One of my students mentioned something amazing today: one of her friends practices kintsukuroi, the repair of ceramics with precious materials, usually gold.
This is a perfect example of a difference between Japanese and western culture. Kintsukuroi serves to highlight the history (and flaws) of a piece rather than attempting to cover them up. Moreover, it allows a damaged cup or bowl to continue to be used instead of pointlessly throwing away an otherwise valuable piece. The results are, of course, incredibly beautiful, and leave the piece more valuable than it was before the damage was done. The concept of use and reuse is a philosophy that’s still deeply ingrained in the culture here in Japan. Their obsessive organization of how they throw their trash away is a less attractive, but equally impressive example.
The two women in this class also mentioned Ohasama Winery, and they also offer to take me there with them some time. It’s an hour away by car.
They randomly ask me what I’m having for dinner, and they both chastize me when I say tsukemen.
“Vegetables!” they both yell at me.
Somehow this word comes up: tsukidewanai- a gentle version of dislike.
I got another coffee house class, where we all just sit around and chat with just a couple of women today. Their English is very high-level, and they’re fascinating people. One had recently come from a ballet lesson. The other does gymnastics. I said, “Sugoi!” (amazing), and they asked if I speak Japanese. As usual, I replied in the negative: “Nihongo-ga dekimasen.”
Their eyes pop out a little. “That’s Japanese!” They blurted out, and we all laughed. The class was good, both women are very clever.