Friday, January 31, 2014

Learning Japanese

I started learning conversational Japanese yesterday. Met Chisato, recommended by PB, at Panera Bread and looked at basic traveler's phrases. Pronunciation is not difficult. Memorization will take some effort.

I've been dipping into Buson's haikus for a month or two now. I do love the warmth and immediacy of his poetry. He makes me want to be a haiku poet. Never had that feeling when reading Basho and Issa. But it's hard to write haiku when the heart is in a state of agitation.

Bought Zen Landscape at the New Museum bookstore. Allen S. Weiss writes with genuine feeling about Japanese dry gardens, tea ceremony and ceramics. Wabi-sabi. Mono no aware. An aesthetics of simplicity, asymmetry, use value, old age and the seasons.

I'm really looking forward to our trip to Japan in August. I will launch the Japanese translation of The Pillow Book in Tokyo. GH and I are also thinking of visiting Kyoto, and a hot spring town between the two big cities.

Chikatetsu wa doko desu ka?

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