"The ability to look at one thing and only one thing is something totally and wonderfully alien to me, but it's something I most admire and appreciate about the Japanese." Season 4, Tokyo, No Reservations
I started to watch No Reservations on Netflix, and found myself unable to stop. I was so inspired by the Tokyo Redux chapter, and therefore watched the episode that related to it. When I was young one of the Aupairs I had was from Japan. She appreciated all the little things, and always had a solution. If I couldn't use chopsticks she would roll up the paper packaging it had come in, tie a hairband x style so the chopsticks would function like a spring. Everything was quality instead of quantity to her, ranging from Origami to the relationships she formed with our family. Dinner was always the greatest. I can fondly look back on learning how to sip, slurp, and guide soba noodles into my mouth using the chopstick contraction. There's something about mealtime that can't be replaced. I have to admit that when I found out class was canceled for today, I went and ate a 30 minute meal instead of picking the 10 minute sandwich up from Stacks/Jazzman's/RichardsonRoom/DeluxEsto. It was so much more rewarding. Such was the way of life with Aya, and I assume, Japan.
In the episode, when cocktails are made, Tony comments on how the Japanese "wait for quality" such as garnish art like lemons cut to look like stars, one of the drinks having pepper sprinkled in for a surprising taste. It's the little details, the dab of this or that, both in food and culture. He marveled how a rock, or a rice ball, could have such a large impact. In such a bustling culture, and yet such an emphasis on details. Kendo is an excellent example of this as a detailed exploration of inner discipline is such a busy urban lifestyle. It is described as "mastery of the human character". An Australian training there explains how, "Whether you win or whether you loose is quite irrelevant. It's how you hold yourself and how you're able to deal with any situation you're confronted with. So even if you win, you never show it. And even if you loose, you never show it. Just looking at the beauty of the simple thing in front of you is something that's common in all japanese art, be it calligraphy or be it painting or be it Kendo."
This reminds me of our food versus art conversation. The same way Colin finds connection to Music through food, maybe someone would do the same with Kendo, or Dance, or Painting. Personally, if someone told me to paint a taste it would be a stupendous challenge. I'm not sure where I'd start, but I'm sure I'd find it challenging and entertaining. Capturing any other art form can be difficult. Drawing a dance will never fully emulate the original subject, nor does painting an apple describe an apple fully. But maybe with the right backgrounds, brushstrokes, you could indicate its juiciness, or its crispness. I suppose describing taste is like describing color to a blind person. You do what you can and let the imagination fill in the blanks.