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  • #16
    Originally posted by Tort-Speed View Post
    Good - Kansai airport people? Bad: yeah, prices, but after a while get numbed to that. Though remember well first time I saw the price of what looked like just noodles - no veggies, protein source, etc. Anyway, glad to hear J. was good.
    Honestly, the customs people were absolutely lovely in Kansai. They asked one of us to fill in some forms, then they nicely asked to see our swords, did the magnet test, then asked why we had them and we explained about Oshita Sensei. And then one spoke about his hobby - kendo. And the female officer did aikido.. and could she hold the swords. All this is the main airport.

    When we flew out I had left a bottle of watre in a jacket, The female customs officer apologised for asking if I had anything that I shouldn't have ( I was so embarrassed that i had left it in there) and then apologised again for having to put stuff back through the rapiscan. And she was a looker.

    Originally posted by Kokoro777 View Post
    One thing I was disappointed about in Japan was it wasn't a beautiful place. Concrete, telegraph poles and associated wires obscuring places of beauty, and all the rivers I saw have concrete-reinforced banks, what's that all about? The man-made beauty was incredible: architecture, shrines and temples etc, but the natural beauty wasn't what I expected. Everyone should read 'Roads to Sata' and 'Looking for the Lost: Journeys through a vanishing Japan' both by Alan Booth for a sometimes brutally honest view of Japan.
    Define beauty? What makes somewhere beautiful?

    How about it was clean. And tidy. And there was no blood or vomit in shop doorways. Kobe is what it is- an industrial port city. Compare it to Middlesbrough and Liverpool and Le Havre and Hamburg et al rather than Bath or York or Bielefeld or Krakow. It is VERY pretty compared to such places.

    And why cannot concrete be beautiful? C'mon medical boy...come and argue with an ex-art student about aesthetics lol

    But perhaps you like the Constable view of the world. Did you not go to Nara? Or Gion in Kyoto? Did you not go into the countryside and see the Bizen pottery factory? Did you not go to Kobe Uni past the farmsteads and villages and rice fields and cattle pastures?

    No?

    hmm

    I did.

    T'was great

    Comment


    • #17
      Satsumaruma, Very glad you were so impressed and ta hear about Kansai. 'Bout 19 years ago I was flying out of Narita Airport, after several days' Iaido and Kendo practice in Japan. I had thought I could carry-on or check in my Iai sword (not real katana) when suddenly, uniformed police were summoned and came running to the baggage-check area. After confirming it was a dull blade, etc. and I was a budo student, they let me go on my way. No lookers there, just suspicious looks.

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by Kokoro777 View Post
        One thing I was disappointed about in Japan was it wasn't a beautiful place. Concrete, telegraph poles and associated wires obscuring places of beauty, and all the rivers I saw have concrete-reinforced banks, what's that all about? The man-made beauty was incredible: architecture, shrines and temples etc, but the natural beauty wasn't what I expected. Everyone should read 'Roads to Sata' and 'Looking for the Lost: Journeys through a vanishing Japan' both by Alan Booth for a sometimes brutally honest view of Japan.

        East asia is kind of like that, however they do have some very adventurous architecture as well. Aoyama Technical College, Asahi building, Nakagin Capsule Tower are just a few in tokyo that come to mind.

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by Kokoro777 View Post
          One thing I was disappointed about in Japan was it wasn't a beautiful place. Concrete, telegraph poles and associated wires obscuring places of beauty, and all the rivers I saw have concrete-reinforced banks, what's that all about? The man-made beauty was incredible: architecture, shrines and temples etc, but the natural beauty wasn't what I expected. Everyone should read 'Roads to Sata' and 'Looking for the Lost: Journeys through a vanishing Japan' both by Alan Booth for a sometimes brutally honest view of Japan.
          In terms of nature, it must be an expectation thing, from my viewpoint it is more where is Japan not a beautiful place (like some of the urban areas, some parts of Tokyo are just downright ugly or industrial brutalist, much more is just typical urban sprawl that no-one would call beautiful), on my last few training trips I have trained in the mountains of Matsumoto, Saitama and Tochigi - all have had outstanding natural environments and walking around on rest periods has been a pleasure, the trees especially are so much more varied than here.... trundling around on the train to get to and from these places I always spend half the time staring out the window.

          Of course Alan Booth was often a whinger, in some sections disappointment reeks from 'Looking for the Lost: Journeys through a vanishing Japan' - for example his view on Inuyama-Jo and mine are worlds apart, doesnt mean it wasnt a very enjoyable read but definitly a look through a peculiar prism.

          Comment


          • #20
            It is easy to be disappointed by any place if you read about it first through only one or two people's eyes. Your own experience is inevitably coloured by expectations. I supple it's the same if you believe any person's opinion of anything before you try it.

            I prefer to read travel books after I've been to the places.

