a masochist in tokyo

Thursday, June 15, 2006

with so little time left in the program, i've been asked to reflect on that which i feel i need to accomplish in the time i have left. japan is something otherworldly to me even now, but to wake up in the morning and EXPECT this place has been a transformative experience. i've never wanted to move somewhere so much in my entire life. i have to consider that i'm viewing the country through a narrow lense, surely colored by the relative control a university imposes on the concept of "real life," but it stands that my reactions to my temporary home have been positive. so, having seen what i have and having begun to understand its implications on where i see myself heading as both a designer and a citizen of earth, whatever that means...what next? what are my expectations for the rest of the program? difficult to say. on the one hand this is and has always been an academic program, and the workload has certainly been considerable (and reason enough for delays in blog posting, though i'm sure others managed to be more diligent than i by virtue of their project). however i wouldn't say that i am coming from it without some sort of personal reconstruction of values. japan's inherent homogeneity pushes an atmosphere of isolation on the "other," in this case me...however its liberating in a certain sense to have that isolation without a sense of fear. i approached japan with excitement, expecting absurdity from a multitude of directions, but a cultural meme that wasn't dissimilar to my own. i've found it to be the opposite...life if a mirror image of home, that mirror cracked and distorted by the history that westernization attempted to mask. it's not japan that's dissimilar, it's the japanese...born of generations of history only (relatively) recently allowed to mingle with culture i consider my own. in a lot of ways, i find the manner that they have reconstituted western customs to be preferential to that of the actual west, though i will never forget that the personal and social control here is a result of a relative lack of freedom comparative to home.

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