Monday, June 16, 2008

"2008 - Cultural Balancing Point"

I visited a western-influenced building last week and felt an ancient (for me) comfort with an interior layout similar to what is (or was) typical in the land-beyond-the-ocean that I came from, over two decades before. It was just little things - like paper towels in the restroom (nearly nonexistent here) and the layout of furniture. Pondering how I was so easily going on a nostalgia trip, I thought back to early experiences here with western-influenced interiors. In the old days, I would notice one western thing, and then notice twenty eastern local touches. The feeling tended to be along the lines of "this has lost something in translation/transplant..."

But now - having spent half my life here and half my life there - when I find something from that distant past & distant land - that single item, regardless of its surroundings, is enough to take me back to another era, another land, another me.

It's something like this - newly arrived, I would look for a perfect picture with all the details intact, and invariably I would notice that the picture was not complete. Now, I don't think I can even remember the whole picture of life in the land-beyond-the-ocean, so discovery of a single item is enough to start up an old video clip in the mind.

....... That was what I intended to say when I starting writing this, but it occurs to me that this is also tied in with my shock at many of the comments made by viewers of the Sardine Run video. It's not a big deal - no one was being forced to ride the train, and the ride they faced was only about 20-25 minutes, but many of the comments make it clear that there is zero understanding of the situation, and with that level of non-comprehension, I wish that hadn't been posted. I wanted to make a point to my New York and London friends who claimed that Tokyo's trains couldn't be any more crowded than their trains, but the vast sea of misunderstanding that was to ensue was unforeseen.

"The seed doesn't fall far from the tree"
"You can never go home"

Which is true? Both & neither it would seem.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

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