Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Essay: "In Praise of Shadows." Junichiro Tanizaki (1).

Review: Trying to construct a traditional Japanese home while hiding the modern appliances fueled by electricity and plumbing. The world of shadows is a natural world. We are losing the world of shadows. A tribute to the old ways of doing things in Japan. A tribute to traditional Japanese culture.

Quote: “What incredible pains the fancier of traditional architecture must take when he sets out to build a house in pure Japanese style, striving somehow to make electric wires, gas pipes, and water lines harmonize with the austerity of Japanese rooms.”

Quote: “No stove worthy of the name will ever look right in a Japanese room.”

Quote: “The recent vogue for electric lamps in the style of the old standing lanterns comes, I think, from a new awareness of the softness and warmth of paper, qualities which for a time we had forgotten; it stands as evidence of our recognition that this material is far better suited than glass to the Japanese house.”

Quote: “Paper, I understand, was invented by the Chinese; but Western paper is to us no more than something to be used, while the texture of Chinese paper and Japanese paper gives us a certain feeling of warmth, of calm and repose.”

Quote: “Of course, this ‘sheen of antiquity’ of which we hear so much is in fact the glow of grime.” 

Rating of Essay:  ***** of *****

The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present. Ed. Phillip Lopate. New York: Anchor Books. A Division of Random House, Inc. 1995.

To be continued.

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