Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Will Miss # 115 - divine messes

One of my students once remarked that she felt Japanese people had "no sense of space." She said that she felt they were poor at organizing spaces and tended to stack crap everywhere. This assertion, which I have seen backed up on multiple occasions by the homes around me, flies in the face of the minimalism myth which many people who have never been to Japan (except possibly as tourists) like to perpetuate. Most foreigners seem to believe that Japanese people are sitting in pristine, nearly empty rooms with well-tended rock gardens and tastefully appointed bonsai trees just outside the window. This is very much not the case and yet another example of foreigners elevating the Japanese to a standard of behavior and lifestyle that they themselves do not embrace or endorse.

I'll miss seeing these wonderfully human and endearing messes that disprove the Japanese minimalism myth.

(As a postscript, interested parties can see what I'm talking about up close and personal in the book Tokyo: A Certain Style.)