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The Japanese Aesthetic

I have admired the Japanese sense of style all my life. Relishing in the textiles, paintings, architecture, gardens, art, rituals and festivals. The simplicity yet complexity of their aesthetic has always been iconic around the world. For example, the elegant shape of toris, standing proud and silent, beckoning you to walk through them dressed in an elegant kimino. Yet now I have been to Japan I have reckonised that these representative images are those of ancient Japan. Modern Japan has a different style altogether.

What struck me first is that everything is “cute”. Everything has to have some king of drawn cartoon-mascot attached to it, that is then on sold as a toy or charm. Secondly everything is now made of plastic; I notice in a restaurant this afternoon that the wood was actually textured plastic, yesterday we notice that a house wasn’t made of painted brick – it was textured plastic. Finally if you can get a blinking light in, on or around something then go for it. Yet we have seen many signs about electricity shortages and the need to conserve it.

It appears that the old is still revered and respected but if its new – it must be of the new paradigm.

PS – most incongruous Christmas thing to date – animated 2 metre high Santa singing “The yellow rose of Texas”!

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