Being a little slack on the schedule, it was afternoon before the class headed out to Kochi’s art museum. Mainly, we were amused by the prospect of viewing Western pop art in Japan, with artists like Andy Warhol on display.
Corina and I decided that we would impersonate art critics and made up in depth analyses of all the pieces, simply to take up the time until our Sensei came around and asked what were doing… and then joined in with us.
Not many photos today and not much to share since it was a rather uneventful day. A few of us headed back to the hostel after the art museum rather than returning to the mall. It was a long walk, but when company is good, you hardly notice. Upon returning we watched an episode of South Park over Netflix, giggling over the terrible, raunchy American humor.
However, we did have a homework assignment in reading about the spirit of the Japanese people and relating the old principles of simplicity, perfection, discipline and harmony with nature to the modern lifestyles.
For each of these principles, I think it is very easy to find examples on the everyday basis.
For simplicity, there is a direct example of it in the traditional style houses, that use tatami mat flooring and futons, a simple way to live and relax without all the excess found in much of the western societies.
For perfection, it can be seen easily in Japanese schools and the drive for students to perform well, as well expectations of society overall to set a good example, to live respectfully, observe traditions, uphold mannerisms and common law.
For discipline, there are the consequences of upsetting the established order; the high punishments for crime and the isolation someone can face due to it, so different from how things function and are received simply in the States.
And as for harmony with nature, it is visible in the fact that so many people keep gardens even while living in restricted spaces, and the presence of rice paddies all over the country in order to make use of all available space.
I feel that it is such an integrated society and it bears so many more expectations than any Western society. With it, it holds respect and honor, keeping it true to the long established Japanese culture.