Saturday, March 19, 2005

Takamatsu, Japan 2000

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In my previous cat blog post, I suggested that I would like to close my eyes and when I opened them, find myself plunked down in the middle of Japan. This photo was snapped in Takamatsu, Japan during my first trip to that country in 2000. I've since been there three more times. The rapid periodicity of my return visits should give you some idea of how taken I am by the place.

That's a reflection of me leaning over a pond from a small bridge. Right after I snapped the shutter, the inhabitants leaped so high out of the water---thinking I was about to feed them---and were so large that I jumped back and landed on my ass.

Takamatsu, on the island of Shikoku, prides itself on, among other things, being the home of the longest indoor arcade on the planet. And, indeed, stand at one end and the other appears to recede into infinity. Which reminds me of one of the many reasons I so fell in love with Japan, i.e., the country's penchant for outsize indoor spaces. The very new and modern train station at Hiroshima, for example, must hold some kind of record for interior spaciousness. A great architectural landmark in a nation full of them. (Don't get me started on Japanese architect Kenzo Tange.)

Another phenomenon that captured my attention in that country is the way that older women in their '70s and '80s dress. They do it with so much taste and stylishness that it strikes me as almost 180 degrees away from how their opposite numbers of d'un certain age in the U.S. outfit themselves (or rather don't bother to) when they go out in public. (No pedal pushers and curlers for Mama San.) Must have to do with the overall respect and veneration the Japanese possess for the more senior of its citizens, which in turn makes for a fairly advanced degree of personal pride and dignity in the older set.

In general, it must be the most gerontophilic nation on earth. Still hard for me to grasp as a rather long in the tooth but still seriously committed homo, that in Japan there is nothing all that unusual about a man half my age flirting with me. I am spoken for---by someone young enough to be my son in some overly fertile, newly emerging nation state---still, it is a nice feeling. I love Japan!

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