Wednesday, August 15, 2007

"Walkways & Carways"

Within Tokyo, it's not practical to go most places by car, but when you get away from the larger cities, Japan has become very much a car culture, with two-car families quite common and people depending on cars for their daily transportation. Yesterday, riding down a back road in a car, I spotted a woman walking down the road with a white parasol, looking very much like a 19th century painting. I took a picture - which is at the top of this page:

- and I've been thinking how it feels to walk down a road compared to how it feels to ride down a road in a car. It's comfortable riding around in air-conditioned cars, just sitting there at speed, but there's something to be said for walking and being in touch with the landscape as well. The thing about being comfortable all the time is that you end up not appreciating things as much. After a long walk in the hot sun, cool shade and a cold drink at your destination are more appreciated than after stepping out of a chilled car interior.

Retro-traditional culture. After decades of traditional Japan slipping away with new things nearly always being bland-international, there seems to be at least a slight trend back towards traditional design, as evidenced by a new traditionally styled retro-traditional restaurant I ate at soon after seeing the woman from the 19th century painting (see "Walkways & Carways" in the Photo Gallery):

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

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