Name: Ge Cui
Class:[JPN061] Intro Japanese Culture
Professor: Charles Inouye
Week 1: The secret of Winter
I was walking to Cohen Auditorium at 9 in the January morning when my breath steamed in the air and soon vanished.
Words, laughs, and sighs.
Where did they go?
All in the cloud.
“In spring the cherry blossoms” (Lecture 1) was the first “fact” I got to learn about Japanese culture from the class. I still remember in my high school senior year when my family decided to travel in Japan, all we worried was when the cherry blossoms would be open. We checked Japan weather report and read online analysis everyday. It was all because the flower only opens a week long per year. And when we finally arrived and watched them falling gradually from the branches like a pink rain, my world just slowed down all in a sudden. I actually love it when Professor Inouye told us that the whole semester we would be talking about “evanescence and form”. It is really interesting how the whole content of a culture can be generalized within two basic phenomena. “Evanescent – brief, fleeting, ever-changing, unpredictable, and fragile”(Inouye 1) as the cherry blossoms, “dying at the hight of their beauty”(Inouye 2). There is no permanence and everything is changing. But they either change in a certain way or remain something unchanging while changing. It looks familiar to me by reminding me of human’s heredity and variation. If we realize how many different individuals are in this world, we understand how genes never stop changing. But all the genes are listing in a certain order in the DNAs, and forming proteins in a certain way. That’s why most of us have one dead, two eyes, one mouth, and four extremities. Chinese media have always been talking about how Japanese people build the “sense of crisis” into each generation. Now I understand it as the “earthquakes, volcanoes, seasons, utsusemi, and cherry blossoms” taught Japanese people that anything can happen to anyone at anytime-nothing lasts forever. We can’t control them, so we should cherish them. And the “form” works as the paths we walk on in the chaos so we won’t get lost. Evanescence and form sound like two opposite words, but without either both of them might just lose the meaning.