Posted onMay 4, 2023|Comments Off on From Henry V to King Lear: Branagh comes of an age (as do we all)
It seems only yesterday that Kenneth Branagh was wowing us with his version of Henry V. Now instead of playing one of the younger Shakespearean lead roles, he is playing one of the oldest, as he gets ready to direct and star in a new production of King Lear on London’s west end. I am sure it will be a huge success. Shakespeare has been good to him, and vice versa.
Reading that, I started to think about some of the pieces I’ve collected on aging. For example, if you or someone you love is wondering how to manage living in your home as you get older, then read this.
Posted onApril 7, 2021|Comments Off on Mindfulness revisited (or the benefits of adopting a broader approach to mindfulness)
For some time I have been practicing a simple form of mindfulness to deal with stressful thinking. It’s a good skill to practice, and while I am not an expert, it has helped me deal with anxiety.
However as this article reminded me, mindfulness as it is practiced in Japan is much more than that. Mindfulness is a way of being present. Of being aware. Of appreciating the transient nature of our lives and thereby enriching them. Japanese people have mindful practices woven through their lives. I think we could all gain from adopting these practices. Read the piece: I am sure you will agree.
P.S. I have adopted the practice of shisa kanko (literally ‘checking and calling’) and have found it helpful in making sure I do things properly. It’s a very different form of mindfulness than focusing on breathing, but it comes from the same source.
Posted onFebruary 9, 2021|Comments Off on Japan: more different than you might think
When I think of Japan, I think of cherry blossoms, Mt. Fuji, busy Tokyo streets, temples, sushi, and a homogenous society with very few outsiders. It turns out the last one is not really true. To see what I mean, read this: How homogeneous is Japan? – Noahpinion.
The author, Noah Smith, has depth when it comes to things Japanese and it shows in that piece. I highly recommend him in general, not just for things about Japan. But if your ideas of Japan haven’t changed in some time, that piece will give your brain a much needed upgrade.
Comments Off on Japan: more different than you might think
My feeling is they have expanded past the point it is sustainable, and now they are going to have to adjust. Hopefully they can adjust: they are a good company and they could be as big as IKEA or H&M. Or they could go bankrupt. The next few years will show which direction they go.
Posted onMarch 18, 2018|Comments Off on Thinking about prisons — and not just for Japanese elderly women — because of this piece.
Reading this, Japan’s Prisons Are a Haven for Elderly Women – Bloomberg, you realize just how terrible prison is as a means of solving any social ills. All of the women in this piece could have better ways to deal with their problems. They lack money or social connections, and prison is the worst way of providing those. Yet that is where they go to solve their problems.
It’s a good piece. And a good reminder of why with a few exceptions, prisons are a poor way to deal with problems.
(Image from twenty20.com)
Comments Off on Thinking about prisons — and not just for Japanese elderly women — because of this piece.
Posted onJuly 2, 2016|Comments Off on On the rise and roots of our current minimalism
Minimalism is a foreign concept to some Westerners, especially as it is practiced in parts of Japan. Indeed, this line:
Fumio Sasaki’s one-room Tokyo apartment is so stark friends liken it to an interrogation room. He owns three shirts, four pairs of trousers, four pairs of socks and a meagre scattering of various other items.
You see “interrogation room” and “meagre”, which gives you some insight into how this writer sees it. The article which this comes from (and which is linked to below) does get more insightful and you gain a better insight into Japanese minimalism, from its cultural roots to its practicality (such as the real problem of how earthquakes make home objects dangerous).
Minimalism seems to be growing as a cultural concept throughout the world, and it’s good to know more about it, how the Japanese see it, and to think about how it should differ in Western cultures. To do that, see: