japonisme: 12/30/07 - 1/6/08

04 January 2008

the way of the world


Trawo, trawo do kolan!
Podnieś mi się do czoła,
Żeby myślom nie było
Ani mnie, ani pola.

Żebym ja się uzielił,
Przekwiecił do rdzenia kości
I już się nie oddzielił
Słowami od twej świeżości.

Abym tobie i sobie
Jednym imieniem mówił:
Albo obojgu - trawa,
Albo obojgu - tuwim

Julian Tuwim


Grass, grass up to my knees!
Grow up to the sky
So that there won't seem to be
Any you or I

So that I will turn all green
And blossom to my bones,
So that my words won't come between
Your freshness and my own.

So that for the two of us
There will be one name:
Either for both of us - grass,
Or both both of us - tuwim.

Julian Tuwim

Translated by Lawrence Davis

as with every other culture we've looked at, poland had its own 'versions' of japonisme, with its own names for it. for the poets, they were called the skamander poets after a magazine of that name that they started.

and, from wikipedia, 'Young Poland (Młoda Polska) was a modernist period in Polish art, literature and music, covering roughly the years between 1890 and 1918. It was an effect of strong opposition to the ideas of positivism and promoted the trends of decadence, neo- romanticism, symbolism, impressionism or art nouveau.

'The Polish literature of the period was based on two main concepts. The earlier was a typically modernist disil-

lusionment with bour- geoisie, its ways of life and its culture. Artists fol- lowing this concept also believed in decadence, end of all culture, conflict between humans and their civilisation and the concept of art as the highest value (art for art's sake).'

in other words, in this corner of europe, as in all the others, the fin of one siecle was the beginning of another. and constant thanks to green tea blog for keeping us aware of all this.

(see another view of irina)

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03 January 2008

cross-cultural studies II

Queen Victoria said: "I am most anxious to enlist everyone who can speak or write to join in checking this mad, wicked folly of 'Women's Rights', with all its attendant horrors, on which her poor feeble sex is bent, forgetting every sense of womanly feelings and propriety.

"Feminists ought to get a good whipping.

"Were woman to 'unsex' them- selves by claiming equality with men, they would become the most hateful, heathen and disgusting of beings and would surely perish without male protection." 1

During the Edo and Meiji (1868-1912 A.D.) periods, women were considered worthy of a certain amount of education.

Every girl, except those in the lower classes, was trained in the domestic and aesthetic arts.

This education included learning the Japanese written language, the Chinese classics, poetry, music, etiquette, flower arrangement, tea ceremony, calligraphy and painting, and in some areas, dancing.

Such talents were considered suitable for a proper woman and wife. 2

The Tal- mud- ists aver that teach- ing women to read is tiflut “unbe- coming behavior, sexual license, [and] a waste of time.”

The strictures they instituted blocking women from access to reading literacy, the minimum needed for participation in religious ritual was, until the seventh- century and only in Europe, carefully adhered.

Before that time few women in any Jewish population were reading much less writing literate.

Without the ability to record their lives for posterity, including their very much needed participation in holy days such as Passover, the experiences of half of the Jewish people have been and to a large extent continue to be ignored. 3

Surveys consistently find that women read more books than men, especially fiction. Explanations abound, from the biological differences between the male and female brains, to the way that boys and girls are introduced to reading at a young age. 4

throughout time and cultures, the idea that women should be taught to read has been suspect at best. but once again one thing becomes increasingly clear. in japan you really don't need to have red hair to read.

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02 January 2008

cross-cultural studies

as one can easily see, the history of pleasure swimming has been pretty much the same in the west and in japan.

only in japan you do not need red hair to participate.

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01 January 2008

sing in the year

maggie and milly and molly and may

maggie and milly and molly and may

went down to the beach(to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang

so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles,and

milly befriended a stranded star

whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing

which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone

as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)

it's always ourselves we find in the sea

E. E. Cummings

from The Complete Poems: 1904-1962 by E. E. Cummings; Copyright © 1991

(perhaps from all this you can make a perpetual january. at least this year january 1907 seems to fit. i have some mays and i will look for other months. i wonder if we'll ever have a year.)

happy new year everyone.

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happy sunrise to you all


31 December 2007

have a good one tonight, folks

(Sheet music version)


I wonder why does ev'rybody look at me
And then begin to talk about a Christmas tree?
I hope that means that ev'ryone is glad to see
The lady in the tutti-frutti hat.
The gentlemen, they want to make me say, "Si, si,"
But I don't tell them that, I tell them, "Yes, sir-ee!"
And maybe that is why they come for dates to me,
The lady in the tutti-frutti hat.
Some people say I dress too gay,
But ev'ry day, I feel so gay;
And when I'm gay, I dress that way,
Is something wrong with that?
Americanos tell me that my hat is high,
Because I will not take it off to kiss a guy;
But if I ever start to take it off, ay, ay!
I do that once for Johnny Smith
And he is very happy with
The lady in the tutti-frutti hat.


You hear a lot of people shouting, "There she goes!"
You see a seсorita dressed in flashy clothes,
In Rio de Janeiro, ev'rybody knows
The lady in the tutti-frutti hat.
When she begins to sing a song in Portuguese,
The temp'rature goes up a hundred more degrees;
Although they're freezing prices, they would never freeze
The lady in the tutti-frutti hat.
It isn't any wonder that
She likes her native habitat,
'Cause when she has to pick a hat,
She picks it off the trees.
She always has a half a dozen Romeos,
And when they come to sing a serenade, she throws
A lemon or banana like you throw a rose,
But Casanovas still prefer
That hep and happy character,
The lady in the tutti-frutti hat.

Lyric by Leo Robin
Music by Harry Warren

(one thing i found most interesting is that the only real equivilent to western hats i could find in the japanese prints were on the men playing women in kabuki, and not on women themselves.)

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30 December 2007

they can't take that away from me

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