autumn   2124

« earlier    

Pico Iyer Reflects on a Quarter-Century of Life in Japan - The New York Times
"In Japan, he notes, people accommodate themselves to small spaces, and so he and Hiroko have for a quarter-century. The transposition from a bustling office tower in Manhattan to a suburb of “the sleepy old city” of Nara has felt to him “as if I’ve walked out of a cluttered warehouse into a simple bare room with a scroll on the wall, everything so singular that emotion is brought to a pitch.” All this is part of what Iyer sees as an aesthetic of enhancement through subtraction, “the Japanese art of taking more and more away to charge the few things that remain.”

The book attempts a similar paring down, composed as it is of brief ruminations, notations, vignettes, descriptions. What holds everything together, besides Iyer’s elegantly smooth prose style and gift for detailed observation, is a circling around the theme of autumn in Japan and this autumnal period in his life. Self-described as having a restless “‘birdlike’ traveler’s temperament,” he spends half the year tending to his aging mother in California or reporting on subjects like “the warlords of Mogadishu,” but tries to get back to Japan each fall. This season teaches him the lesson of impermanence, the inevitability of decay, and “how to hold on to the things we love even though we know that we and they are dying.” Not much plot to speak of here: We watch Iyer going through his daily rounds, dropping in on his Ping-Pong club, visiting his mother-in-law in her nursing home, recalling scenes from the past. His wife, questioning him apprehensively, says, “Like Ozu movie? … Your book, nothing happening?” “Not exactly nothing,” he replies. “It’s in the spaces where nothing is happening that one has to make a life.” And indeed, he references Ozu films numerous times, particularly the way that cinematic master will cycle through the seasons as a metaphor for the changelessness of the nonhuman world within stories of human change and suffering. Of course, it’s harder to pull off on the page, without sublime actors like Chishu Ryu and Setsuko Hara to embody the effect.

Iyer’s wife makes for a marvelous presence, zooming away on her motorbike to her job in a boutique, cleaning the house briskly like a tornado or dashing off to honor dead ancestors at shrines and grave sites. Hiroko is the book’s motor, and Iyer is in awe of her energy, even as he says, a bit condescendingly: “It’s one of the qualities I most admire in her: She doesn’t stop to think” and “I have a wife who reminds me with every gesture that the only impulses to trust are the ones that arise without thought.” Hiroko strikes me as more quick-witted than thoughtless, but perhaps Iyer is aspiring, on her behalf, to the Buddhist ideal of the blank mind.

His own self-portrait is dimmer. He comes across as a modest, kind, gentle man, somewhat colorless, as though trying to practice spiritual erasure of the ego. He had moved to Japan “to learn how best to dissolve a sense of self within something larger and less temporary” — an admirable pursuit, though problematic for autobiographical writers. He admits he finds “belief” in general difficult, and says he doesn’t consider himself a Buddhist, but treats with fascinated respect his wife’s conviction that spirits and ghosts exist. He’s a big proponent of his own ignorance, saying he doesn’t choose to learn more than a smattering of Japanese because he needs mystery and “a sense of open space in life, something to offset the sense of the familiar.”

