Thursday, January 26, 2006


Recently, during our Journey to the current capital city of Japan, formerly known as Edo, we met with a gentleman by the name of Mr. Kono. Kono-san is busily translating a book on Polish history, from English into Japanese. It was a pleasure to meet Kono-san after hearing about him many times from Aukje who taught him about the bible in past years.
Kono-san likes to walk from his house to town, because it takes him 1 1/2 hours. He says this is good because it allows him the opportunity to create a haiku.
I have spent a bit of time trying to understand Japanese art forms and I find with my western worldview that I have difficulty appreciating them.

I read a good description in a novel by James Clavell called Gaijin. In the novel he describes one of his characters in the act of composing a haiku.

His brush dipped into the ink pool. He poised the point over the delicate rice paper then wrote firmly:

Sword of my fathers
When in my hands
Twists uneasily

The writing was in three short, flowing vertical lines of characters, strong where they should be strong and soft where softness would enhance the picture that the characters made; never a second chance to refine or change or correct even the slightest fault, the texture of the rice paper sucking in the ink at once to become indelibly a part of it, varying the black to grey depending how the bruch was used and the amount of water therein.

Coldly he scrutinized what he had done, the placement of the poem and the whole picture that the shades of black calligraphy made within the expanse of white, the shape and the fluid, obscured clearness of his characters

I have found that in spite of the somewhat soap opera like story line, James Clavell's novels provide insight into Asian culture and worldview.

1 comment:

anarchic said...'re it. Enjoy and pass it along.