Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Neighborhood Narratives Tokyo

Neighborhood Narratives Tokyo

“As the single finger bends the branch, so the social hand inclines the individual.”
Donald Richie

We have been discussing the writings of Donald Richie, a highly respected film critic, and keen observer on Japan. His book, Lateral Views, is comprised of short chapters that examine a variety of social and cultural coding. We are presently discussing the following chapters:

Japan: A Description
Japanese Shapes
Walking in Tokyo
Signs and Symbols

The first reading examines how the Japanese transpose nature from a raw source to a modified acceptable version. Where in the west, advertisers exploit the “rawness” of nature to sell products, the Japanese alter this rawness to create a kind of product: nature itself. This reforming of nature most likely plays an important part in how space is restricted and restructured to accommodate this cultural necessity.


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