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by Aden View Post
              Of course Alan Booth was often a whinger, in some sections disappointment reeks from 'Looking for the Lost: Journeys through a vanishing Japan' - for example his view on Inuyama-Jo and mine are worlds apart, doesnt mean it wasnt a very enjoyable read but definitly a look through a peculiar prism.
              At times I found him to be down right cynical about things. It was a fascinating read though. For a book poles apart has anyone read "Zen Combat" by Jay Gluck? Cringey title I know, but he writes with more of a childhood wonder rather than Booth's grumpy whinging!

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by satsumaruma View Post
                Define beauty? What makes somewhere beautiful?
                As Picasso said, "If beauty needs defining to you, you must be very ugly"! (I made that up)

                Originally posted by satsumaruma View Post
                How about it was clean. And tidy. And there was no blood or vomit in shop doorways. Kobe is what it is- an industrial port city. Compare it to Middlesbrough and Liverpool and Le Havre and Hamburg et al rather than Bath or York or Bielefeld or Krakow. It is VERY pretty compared to such places.
                Its interesting that the Japanese word for 'beauty' and 'clean' are the same (or at least homophones). Alan Booth is a bit of a grumpy writer, lsrfbt, but I assume he wasn't lying about his travels and I did experience some of what he relates. I'll buy the Jay Gluck book immediately, thanks.

                Originally posted by satsumaruma View Post
                And why cannot concrete be beautiful? C'mon medical boy...come and argue with an ex-art student about aesthetics lol
                You must've done your degree a long time ago because I think you've forgotten the idea of post-modernism within aesthetics and now, coincidentally for this conversation, how wabi sabi is being incorporated, often unconsciously, into the 'beauty palette' of contemporary aesthetes. Of course, talking about beauty is like dancing about architecture, but the visceral reaction produced in response to 'beauty' is something that many artists try to encapsulate in whatever medium they employ, yes, including concrete. But lets not get carried away and neglect the visuo-affective dissociation that has become prevalent in our society because, I would posit, because of our desensitisation to ceramic beauty (by which I'm referring specifically to concrete here, of course). Everyday we are confronted by the 'grey stuff' and depending upon our prevailing limbic activation, we may, in error, associate negative connotations to it and begin to find it 'unaesthetic' if you will. Is this mind, is it matter or is it, as I suspect complete bollocks....?

                There you go, just talk complete bollocks, throw in some vague indefinable terms and a few big words and the 'emperor's new cloths' brigade will coo and prick up their ears and begin scribbling articles for The Guardian, The Times et al. and the Culture Show! Now where's my degree in Art?

                Originally posted by satsumaruma View Post
                But perhaps you like the Constable view of the world.
                Ooo no, it looks boring and its too like the place my parents fled to come here to the West for a much better life!

                Originally posted by satsumaruma View Post
                Did you not go to Nara? Or Gion in Kyoto?
                Yes I did and they were beautiful places but the beauty was in the architecture and the arrangement of nature into something beautiful, which I find gorgeous. I suppose I'm just referring to the telegraph/power wires across all things of beauty (yes, I know, earthquake proofing), rusting farm equipment (yes I see this in Shropshire all the time. In fact I think farmers ruin the beauty of our landscape with their ugly corrugated 'temporary' buildings and heaps of rusting broken farm machinery strewn across the countryside...but don't get me started on that!). You'd see nice fields and them tarmac roads bisecting them for convenience. It just spoiled things for me.

                Originally posted by satsumaruma View Post
                Did you not go into the countryside and see the Bizen pottery factory? Did you not go to Kobe Uni past the farmsteads and villages and rice fields and cattle pastures?
                I didn't see those things but because I travelled between distant places I did see a lot of Japan from the window of the Shinkansen and it just wasn't anywhere as near as beautiful as say, Switzerland which left me breathless (as did the cost of being there!). I think Peter's right. I've wanted to go to Japan since I was 11, read so many books about it, watched 'At Home with Venitia in Kyoto' and I've probably built it up into something it can never live up to. Philosopher, writer, commentator, Alain de Bouton wrote a great book called 'The Art of Travel' a few years ago about holidaying and his conclusion was it often proves to be disappointing because we have to take ourselves on holiday-our preconceptions, our expectations our hopes and its this that makes much travel, disappointing-that and having to use cheap transport!

                For me Japan is about the architecture, the culture and the arts and if I want to see natural beauty, there are other places I could to go. I yearn to go back though and will next year.

