I’m 36 hours away from the deadline for my article on sake that will run in the April issue of Sewasdee and 36 hours away from my article on Japanese beef that will run in the April issue of Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia. Mostly I write about Japan these days.
There are many reasons and emotions behind that decision, but here are a few quotes from books I’ve read recently that show what’s what:
“Is it because the past is so full of memories? Or is it because it’s so lonely now?” –from “The Old Capital,” by Yasunari Kawabata
“…I wondered whether the only human beings whom I was capable of loving were not, in fact, dead people. Be that as it might, how easy dead people were to love compared to those who were still alive!”–from “The Temple of the Golden Pavilion,” by Yukio Mishima
“With some personal experiences that lead you way into a cave all by yourself, you must eventually come to a side tunnel or something that opens on a truth that concerns not only just yourself but everyone. And with that kind of experience at least the individual is rewarded for his suffering.”–From “A Personal Matter,” by Kenzaburo Oe
Pico Iyer, in an essay that appeared in the 2/6/13 issue of the NYRB, noted that what is said and seen in Japan is not as important (perhaps) as what is unsaid and unseen.
As I get deeper into my new book about families, the Japanese respect or ambivalence (at least) about appearances is a good guide.