Monday, 11 April 2011

Japan

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We've both enjoyed working in Japan.  The singularity of Japan and the Japanese, for better or for worse, makes it one of the world's most interesting cultures.  Even when the Japanese adopt western ways they do so in a peculiarly Japanese way.  The present horrors that have been visited on them and their country have highlighted their virtues of stoicism, dignity and unselfishness.  

It's not all that easy to work out why the Japanese have followed western ways, apart from lack of choice.  
Visitors to Kiyomizu Temple Pagoda, Kyoto.
 
Artistic and restrained, the average Japanese seems ill-suited to the cut and thrust of business and international competetiveness.  Yes, the Japanese excel at whatever they do but they seem happiest on misty, drizzly days visiting ancient wooden temples or at cherry blossom festivals in soft, spring sunshine.  That's an idealised perception but hard to resist after a visit to Japan and to be all the more moved by the plight of all those ordinary Japanese people who now might well fear even the soft morning drizzle and the seafood they love so much.

'Geisha' adds a striking touch of colour to a typically restrained garden.     Tokyo.
Shoren-in Temple, Kyoto.

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