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After 2 weeks and about 5 concerts, I’ve come to realize that joy, silliness and lightness have somehow been embedded into the works of art of each of the Japanese artists I’ve seen so far.  I’m including in this unorthodox “statistic” of mine a gorgeous CD that was also given to me by a Japanese composer and past-UCSD colleague, Hiroyuki Itoh.  In-between the seriousness of the work of art is a philosophy of standing back from the work and from the self… and looking in from the outside.  There’s a separation of oneself, a vantage point of approaching the work of art not as the most profound statement, but humbled and even perhaps at times frivolous.  Within that point of view, I can see both worlds, both the sweet and the vital-ness.  You can’t have the jester without the king or priest… they’re a team, or perhaps, the 2 sides of a coin.

The Rabbit’s foot

Do you remember the “Rabbit’s foot”?  I used to love mine, and I would carry it around where ever I went.  It meant good luck.   Here, there are trinkets and bells attached to the phones, keys, purses, wallets and other items people carry around with them.  This ancient tradition, among many others alive and well here in Japan, has been lost in the US and European communities.  What is it about this culture that promotes these kinds of traditions? People refer to them as superstitions or myths.  But if so, why would a serious restaurant business continue to place lovely little bowls with salt at the front door even in this day and age?  If it’s just superstitions what does it have to do with business?  Obviously, it’s a cleansing tradition, one that purifies the air and keeps away the bad spirits (or karma).  But is it necessary?  Why keep bells and trinkets on your phone and other items: is it really just to find them when they’re lost in your purse?  Then why do guys have them, too?  Does this have something to do with the frivolousness, silliness and lightness of life?  Just wondering…

My ‘hood

Waseda University...on my way to the subway

Today I heard this bell tower ring… I’ve simply GOT to get a recording of it!  The overtones and tuning are awesome!



  1. Hi Jane. Your trip sounds amazing. You sound and look so happy. I am so glad you are embracing this opportunity of a lifetime. Keep up the blog, I am really enjoying the well traveled life through you. I miss you. Yolanda

  2. Happy Thanksgiving Jane! Don’t eat too much turkey today.:)

    • Turkey-Smurkey! I enjoyed a fantastic “fusion” (extremely appropriate actually) of Japanese-Italian-French…pasta, garlic, and shellfish…Japanese style…yummmmm! Soooo much to be thankful for! 🙂

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