsundoku describes the intention to read books and their eventual, accidental collection.

    I am sure that this is a very common practice, not just in Japan.

    https://www.treehugger.com/cleaning-organizing/tsundoku-practice-buying-more-books-you-can-read.html?fbclid=IwAR1CvYWNRMohIxevE6zq7q_L1LC9p5IXbmOp2PFvB0NonblbAXgqmw0fCYY


  • VokVok Posts: 1,143 ✭✭✭
    @mheredge it's amazing how the article about hoarding is at varience with the name of the resource.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 37,503 mod
    I rather like this article about how curry arrived in Japan.

    Japanese curry tends to be mild, thick, and sweet. Though different regions have their own variations, it’s typically served with rice and katsu, flattened cutlets of either chicken or pork.

    Legend has it, curry was introduced to Japan by way of a shipwrecked British sailor picked up by a fishing boat.

    https://munchies.vice.com/en_us/article/nepjbw/a-brief-history-of-how-curry-ended-up-in-japan?utm_campaign=sharebutton&fbclid=IwAR2NrQfSaM8nXXUy1zxf5bFPCaCHaiH65oWNBTwgail3fpZ82VDFbbnt11E


  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 37,503 mod
    My friend who is studying Japanese says he's in a class with a dozen or so young (18 year old) Indonesian boys who are very noisy!
  • VokVok Posts: 1,143 ✭✭✭
    edited November 2018
    I watch this vlog about Japan on and off, and really enjoy it!
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 37,503 mod
    What's the name of this blog? I'm sure that my friend would be interested in following this @Vok.
  • VokVok Posts: 1,143 ✭✭✭
    @mheredge It's called 'Abroad in Japan. Japan starts here'. It has more than a million subscribers, so it won't be difficult to find.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 37,503 mod
    I'll look at it @Vok.
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 9,149 mod
    JMAROUF said:

    i love the way of work they follow @mheredge , they are polite and persevering .

    I think Japan have an excellent culture, and they always seem to encourage their children to be high achievers too, which is good.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 37,503 mod
    I sent my friend the link to this site @Vok. I am sure he will find it very interesting given he's learning Japanese in Japan.
  • SunInVirgoSunInVirgo Posts: 52 ✭✭
    I like Japanese culture, especially its heritage of the times before the Meiji restoration. Surely, that for many people in the world, the culture of Japan is associated not only with anime, sushi, and hi-tech, but also (and maybe in the first place), with the features of the Edo period. Samurai, the kabuki theater, the sounds of shakuhachi and koto, haiku, the unusual architecture of japanese castles, the stoical character of Japanese people, but also not always friendly relation to foreigners - all those come to a head, when I think about Japan.

    It should be noticed, that I have never been in Japan, but I surely would like to visit the country. And althought the films watching is not a very good way of the understanding of the history and culture of a country, I like some of films which are set during the Edo period. I think that "Zatoichi" series of films, with Shintaro Katsu in the lead role, may be entertaining and even insightful concerning the atmosphere of the old Japan. Also I liked "Shogun", the american miniseries based on the book by James Clavell. Though, some of Kurosawa's films (Kagemusha, Seven Sumrai) were not so interesting for me.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 37,503 mod
    My British friend who's studying Japanese in Japan seems to be enjoying himself very much over there. I found the people very friendly and kind, though I know that they have had quite a violent history. But then again, which country hasn't at some point in the past and even present.
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 9,149 mod
    mheredge said:

    My British friend who's studying Japanese in Japan seems to be enjoying himself very much over there. I found the people very friendly and kind, though I know that they have had quite a violent history. But then again, which country hasn't at some point in the past and even present.

    I think if you look at the history of most countries they will have done things that we consider to be pretty much unforgivable.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 37,503 mod
    Britain unfortunately more than most @GemmaRowlands.
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 9,149 mod
    mheredge said:

    Britain unfortunately more than most @GemmaRowlands.

    Undoubtedly. But you will see a very different angle on the story if you read British history books!
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 37,503 mod
    I have said it a few times @GemmaRowlands, but studying my A'level in history, our teachers chose an American history book on British history to give us a different perspective.
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 9,149 mod
    mheredge said:

    I have said it a few times @GemmaRowlands, but studying my A'level in history, our teachers chose an American history book on British history to give us a different perspective.

    I think everyone should read history books from other countries. For example German history books from the first world war tell a completely different story to ours.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 37,503 mod
    I was very surprised to find that Japan history books still omit a lot of their history of the last century as they are still in denial about the invasions and massacres in Chins during the 1930s
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