                One thing Japan, or rather the Japanese, did show me was the ugliness of Europeans. The Japanese are the loveliest, kindest, sweetest most joyous people I have ever met (the Burmese are up there too). Just being in their presence made me feel so uplifted and perhaps good about myself, but of course coming home put us Europeans into stark contrast. The sheer arrogance of us, in our demeanor and swagger was visible and palpable. I was queuing for a coffee a Heathrow and the attitude of the some of the people (Brits, Germans-speakers, French-speakers) to a delay in getting their coffee was just cringe-worthy in comparison to the sweet-nature of the people I'd just spent two weeks with. Perhaps I could slightly extend and refine de Bouton's thesis and say the worst thing about holidaying in Japan is having to come back to Europeans!

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by Kokoro777 View Post

                  One thing Japan, or rather the Japanese, did show me was the ugliness of Europeans. The Japanese are the loveliest, kindest, sweetest most joyous people I have ever met (the Burmese are up there too). Just being in their presence made me feel so uplifted and perhaps good about myself, but of course coming home put us Europeans into stark contrast. The sheer arrogance of us, in our demeanor and swagger was visible and palpable. I was queuing for a coffee a Heathrow and the attitude of the some of the people (Brits, Germans-speakers, French-speakers) to a delay in getting their coffee was just cringe-worthy in comparison to the sweet-nature of the people I'd just spent two weeks with. Perhaps I could slightly extend and refine de Bouton's thesis and say the worst thing about holidaying in Japan is having to come back to Europeans!
                  Joyous isn't the first thing that comes to mind for me with the Japanese. Sure by and large, when compared to western people, most Japanese people are fairly polite, somewhat shy if you try and speak english (unless they are stalking english speaking foreigners for ei-kaiwa at tourist sites) and fairly introverted (unless inebrieted) compared to their Korean and Chinese neighbors. You do have the whole tatemae/honne thing which you probably won't see much of as a tourist. Anyways, the chinese seem a lot more happy, at least in a superficial way.

                  For the tourist, going to Japan is like going to disneyland, just with some graffitti and a lot worse air quality. You have the same outrageous food prices, its super clean, there are lots of people in funny uniforms and there are lots of strange and interesting things to see and do.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by hl1978 View Post
                    For the tourist, going to Japan is like going to disneyland, just with some graffitti and a lot worse air quality. You have the same outrageous food prices, its super clean, there are lots of people in funny uniforms and there are lots of strange and interesting things to see and do.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      The main thing I don't like is having the same sort of meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner....after three weeks I get to wanting cornflakes for breakfast, and start dreaming about beef and yorkshire puds..... Mars bars get me through though. And may I say that bactrian camel burgers smell as vile as they taste. Which is exactly like the animal in fact now I come to think about it....
                      People are people wherever you go, good and bad in the same ratios. Its the culture that always catches you out, you think you are going along quite well and have no idea that you have just mortally offended someone by breaking a rule you would never think of...

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Peter West View Post
                        It is easy to be disappointed by any place if you read about it first through only one or two people's eyes. Your own experience is inevitably coloured by expectations. I supple it's the same if you believe any person's opinion of anything before you try it.

                        I prefer to read travel books after I've been to the places.
                        I do that too. I like to compare what they thought about somewhere to how I felt about it.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Kokoro777 View Post

                          You must've done your degree a long time ago because I think you've forgotten the idea of post-modernism within aesthetics and now, coincidentally for this conversation, how wabi sabi is being incorporated, often unconsciously, into the 'beauty palette' of contemporary aesthetes. Of course, talking about beauty is like dancing about architecture, but the visceral reaction produced in response to 'beauty' is something that many artists try to encapsulate in whatever medium they employ, yes, including concrete. But lets not get carried away and neglect the visuo-affective dissociation that has become prevalent in our society because, I would posit, because of our desensitisation to ceramic beauty (by which I'm referring specifically to concrete here, of course). Everyday we are confronted by the 'grey stuff' and depending upon our prevailing limbic activation, we may, in error, associate negative connotations to it and begin to find it 'unaesthetic' if you will. Is this mind, is it matter or is it, as I suspect complete bollocks....?

                          There you go, just talk complete bollocks, throw in some vague indefinable terms and a few big words and the 'emperor's new cloths' brigade will coo and prick up their ears and begin scribbling articles for The Guardian, The Times et al. and the Culture Show! Now where's my degree in Art?





                          Fine words from someone much more used to uttering "it's a virus. take one of these three times a day and refrain from alcohol"


                          Yes I did and they were beautiful places but the beauty was in the architecture and the arrangement of nature into something beautiful, which I find gorgeous. I suppose I'm just referring to the telegraph/power wires across all things of beauty (yes, I know, earthquake proofing), rusting farm equipment (yes I see this in Shropshire all the time. In fact I think farmers ruin the beauty of our landscape with their ugly corrugated 'temporary' buildings and heaps of rusting broken farm machinery strewn across the countryside...but don't get me started on that!). You'd see nice fields and them tarmac roads bisecting them for convenience. It just spoiled things for me.
                          It's the human element that most often makes things beautiful. Why is a farm with corrugated buildings ugly? York Minster is considered very beautiful but at the end of the day it is stone and glass with lead roofing. But it is a complete mess if you look at it in architectural terms. Noter Dame is even worse and Kolner dom is simply odd. But these are much loved. What makes them so is time and a wistful look back into history.But there is nothing to say in any manual that says That is beautifil and that is not. It isn't that simple or neat. I realise this doesnt quite eqaute into a scientist view of the world because it cannot be boxed off. Here is a clue to help you. There are more than just two shades - black and white. There is a world of greys and then....when you get your head around this we can talk about some of the colours. I will be gentle with you!!

