'Silence': A test of faith — and of patience | The Japan Times
Japanese silence will be examined, as well as the role of silence in intercultural . emotional distance between husband and wife, this relationship is instead. or oriented toward, relationships than Japanese, be- cause Americans are focused .. themselves via silence, indifference, or shunning. (Azuma, ; Clancy. I'm convinced that, at bottom, the Japanese view of nature is the ultimate . from the way the Japanese view their relationship with nature.
Usually, Japanese start speaking once they feel the other person has finished talking, except for, when they are drunk: Japanese can get noisy and feel free to interrupt other people when they get drunk. Anyways, foreigners can keep talking and get into a conversation just like that.
So, if you find someone who you are interested in, make some poses or ask questions and let the that person speak to you. I know that sounds crazy and I agree, but this is how Japanese are nowadays.
But, I want you to pay a little of attention to your chest hair for majority of Japanese girls. Or Japanese girls will feel, sorry to say this but, gross or shocked when they see it. We prefer you using deodorant if you sweat a lot. They kind of have personal territory around them. People feel uncomfortable when someone is in this area.
However, if you are in a relationship with a Japanese man, I highly recommend that you understand the Japanese cultural nuances in order to avoid conflicts or resentment in the relationship. Why have you become quiet like that? Japanese people are known for their reticence when it comes to social interactions and conversations.
This is because silence is considered to be a virtue in Japanese society and hence many Japanese people feel that not everything has to be verbalized or spoken out, even when in relationships with their significant other.
Therefore, even in your presence, your Japanese boyfriend will probably need silence and his personal space to sort out his thoughts and reflect on what both of you have just talked about. Japanese guys are not known for being the most verbal and expressive of creatures. What may seem like an innocent question asking your boyfriend why he has become so quiet may be regarded as confrontational and hence unpleasant to deal with.
What or who is more important? Your job or me? It only goes halfway, and the diner has to fill in the missing half, exploring nuances hidden deep within. You see the same aesthetic in the Noh theater. The viewer enjoys what is not actually there, extracting from the stillness and words unspoken something that is only suggested by the actors' movements. I asked a calligrapher at an exhibition what makes for good writing.
She told me, "You can tell a good piece of calligraphy by looking at the blank space on the paper. You weave your poem not only with words but also with the silence between them.
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And the richness of the silence is more important than the fertility of the words. From the silence, the reader or listener senses the poem's mood and ambience, its subtle emotional resonance.
As the reader, you recreate the poet's emotional state from your own experience and relive it. By the same token, the poet entrusts his or her feelings to the audience instead of trying to explain those feelings or impose them on the listener.
Just as each haiku is limited by the wealth of experience of the poet, its effect on the reader is likewise limited by the experience of the audience. Paul Claudel wrote, "In Japan, on any page of writing or drawing, the most important part is always entrusted to the blank space. But for the Japanese artist, simplicity—or form—is the means of penetrating the inner truth of things. By constant discipline and adherence to form, one eventually internalizes the technique and arrives at the true essence of things.
Maybe some of you have had that impression in your dealings with Japanese people. Let's say someone invites me to a picnic tomorrow. Even if I'm tired and don't really feel like going out, I may well decide that it's better to push myself a little and go, than to disrupt other people's plans.
Besides, once I'm there, I might find I'm not so tired after all, and perhaps the wonderful scenery or a chance encounter will rejuvenate me. This isn't just a passive ambiguity.
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It's based on the knowledge that sometimes, even if you have an issue with something, the issue may resolve itself if you just give it a chance, instead of immediately taking a stand. We human beings are not in complete control. There are unseen forces at work in the world. Sometimes, by trusting to powers beyond ourselves, we arrive at a better resolution than we would by rushing to judgment. The tendency to accept instead of deny, to accommodate instead of resist, is basic to the Japanese mentality.
Instead of asserting our own individual preference, we tend to go with the flow of that particular time and place and the people around us.
I would call it an active ambiguity. The story goes that when the garden was finished, the designer showed it to the priest and asked him what he thought. The priest was delighted. For him, the harmony of the whole was paramount. In Japanese, we have something called the adversative passive.
No man is an island. We get by each day with the aid of invisible forces all around us, forces transcending the individual. In traditional Japanese culture, the basic source of transcendent power is the deities, or kami, that reside in nature.
A sense of gratitude toward the kami, the Buddha, our ancestors, the people around us, is what underlies such Japanese expressions as mottainai, which conveys our aversion to waste, or okagesama de, expressing gratitude to others for our good fortune, not to mention the custom of saying itadakimasu, "I gratefully receive," before eating. These expressions arise from a deep-seated, subconscious understanding that we share the world with other living beings and are part of a great circle of life.
At some level, we're always conscious of all the other beings and forces that make up the whole. So, even while we strive to do our best from day to day, we also trust to unseen powers. The Japanese arts are not meant to be appreciated logically or analytically. Logic is almost built into European culture through language. French, like most European languages, has a clear, logical structure in which the subject and the object are clearly stated.
In Japanese, the subject and object are often left out. Living in Paris, I became very aware of the importance the French attach to logic, even in everyday conversation.
I got the feeling the French looked on the ability to analyze and explain things logically as an important sign of education and maturity.
People who can't explain themselves logically are apt to be treated with disdain. The French look for meaning in everything.
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Haiku doesn't attempt to express the poet's thoughts or feelings logically. It doesn't address cause-and-effect relationships, rationales, or processes. In haiku, language isn't a tool for logical explanation or analysis.