I have, for many years, had an affinity for all things Japanese. I can recall a box that my father gave my mother, acquired when his Navy ship stopped there. I coveted the lacquered black etched with mother-of-pearl and have never really gotten over the fact that she gave it to my sister.

I read Sei Shonagon’s book over and over, the aesthetics therein stirring something deep inside. I was mortified at a very traditional tea ceremony to have come clomping in with my shoes, stopping at just the verge of the sacred space with a gasp of sudden comprehension, and feeling that horror throughout the event.

I have found myself disturbed in a way hard to describe. I suspect it is a bit like what people were feeling during 9/11, taking on a tragedy in which they had hardly a peripheral impact. I wondered at them, so enrapt in the news, so saddened, when it was a thousand miles away and no one they knew had died. Tragic, yes, but not personal…

And I think I know, now, that depth of disturbance. My soul catches on the hook of it – of all those people lost, and the gentle manners of those living, trying to be thoughtful of others when we wouldn’t fault them for turning into grasping, thieving survivors.

“There are lots of people dead and it’s too much to ask to bring the dogs,” said Mr. Kikuchi. “It would be inconsiderate to other people’s sadness.” In that simple sentence you have the idea of it.

My mind keeps returning to the movie, Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams. It, too, impacted me deeply when I first saw it in the early `90’s. So lovely and horrid…full of myths and lessons…so completely Japanese in sentiment and visual. If you’ve never seen it, I highly recommend it.

As for the sturm und drang of the radioactive status there – I think this just the right thing. No one is safe from this sort of shrugging of the earth. It is a highly volatile and changeable system that we will never control and never be safe from. Our time here is always a crap shoot and this lovely world will one day cease to be. We all like to think it will be in a million years. But it could be tomorrow. The fact that we’ve absolutely no options to get off the damned thing seems the worst kind of waste.

Ah, dear…my mind cannot help but turn to those suffering and yet, coping. So many lessons we can learn from this. Try to let go the media madness and, instead, use it to educate yourself on what you would do in such dire straits. It is the least you can do for them. All those lovely souls lost…

7 thoughts on “Tangents”

  1. I wrote of my travels there and thoughts, and it got 7 comments. I'm thinking, is it my dang writing, or do people just not grasp what a beautiful country it is?

    My bedroom is a tea garden with soft colors and scents and the trickling of water from a small fountain. If no one else gets it, I do.

  2. Lovely souls, indeed. It is difficult to think of so many leaving this mortal coil in a moment, in a terrifying moment.

    Brigid,I wouldn't gauge too much by the lack of comments. People are stunned. I know I am. And sad. And words just seem too hollow.

    For both of you, if you have not seen “Departures” it is a wonder. I may watch it again, just to celebrate those lovely souls now gone.

  3. It is a beautiful country. Yes there is Mt Fuji, beautiful gardens and breathtaking things that fill the senses to overload in some parts.

    Yet the truly beautiful thing about that island country is its people. A simple Tea Ceremony steeped in tradition followed by the trip to the Akihabara area. One extreme to the other. I am saddened at the loss of the public baths.

    @ B. Not your lack of skill at writing at all.

  4. B, I wanted to comment on that post, the garden so lovely and meaningful to me. But it is as J says – we are all, I think, tongue tied. And when you write so…one feels quite inadequate in the face of it.

    J, thanks for the mention of that movie, too. I was unaware of it and it is just the thing.

    Thank you, both…

  5. There is much of Asia which the average American will never understand. Those that do have a broader view of life and an appreciation of many things which escape others.

    The questioning comments that proliferated on the blogs during the last two weeks wondering where the looters were…that says much about us.

  6. So brief your comment to be so full of truth, Ed. In all our planning for the worst case our thoughts have been about “me and mine”. They shame me with their courtesy while in hell. Shame.

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