I was riding my motorcycle around Mystic Lake when I pulled over for a moment to admire the sunset’s reflection on the lake’s ice.
A moment of rest
A cursory glance of the syllabus on the first day of class made me realize that Japanese culture already plays a defining role in my life. The set of my favorite movies is a subset of the movies we will watch. Two of my three favorite authors are represented in our upcoming readings. I expected the course to be more pragmatic than ethereal, but it’s already morphing my perception. The “plurality of the kami” (Kitaqawa, 44) is very appealing. The nonsymbolic reverence of inanimate objects means that the “mountains were not only the kami’s dwelling places; mountains were the kami themselves.” (Kitaqawa, 46) This intuitively makes sense to me; I’ve always felt a certain veneration for the lifeless. I used to whisper encouragement to my computer as it struggled through calculations. On a more serious note, the readings on evanescence have fostered in me a profound fear. The concept of “utsusemi”, which “affirms life’s brevity and fragility,” has given me pause. (Inouye 13) I ride a motorcycle, which is fairly awarded the epithet, “dangerous”. I can only hope that my shell — my helmet, leathers, gloves and boots — does not signify “empty, frail, and quickly passing.” (Inouye 19)