Waking up in Tokyo and seeing Fuji-san from my Window

People tell me now and then to write a book about Japan–frankly, I’m not aware of my long interest in the country, the how’s and why’s of that interest, but it’s there.  

When I was a boy of about 12, the public TV station in NYC showed famous, old classic movies from around the world.  So in addition to seeing Resnais, Bergman, Truffaut, et. al., I saw “Rashoman” and “Seven Samurai,” and was moved as only a young boy can be by the grunting and passion.  

Subsequently, I don’t know how it happened, I read Mishima and Kawabata and Tanizaki on my own in my first year or two of high school.  

I took a hiatus in college from all of this, but in graduate school did my doctoral theis on the psychology of the nuclear threat, which led to reading a great deal about Japan.  

About thirteen years ago, I came here for the first time, not interested in the trip, having become a Europhile, but invited by Daniel Boulud personally, I could not say no, and was smitten and immediately fascinated deeply.  The hybridization of the culture, the contradictions, the aesthetic, the food, its modernity, all took me by emotional and intellectual surprise.  

So I returned to the States knowing a little and wanting to know more.  I read ridiculous amounts of novels and histories of the country.  Continue to study the written and spoken language and acquire a little, little by little.  

So maybe it’s time to write about the psychology of Japan with sufficient awe and humility.  

Fuji-san can be seen in the winter light, just behind and between tall, black office buildings.  The buildings make me think of the stone markers in Buddhist graveyards.  The mountain is all pure white due to the time of year.


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