Thursday, May 26, 2011

Overheard at Galerie Chigusa

KITAGAWA. Were you able to find any ox paintings?

AKIKO. I'm still trying…

KITAGAWA. He's quite amusing, isn't he?


KITAGAWA. He's an interesting fellow.


KITAGAWA. Did Fumiko speak with you?


KITAGAWA. I see. What do you think?


AKIKO. It's very sudden. I would like some time to think it over.

KITAGAWA. Yes, certainly. Please do.

KITAGAWA. Your father is very worried about you.

AKIKO. I'm sorry to trouble everyone.

KITAGAWA. Not at all.

KITAGAWA. Would you like to meet with him again?


KITAGAWA. He would really like to. What do you think?


KITAGAWA. He was disheartened after you left early the other day.


KITAGAWA gets up and changes the subject....

Frame grabs from Spectacular Attractions
Only unimaginative people conceive of language as a means of communication.... [The Japanese language] sustains an even temperature of colloquy, discourages confidences, and preserves an all-important standoffishness. The supreme medium of communication is, not surprisingly, silence . . . . To the Japanese, the thought that a speaker, celebrated or not, casual or formal, should attach importance to being understood reveals a small mind. Incomprehension on the highest level has its own merits. — Bernard Rudofsky, The Kimono Mind, quoted by The Eyeslit-Crypt.
“The Japanese language is characterized among other things by evocative vagueness,” [Donald Keene] says. “You try to avoid being too pre­cise. I used to write to a Japanese friend, and he would send back my letters with things crossed out or changed. If I said ‘I’ve been sick for four days,’ he would correct me: ‘You should say “about four days,” or “four or five days.” We Japanese never say “four.” We never say “five.”’ And it’s true. There’s a liking for a fuzziness, which the Japanese find more exciting because it leaves space for the imagination.” — Jamie Katz, Sensei and Sensiblity

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