Week 1

By Nina Watts

I was standing out in the clump of trees behind Latin Way one night when I looked up at the sky.

 

Cold wind blows

Bare tree branches sway

Moon shines through the clouds

 

So far this course is much more philosophical than I expected it to be and I like it. I thought the course would be more focused on the external rather than the core of Japanese philosophy. I love the fact that we’re starting with the idea of evanescence and form. In order to understand a culture, the central philosophy on which it was built is essential. I find the idea of evanescence and form beautiful because of its truth. Everything is always changing, but there is some kind of pattern to the change. This is also a somewhat dark philosophy, because how can something like true love exist when everything, including yourself, is changing? There is a lot to think about concerning the idea. My favorite expression of the concept occurred in the explanation of earthquake-proof buildings in Tokyo: “Rigidity invites disaster. Flexibility enhances survival” (Inouye 6). I assume that we’ll be spending time building upon this foundation, but even then, how can one really understand a culture without living it? Professor Inouye addressed this on the first day of class and I really appreciated that insight.

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