                          For me Japan is about the architecture, the culture and the arts and if I want to see natural beauty, there are other places I could to go. I yearn to go back though and will next year.
                          But Japan's architecture was also some of worst there is. The train from Kobe to Kyoto was just a sea of grey buildings; simply hideous.

                          It is only the special things that make it lovely. I actually liked the crazy telegraph poles; the plethora of neon signs, the vending machines at every street - corner they screamed of human life in all it's strangeness

                          I didn't see those things but because I travelled between distant places I did see a lot of Japan from the window of the Shinkansen and it just wasn't anywhere as near as beautiful as say, Switzerland which left me breathless (as did the cost of being there!).
                          Snow, mountains, chalets, cows with bells round their necks. And?

                          Why is this more beautiful than lush green trees, mountains, traditional farmsteads, paddy field workers?

                          It isn't. Nor is it any worse. Beauty IS in the eye of the beholder. you simply prefer the way the Swiss country side looks. Nothing wrong with that at all. But this doesnt mean that the Japanese countryside is any less beautiful; it's just not to your preferred taste.

                          One thing Japan, or rather the Japanese, did show me was the ugliness of Europeans. The Japanese are the loveliest, kindest, sweetest most joyous people I have ever met (the Burmese are up there too). Just being in their presence made me feel so uplifted and perhaps good about myself, but of course coming home put us Europeans into stark contrast. !
                          Totally agree with you here.

                          japanese airport staff - smiles and helpfulness
                          Dutch airport staff - indifference and passed you on to someone else every time.
                          French airport staff - black female jabba the hut who grunted and a visible loathing of anyone English
                          Newcastle aiport staff - bad tempered, rude and bossy

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            @ Sats;
                            Your words;
                            Fine words from someone much more used to uttering "it's a virus. take one of these three times a day and refrain from alcohol"

                            Anil would be VERY surprised if any of his 'patients' [clients?] entered into a conversation.

                            Then came;
                            French airport staff - black female jabba the hut who grunted and a visible loathing of anyone English
                            Newcastle aiport staff - bad tempered, rude and bossy

                            ...... and this was a surprise to you?

                            We found it very interesting, when checking-in to leave Japan...... that the staff were not really interested in 'The Beast' of a shinken we were carrying - - but REALLY interested in the paperwork. All super-helpful.... once they realised the paperwork was correct and authenticated.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by still learning View Post
                              @ Sats;
                              Your words;
                              Fine words from someone much more used to uttering "it's a virus. take one of these three times a day and refrain from alcohol"

                              Anil would be VERY surprised if any of his 'patients' [clients?] entered into a conversation.

                              Then came;
                              French airport staff - black female jabba the hut who grunted and a visible loathing of anyone English
                              Newcastle aiport staff - bad tempered, rude and bossy

                              ...... and this was a surprise to you?

                              We found it very interesting, when checking-in to leave Japan...... that the staff were not really interested in 'The Beast' of a shinken we were carrying - - but REALLY interested in the paperwork. All super-helpful.... once they realised the paperwork was correct and authenticated.
                              GTB,

                              don't know what Anil does; just know he is medically trained.

                              No, not surprised at all by the difference in customs. Just thought it worth highlighting.

                              Your experience of their customs quite different to ours. The Japanese customs were very interested in our swords whilst also keeping the paperwork right. But, and get this, on the way in, the Customs Officer apologised for asking to check the swords and thanked us for letting him do it!!

                              I kid you not

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by satsumaruma View Post
                                GTB,

                                don't know what Anil does; just know he is medically trained.

                                No, not surprised at all by the difference in customs. Just thought it worth highlighting.

                                Your experience of their customs quite different to ours. The Japanese customs were very interested in our swords whilst also keeping the paperwork right. But, and get this, on the way in, the Customs Officer apologised for asking to check the swords and thanked us for letting him do it!!

                                I kid you not
                                Same with us last time. The thing I found hardest to figure was the woman who wanted to test the iaito with a magnet. no problem, I understand that. But then taking out a shin ken she wanted to test that too. We had the devil's own job explaining it IS a shin ken, we don't deny it, the paperwork proves it, the magnet WILL stick, but please don't fuck up the polish by scraping it with a magnet.

                                Eventually she realised.

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