Tag Archives: japan

Enlightenment and the search for meaning

The premise of the enlightenment would be that we have finally discovered how to live rationally. Authority is located in natural science, free enterprise and free markets, and empirical knowledge. Thus we can cast aside all the superstitions of the past and finally become what we were meant to be. Can we? Not everyone agrees. Marx, Freud […]

Brexit and globalisation

Two momentous events that took place last year were the election of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States, and the UK’s referendum on EU membership that led to the “Brexit” decision to leave the union. The two are often lumped together and seen as symptoms of a single larger force, which they probably […]

Japan’s imitation of the West

Memes often travel between neighboring countries and cultures like genetic material travels between bacteria in a colony. The imitation by one culture of another is rarely a pure copying though, but usually a kind of creative act: a selection, curation, editing, emphasising, painting over. But the distance between some cultures is greater than between others. Edward […]

Concert review: free jazz at Nanahari, Sep 19

The performers: Kevin McHugh from the US on piano, Hugues Vincent from France on cello, as well as an Australian clarinet player, and Japanese cello and flute players and a drummer. The venue: Nanahari – “seven needles”, 七針 – a small basement in Hachobori, east Tokyo, in an authentically Showa-era building. We are partly transported […]

A time to build barriers

Countries like Japan thrive on barriers to information flow. It is hard to overstate how deep and wide the rift caused by linguistic differences between Japanese and Indo-European languages is. The number of people who speak both very good English/German/French etc and very good Japanese is small and unlikely to grow dramatically. Yet there is […]