Monday, June 25, 2012

Will Miss #462 - the blending of the old and new

Tatami beds, an interesting blend of the old with the new. 
Photo courtesy of Luis Poza at BlogD (used with permission). 

I used to do desktop publishing, editing, and writing of textbooks that included CDs with dialogues for people studying English. One of the questions related to a portion of the dialogue which asked a foreign visitor about a notable point about Japan and the answer was something about how the Japanese blend the old and the new. In the dialogue, they were talking about how ancient temples are sitting next to skyscrapers, or little rickety sweet potato stands selling roasted spuds made by hand are parked in front of gleaming supermarkets. The truth is that you see, but don't necessarily process this sort of mixing at many levels in Japanese culture. There may be a little design element that dates back centuries as part of a modern building, or you see "Hello Kitty" wearing some sort of traditional dress. Part of what makes Japan such an interesting place is how often you see bits of its ancient culture seamlessly interwoven with modern elements. It's the sort of thing you not only don't often see in my home country, but you actually can't since the culture is too relatively new to even possess such old culture.

I miss seeing the way in which the old and the new are woven into daily life in Japan.