One of my favourite TV shows is a documentary show from NHK (Japan’s major international broadcast station) called Japanology (started out as Begin Japanology – now called Japanology Plus). Each week, a new topic dealing with some aspect of Japanese culture is explored. They have a series of episodes called Japanophiles where they interview foreigners who have made Japan their home and who have become experts in some area or another, such as a certain style of pottery or a specific musical instrument, etc. They end each one of those shows by asking the interviewee “What does Japan mean to you?”
I’ve often thought about how I would answer that question. I think I’ve finally come up with a somewhat coherent answer. Japan is the external embodiment of my soul.
As soon as I started to see things and hear things about Japan – language, culture, art, history, whatever – I was enchanted. Something about it was extremely attractive. But I could never explain why. As I get older and am learning more things about myself, I’m beginning to see things that make sense.
One of the things I love most about Japan is how it’s natural – seemingly ingrained in the communal consciousness – to pay attention to detail, almost to an obsessive degree. If you know me personally, you will immediately see what I appreciate about that.
There is a quote from the movie The Last Samurai (the ONLY movie I can stomach Tom Cruise in) that I love. “From the moment they wake, they devote themselves to the perfection of whatever they pursue.”
This is just one example of how I feel that Japan knows and depicts my soul. Maybe one day, I’ll illustrate some more for you~