the six perfumes, the eighty-two smells, the 120,000 stinks

April 15, 2008
So I'm thinking more and more about adding a new "books + flicks" sidebar. I mean, should it include movies and videos, or would it be better to have a focus just on books? Call it something like "good reads" or what not. There are a lot of decision to be made, I'm hoping having a certain topic will let it succeed in a way the "sidebar of the people" hasn't.

Description of the Moment
But [in Tokyo] we are confronted with a world synthesis. Here there meet and mingle the twenty-six civilizations of Toynbee, the eighteen religions of Turchi, the five kalpas (Buddhist comic eras), von Eickstedt's thirty-eight races and sub-races of mankind, the fifty-six ways of making love of the Kama-sutra, the seventy styles of cooking, the six perfumes, the eighty-two smells, the 120,000 stinks, the twelve dozen kinds of dirt, the seven wonders, the thousand lights, the 2,600 tongues, the thirty-four vices (with the exception of opium smoking), all the fantasies, and the two great principles of yin and yang which according to Chinese magical ideas, generate the infinite variety of the world. Not for nothing has another American called it a 'wonderful, hybrid, dissolute, noisy, quiet, brooding, garish, simpering, silly, contemplative, cultured, absurd city'.

--Fosco Maraini, "Meeting with Japan" (quoting O.D. Russel's "Here's Tokyo"). The book, a thoughtful gift from EvilB and Leslee, is a view of Japan from the very end of the 1950s, and its intriguing to compare its experience of Japan to my own, especially since the American lens has changed greatly in that half-century.

Best footnote from the book so far: "Earthquakes are one of the four Japanese terrors; the others are fire, thunder, and father."


Animation of the Moment
--A series of images from a 5,200 year old Iranian goblet might be said to constitute the oldest animation!