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A Sensitivity to Things > japan

Fear has four legs and walks in circles

Rhino attack drill at Tokyo Zoo Fear has four legs, walks in circles and is covered in paper and glue in Tokyo, Japan. But is Japanese nonetheless, following the direction of public signs and never moving faster than a brisk walk. Should you meet Fear—say on an outing to the zoo—lull him into a false […]

Ninja in the Woods

While I certainly remember being so bored at High School that the imaginary was a sole relief, and really did once see a student running on the roof, convinced she was a cat and chased by teachers, students in Barnegat, New Jersey went completely off the page recently, confined to class after reporting a ninja […]

Obama, Japan: town with a precedent

Population approximately 33,000, importance approximately not much—a sleepy seaside town on the other side of nowhere is now the centre of world attention, and all because of its namesake: President Elect Barack Obama. Meaning “little beach” and literally located on one, the Japanese Obama lies due north of Kyoto and five hours by train from […]

Mono no aware: Beauty in Japan

Meaning literally “a sensitivity to things,” mono no aware is a concept coined by Japanese literary and linguistic scholar Motoori Norinaga in the eighteenth century to describe the essence of Japanese culture, and it remains the central artistic imperative in Japan to this day. The phrase is derived from the word aware, which in Heian […]

Six Childhood Facts

Six facts about me as a child, with due respect to Pavitrata. 1. No fast fried pleasures, please I never spent my pocket money on junk food as a child. Which is not to say that I didn’t like junk food, or to suggest merely a lack of money, but rather that spending hard earned, […]

Policing manners

“No one subject is of more importance to people than a knowledge of the rules, usages and ceremonies of good society. To acquire a thorough knowledge of these matters and to put that knowledge into practice with perfect ease and self-complacency is what people call good breeding. To display an ignorance of them is to […]