Japan: Land of Past, Present, Future
FEBRUARY 1/ 2022
A bullet train blurs the pastoral landscape. Hot-white bright splotch of chrome: the blazing luminescence of its exterior glides across a hay-colored field, then obscures itself in the shadow of an antique pine forest.
Bamboo and Neon; Modern yet Conventional; Understated, but Perfected: This is Japan.
Like scintillating rockets fired across time, bullet trains, or shinkansen, as the Japanese call them, are a fitting paradox for a country which seems to live simultaneously amid the border of its traditional past, and an uncertain promise waiting to be fulfilled in a sci-fi future. Through its innumerable, fastidious incarnations, Japan, and the gracious faces that populate it, found a way of celebrating the art of order, structure, and wonder. Here, a reverence for harmony pervades. Everything is balanced, nuanced, and natural. Despite the space-age sleeping capsules, obsession with robotics, and tiered skylines of glass and metal, the Japanese have managed to retain, at least, key facets of their cultural heritage. Though they have not neglected to adapt rarefied versions of technology as the years have glittered on, something ancient still fills the air. An invisible specter is always present---some ancestral force that either guides, or haunts the future. In Japan, a feeling as if one has wandered onto the set of a great, timeless play where all the actors have mastered their character and performance. The past, present, and future are all buried within this perceived, unified juncture of time-space...