In a way, his attraction to Japan can be seen as an attempt to hold onto its exotic, eternal appeal — to his partly idealized picture of what the East has to offer a Western man in the way of healing. “Autumn Light” isn’t the book to turn to for an account of the political, social and economic problems of today’s Japan. Now in his 60s, Iyer feels free to communicate his tentative revelations about life. There’s much wisdom in what he says, though some of it comes close to platitude. But then, perhaps it’s the nature of hard-earned wisdom to sound like something we’ve heard many times before."
2019  picoiyer  japan  autumn  seasons  fall  impermanence  small  japanese  language  familiarity  ozu  buddhism  spirits  ignorance  familiar  subtraction 
8 weeks ago by robertogreco
Favorite: So move, make something happen., by ewitsoe
IFTTT  Flickr  street  jezyce  poznan  poland  erikwitsoe  canon  urban  reflect  bike  ride  polska  autumn  wet  rain  fall  water  puddle  architecture  dailylife  everyday 
11 weeks ago by pauljacobson
Why are trees losing their leaves so early this year? | Science | The Guardian
Of course, this normally happens in late September. The recent abnormal leaf fall has its roots in last year's winter, which was wetter than normal. "As a result, trees' root and shrub systems were impaired by drowning," says Guy Baker, an adviser at the Royal Horticultural Institute. They have been under more stress due to the recent dry summer.
ruska  trees  climate_effects  autumn 
february 2019 by pelttari
Drought and Climate Change Could Throw Fall Colors Off Schedule - Scientific American
The riot of colors that erupts on trees each fall drives billions of dollars in tourism and remains a key way for people to connect with nature. But that simple transition from summer’s lush greens to fall’s brilliant reds, oranges and yellows can be impacted in surprisingly complex ways by weather and climate, and those effects may be even more pronounced in the decades to come.
climate  climate_effects  autumn  ruska 
february 2019 by pelttari
Favorite: The Variety of Gray, by Netsrak
IFTTT  Flickr  baum  bäume  eifel  europa  europe  herbst  landschaft  natur  nebel  wald  autumn  fall  fog  landscape  mist  nature  woods  forest 
january 2019 by pauljacobson

« earlier    

related tags

(  *to_do  -  2010s  2019  500+  a  accordion  adelaide  afon  akunews  all  alone  alpen  alps  animals  antiquue  architecture  around  atmsophereic  australia  autumnal  banana  baum  bavaria  bayern  bbc  beckers  bike  birdlife  birds  book  books_to_read  bowl  bread  breakfast  bright  buddhism  burst  bäume  canon  castanyada  centralpark  charlottemendelsohn  chestnut  chickpea  city  climate  climate_effects  clocks  color  colored  colors  colour)  colours  cooking  cream  cycling  cymru  dailylife  decay  dengler  desserts  display  distance  distant  drinks  eibsee  eifel  elan  engaging  england  erikwitsoe  erikwitsoeaututmn  erikwitsoecom  europa  europe  event  events  everyday  ewitsoe  explore  fall  fallcolors  fallscape  familiar  familiarity  finland  flickr  fog  foggy  foliage  food  forest  forst  free  fuji_xseries  fujifeed  fujifilm  fujifilmxe2  fujix100f  fujixt2  gardening  gifts  gin  golden  goldenhour  goulburnnsw  graphics  grass  halloween  handlettering  haze  herbst  hiking  hill  hoa  hydref  icons  idahome  ifttt  igerssaintjohn  ignorance  impermanence  instagram  internationals  island  japan  japanese  jesen  jezyce  kabarett  kitchen  lake  landscape  landschaft  language  leaf  leaves  liked  live  lovelifeuptown  made_it  man  matthias  menjar  menu  mgla  mist  misty  moody  morning  mountains  myfujifilm  nagoya  natur  nature  nbfall  nebel  needsediting  new  newsouthwales  newyorker  nikon  nl  noisenb  nsw  nyc  oats  october  of  old  ozu  panellet  panellets  park  party  path  pear  pexels  photography  photos  picoiyer  pieces  playtogether  poland  polenta  polska  postres  powis  powys  poznan  preserves  printable  publicdomain  puddle  pumpkin  pumpkinpatch  pureslovakia  rain  rainydays  raselhanout  reading  recipe2save  recipes  recycling  reflect  remodeling  rhayader  rheinland  rhineland  ride  river  rockwoodpark  rugby  ruska  saintjohn  salads  sandwiches  scotland's  scotland  seasons  serious_eats  sheetmusic  show  silvervalley  sketching  small  smoothie  smoothies  snacks  snapshopped  spirits  spring  stock  street  streetstyle  subtraction  sun  sunrays  sunshine  sussex  sweetpotato  tallinn  tardor  tests  the  thick  thisisslovakia  time  tiny  to  to_visit  topfood  tour  trash  travel  tree  trees  treinleven  uk  upperleftusa  uptownsj  urban  urbanlands  urbanlandscapes  valley  vegan  vegetables  video  videos  view  vlog  wald  wales  walking  wander  wandering  warsaw  warszawa  waste  watches  water  weald  wet  winding  window  winter  wncwx  woman  woods  x100f  ya  youtube  youtube_video  zssk  zsskofficial  |  · 

Copy this bookmark: