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Japan Diary

“The more you watch Japanese television, the more you feel it’s watching you....”

Japan Diary
Japan Diary
outlookindia.com
2017-03-11T11:22:55+05:30

“The more you watch Japanese television, the more you feel it’s watching you....” You can’t shake off that line from Sans Soleil, Chris Marker’s dreamwalk through place, time and memory. Every pop fragment and artefact you’ve known of Japan has that qua­lity, like something unknowable brooding bene­ath the surface. The runic stick-­figures of kanji, the parchment catching fire with Basho’s sunlight, the ele­ctric-blue mia­sma that pervades the world of anime...a perfectly foreign place. You have the thumbnail sketch of a gene­ric Japanese as a moody, inte­nse, faintly misanthropic human, with melancholic violin strains. Each one an island.

Cut to the chirpy Huck Finn who serves us at a subway alehouse in Osaka, the kimono ladies clicking selfies (just like the rest of us) on the Thousand Gates path at Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari-taisha shrine, the factory manager chortling at his own English, the funky washlet that didn’t work! To have the myth busted gives you the pleasure of a migraine lifting—you quite like the people, as an experience. Japan, as you feel it on your skin, has none of that fabled fear of the gaijin. The impressionistic sense is of something warm, well-composed, light on its feet, simplicity itself. If anything noirish lurks beyond the sakura tones, it’s not apparent. It’s light Chopin on the surface.

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