Tuesday, August 18, 2009

And we follow the light.

My native and resident country, Japan is a nation of islands. Going abroad used to and remains to have a special connotation for its inhabitants.

I went abroad for the first time when I was 15. I still remember the shock as the airplane descended to Vancouver international airport. I happened to observe what later turned out to be quite an ordinary residential area by Canadian standards. However, at that time, the spacious greens in which the houses, some of them with pools in the backyard, seemed to be a scene from another planet.

Now, when I travel out of and into the Tokyo International airport, the shocks still persist more or less, albeit in a diminished manner. On the other hand, I seem to begin to discern a more universal and global pattern common to all world regions, no matter how different the languages and habitats might appear on the surface.

As time passes, I seem to be more concerned on what is universally human.

I never took a serious interest in nationalism, or in people who advocate it.

As the shock of differences fade away, the light of universality emerges. And we follow the light.


kirainet said...

Interesting, I felt I was in a different planet the first time I landed in Japan. But after being many years here in Tokyo I also start finding that Japan is NOT that different, I'm finding "universal patterns", I'm finding myself in a "universal earth" we live in.

Utako said...

It is said that one of the most important works in writing a scenario is to set up a space. It is called pillar, and decides the whole background of a scene, with extremely brief words.

When I see a photo, I look at the vegetation at first more freely, or gaze at a music stand and a beer glass and others.

I'm still interested in the distinction, for example, between Germany and Japan. At the same time, I also seem to try to touch common and universal patterns.
A sense of locality is very important for memory, thought,art, especially for a pillar,I think, but localism and nationalism hardly help to share the local delights.

A new book "Tropical Dream" seems to be interesting. I'll order it right now. I'd like to draw home semitropic botanical art, like Tomitaro Makino's illustrated books, someday. It's my dream.

Petrusa de Koker said...

Your memory of descending on a strange airport for the first time, is precious. I remember coming home (about 18 months ago) from Europe. I boarded the plane at Frankfurt's gigantic airport and the next morning we descended in Cape Town just as the morning sun was touching Table Mountain with gold. I smiled, because Cape Town airport is very small in comparison to the huge airports of Europe. It feels as if the plane is going to land on a dusty airstrip amongst the grass. One can make out the small airport building to the one side. I sometimes imagine that a couple of pikaninis quickly chased the cattle from the runway when they heard the plane coming. ...and that is exactly why I love coming home. There is a certain wildness and a huge welcome. Imagine, they cleared the runway just for you! :-)

(ma)gog said...

I like the title "And we follow the light." One might get different implications from it based on his or her own experiences, but certainly, it gives us positive feeling for hope or for a dream.

I never had a chance to go abroad in my teens, but when I was 15 (in 1977), because I liked learning English and wanted to improve my language skill, I wrote to a vice pastor at Tokyo Union Church(an international church) in Omotesando, asking her to give me the opportunity to help the nursery of the church, with my newly learned English vocabulary. So I started babysitting for the English speaking children aged 0 to 3 or 4 every Sunday morning during the services. Once you were inside the church, it was not Japan. It was such a thrilling experience of course, for a Japanese girl who had never been outside even of Honshu, except Enoshima… What I learned from this experience was though, not about the language, but about the babies. I still remember the first shock when an American lady brought her new born baby (perhaps it was just a week old) in a tiny basket and left it to me! Anyway, now I am not surprised by anything which must have seemed to be a great cultural difference back at that time, babies are just the babies all over the world!