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Fri, Dec. 4th, 2009 01:33 am
Saison Culture

22CommentReplyFlag


(Anonymous)
Fri, Dec. 4th, 2009 05:57 am (UTC)
japan. you know, samurais and geishas...

will be in japan over the winter, too, with jpnse wife and tot. perhaps see you there; look for the white guy with auburn hair.

indeed, when you first go to japan what you see is the perfectly romanticized experience of it--buddhist temples, shinto shrines, blade runner, gothic lolitas, bullet trains, bamboo groves, etc.

then when you go back, you start noticing people pushing on trains, spitting on the street, old ladies giving you dirty looks in the supermarket, filthy bathrooms...

after several times though, you start seeing the initial things again; or kind of both, together. of course, it must work this way with every country. something about selective cognition; i haven't worked it all out, yet.

another weird thing (and i'm sure nick has experienced this, too) is after several weeks in japan, you notice yourself in a mirror somewhere and realize, "WHAT THE FUCK?! I'M WHITE!!" (that is, if you are white. if you're not, then insert your thing--"WHAT THE FUCK?! I'M [OTHER NON-JAPANESE ETHNICITY OF CHOICE HERE]!!

it's another weird cognitive short-circuit thing that happens after you're immersed in a sea of 99.99999 percent jpnse for an extended amount of time.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Fri, Dec. 4th, 2009 06:42 am (UTC)
Re: japan. you know, samurais and geishas...

I know exactly what you mean about the mirror thing. This is something I wrote in The Book of Scotlands:

"The thing these desperate exiles fear most is to have their paradise broken into by one of their own kind, or — heaven forbid! — a multitude of their own kind. Each wishes to be unique, "the only foreigner in Scotland", and to receive — alone! — the generous attentions of the Scots, their tender curiosity, and even their violence and rapacity. For it is at heart a kind of masochism to hate your own kind, and to value only the love you are given by the strangers who surround you.

It is said that some of these jealous foreigners cannot even stand the sight of a mirror. If you are pursued by one, be sure to find a full-length mirror which can be swung between yourself and your pursuer; a wardrobe or bathroom door will do, or the mirrored screens of a fancy tavern. The foreigner will stop, raise his hands in horror against his own reflection, and fall hissing to the cobbles, foaming at the mouth.

For the exile's own image will shatter the perceived perfection of his adopted land, a perfection that depends, above all, on his own absence from it."


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(Anonymous)
Fri, Dec. 4th, 2009 06:58 am (UTC)
Re: japan. you know, samurais and geishas...

i've just realized you're a reverse leonard cohen; he started as a poet/author, then on to folkie legend; you began as folkie legend, then on to poet/author.


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