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  • Japanese Aesthetics

    While a more proper place for this thread would, in some respects, be OoTw, I feel that because this forum is so underused (and because my query relates specifically to Japan), here is as good a place as any to put it. I'm looking for an in depth and accurate primer on Japanese aesthetic concepts such as wabi, sabi, aware, and yugen. I've read conflicting definitions of these words, especially the first two, and I can't seem to find a trustworthy looking article that goes into detail about any of them.

    A search on Barnes and Noble abounded with books that had "Wabi-Sabi" in the title, but many seemed like they might be commercializations and overgeneralizations for a dumb American audience. Any help would be vastly appreciated, as I'm eager to understand the true nature of these concepts.

  • #2
    I am sorry this is not what you want, but I thought this thread was appropriate.

    I just had to reinstall Windows XP and one of the first things I did after getting online was rush to the Microsoft Languages site to install the Japanese support files. I could not stand seeing those 4 or 5 question marks in the middle of the forum index. It was very odd.

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    • #3
      Ellimist, how do you spell OCD?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by katatonic
        Ellimist, how do you spell OCD?
        O-B-S-E-S-S-Q-I.... fuck!

        gets out the bleach Look what you made me do! Now I have to clean it up. Shit, I have to go wash my hands.

        Edit: back now. okay, trying again:

        O-B-S-E-S-S-I-V-E- -C-O-M-P-U-L-S-I-V-E- -D-I-S-O-R-D-E-R

        Ah, much better. :)

        I can make fun of this stuff because I probably do have some minor form of it. I could be wrong, of course.

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        • #5

          You make me happy.

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          • #6
            sniff, sniff


            *lifts leg*
            ________
            Honda J engine
            Last edited by corndog; 01-28-2011, 10:42 PM.

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            • #7
              What the hell are you doing over here, Corndog? KENNEL!

              By the way, I don't suppose you'll reveal who you are? It's a bit weird seeing my dog in your avatar, whoever you are.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by modiFIed
                What the hell are you doing over here, Corndog? KENNEL!

                Can't a dog have some privacy to do her business?

                Originally posted by modiFIed
                By the way, I don't suppose you'll reveal who you are?
                What! And spoil the fun? I think I can get at least a couple more jokes out of this first. You can have 3 guesses, and I'll bet you don't figure it out.

                Originally posted by modiFIed
                It's a bit weird seeing my dog in your avatar, whoever you are.
                Sorry about that. It's such a great shot of me though. But I'll give it back - here-

                http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a346/znorker/em2.jpg

                and use one of my own, much cruder likenesses.
                ________
                medical marijuana
                Last edited by corndog; 01-28-2011, 10:42 PM.

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                • #9
                  What does a Japanese dog's bark sound like anyway?
                  ________
                  Yamaha CS30/CS30L synthesizer specifications
                  Last edited by corndog; 01-28-2011, 10:43 PM.

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                  • #10
                    To return this thread to it's original query (sorry corndog, now my name will appear on the index page ), I too am curious about the notion of Japanese aesthetics and how they might apply (or not) to HoL. I had to return my library's loaned copy of the Japanese translation, but I've got another one on order.

                    What I'm curious about is why, as seems to be the case, the book hasn't really caught on over there? A quick perusal of Japanese horror films seems to support the observation that the idea of threatening, uncanny, or otherwise problematic home-spaces is pretty common. Dark Water and Ju-on come to mind, obviously, but even something like Ringu where the supernatural isn't explicitly space-specific employs a subtle use of home-spaces that is especially unnerving. A few scenes come to mind, but if you've seen it you know what I'm talking about.

                    Anyway, HoL does seem especially "American" in some ways (though it certainly doesn't exclude a European sensibility, one could argue that the sense in which space is "haunted" in TNR is somehow different than what would find if it were set in, say, London; but that's not what I want to talk about here.)

                    I'm interested in hearing anyone's thoughts (particularly anyone who has recently lived in Japan) on the ways Japanese culture and/or aesthetic sensibilities might (or might not) relate to the fundamental aporia present both in the novel and the film.

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                    • #11
                      Abducted

                      Originally posted by katatonic
                      Ellimist, how do you spell OCD?
                      I guess that you must of been abducted lat night or something cos your definatly are not thinking straight.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MoleculaRR
                        I'm interested in hearing anyone's thoughts (particularly anyone who has recently lived in Japan) on the ways Japanese culture and/or aesthetic sensibilities might (or might not) relate to the fundamental aporia present both in the novel and the film.
                        -This Digital Poetics post seems right up your street- doesn't answer your initial query, but is about digital/analogue reproduction, Ringu, HoL etc.

                        -It is impossible for Japanese people to fear an infinitely vast . On the contrary, from personal experience I can attest that many would consider it a dream home. Hence HoL's poor sales.

                        -Why not use this part of the forum? I don't think we've had a single japanese poster so far, although potentials may well be put off by the lack of nihongo on display.

                        -I'll attempt a less facetious answer to your interesting question once I've had a think about it.

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                        • #13
                          Right on. In the meantime, though, I should mention that one of my favorite bits of Ringu (I've only seen the Japanese film version) was when they try to decipher the text on the tape but they can't read it because it moves and changes, etc. Very much in line with the comments you point to on Digital Poetics.

                          This is a tremendous generalization, but is it also possible that typographic play, multiple text vectors, etc. isn't quite as novel to a Japanese audience? I don't know the language well enough to say for sure, but my impression of the little conversational Japanese I learned was that you get used to reading it both left->right and top->bottom and that syntax in general is more of a matter of context and association than delineation. I dunno, though. I really don't know what I"m talking about here.

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                          • #14
                            No worries- I've been geeking to chat about this for a while.

                            Originally posted by MoleculaRR
                            I don't know the language well enough to say for sure, but my impression of the little conversational Japanese I learned was that you get used to reading it both left->right and top->bottom and that syntax in general is more of a matter of context and association than delineation.
                            Yeah- and I suppose the art of calligraphy, where the beauty is in the placement, shape, choice etc of the kanji equally might prepare a Japanese reader more for the kinds of typographic play in HoL. But then we're hardly bereft of a similar tradition (need I drag out my hobby horse?)... In this debate, I feel like we are two men with a biro each and some string tied on the end, fishing for blue whales. If you see what mean.

                            but let's see where it goes.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by zakalwe
                              In this debate, I feel like we are two men with a biro each and some string tied on the end, fishing for blue whales. If you see what mean.

                              but let's see where it goes.
                              Er, biro = "ballpoint pen"? That's a new one for me, but I take your point nonetheless. Calligraphy's a good tie-in, too. My point basically was that there's a different kind of graphemic conciousness already present in japanese writing.

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