09 August, 2006

Precious Japan

I found something really interesting yesterday on YouTube. It’s a film on Japan recorded by American delegates SEVENTY YEARS ago and it’s fully in color!!

See this:
Old Japan

Title: Floral Japan.
The funny imbalance between the sailboats and steamboats, the streams that make you feel the slow and mild flow of time, the beautiful ladies in kimono enjoying the seasons, the snow of cherry blossom petals, the modern architecture standing out in the city of Tokyo, relaxing resorts...

There was a line in the narration as follows:

”Japanese love cherry blossoms. They bloom at once, and gracefully fall – Japanese people see the course of human life in its wistfulness and vanity.

We Japanese have this spirit of loving anything fragile or brittle, not in terms of tangible objects but of intangible sense. Fireworks, they are truly a one-moment beauty visually but gives rather a strong impression and this kind of nostalgia or feelings in us. Sunset, what we see beyond sunset is the end of life. We care for these little daily and seasonal moments, feel wistful and are moved deeply.

I guess, part of this has to do with our idea of Buddhism and our perspectives for religion. Maybe I’ll touch upon that subject some time on Japan Mode.

As far as I can see from the film, I would say that despite the two huge wars and the pollution brought along the economic growth, present Tokyo still retains many of the values of Japanese beauty. It’s sad to say though, that those values are not scattered everywhere like it used to be and are something you have to search for in the narrow alleys and small corners. There was even a craze of looking for those values madly and call them “healing”.

When this beautiful country was called the Floral Japan, there might have been the precious values in all places that we now look for everywhere.

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