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Old 12-04-2008   #1
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Japan and Japanese people

This thread is designed to be a celebration of Japan and its people. I'm launching it because...

Yesterday's post brought me (from Japan) Morning Musrume's "All Singles Complete"... Morning Musrume are Japanese girls. I won't call them cute, but if cuteness were a fatal disease they'd have to rush at least some of them to hospital for intensive care.

"All Singles Complete" is quite an artefact -- 2 CDs, a DVD, and a glossy book -- but here's the thing...

It's obviously designed purely for the Japanese market. Most of the writing is, naturally, in Japanese. But, when I look at the song lyrics in the book, I find that some of them contain odd English words and phrases amid the Japanese. When I put the DVD on last night, I found that the menu is in Japanese, but with the repeated English word "selection". Now, I don't know Japanese at all (unless one counts a few words -- but even those I wouldn't recognise if they were written in Japanese) -- and I suspect that not a great number of people on this board can read a word of Japanese. But it looks as though Japanese people are expected (as a matter of course) to be able to read at least a little English. This makes me feel a bit ashamed, and in awe of the Japanese nation.

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Old 12-04-2008   #2
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Re: Japan and Japanese people

Here's the cover picture of "All Singles Complete".



The proportions of the sides seem to be wrong, though -- the actual artefact is shaped like a DVD box.

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Old 12-05-2008   #3
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Re: Japan and Japanese people

Today, I commenced my Yuletide shopping -- buying the cards I'll send this year. With my current Japanese preoccupation, perhaps it was inevitable that I'd select Japanese prints. The artist who created all three designs is Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858). Perhaps I'll look for some of the artist's work and post it here.

The cards are charity ones, with money going to Water Aid and the Environmental Investigation Agency...

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Old 12-05-2008   #4
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Re: Japan and Japanese people

This may be the best known of Hiroshige's pictures:



In spite of its familiarity, I think it still carries a lot of power.

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Old 12-05-2008   #5
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Re: Japan and Japanese people

Less familiar, but quite extraordinary, is this Hiroshige picture of people on a bridge surprised by rain.


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Old 12-05-2008   #6
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Re: Japan and Japanese people

One of the things I like about this Hiroshige picture is the claw-like willows:



It brings to mind, for me, Algernon Blackwood's story The Willows.

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Old 12-05-2008   #7
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Re: Japan and Japanese people

To change the tone a little, surely Mr Obama's victory was largely owing to the support of Manga cheerleaders.


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Old 12-05-2008   #8
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Re: Japan and Japanese people

Another Hiroshige picture. It shows how well he could depict creatures. And, I think, there's something very satisfying about the way in which the sky is sandwiched between the dark eagle and pale earth.


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Old 12-05-2008   #9
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Re: Japan and Japanese people

Last week I bought myself a special device called pokescope, which allows me to watch old stereoview cards in 3D.

I think I will start a new thread about such cards this weekend (if I find some time). For now let me show you some fantastic old tinted stereoviews from Japan, which someone uploaded to flickr.com:





More here:
3D - 3D - 3D JAPAN STEREOVIEWS - a set on Flickr

"In my imagination, I have a small apartment in a small town where I live alone and gaze through a window at a wintry landscape." -- TL
Confusio Linguarum - visionary literature, translingualism & bibliophily
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Old 12-05-2008   #10
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Re: Japan and Japanese people

These pictures are GREAT!!! Thanks for sharing them!!

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