A sense of ceremony

Today I flew from Hong Kong to Tokyo. The contrast between the two cultures is startling. In some ways the two places seem to be diametric opposites. I have not yet fully processed the difference, but I have a theory.

The essential energy of Hong Kong seems to come from an inner noisiness, a hustle and bustle, a jostling for space. In Japan there seems to be something entirely different at work — an underlying aesthetic that permeates all things. It is in the architecture, the furniture, the shop displays, the way people carry themselves.

This aesthetic appears to come from a place of calm, of symmetry. The quiet space within and around everything really matters here, so much so that people just take this space for granted — and perhaps they do not even notice it, so much does it suffuse everything.

After the churning energy of Hong Kong — which I liked very much, by the way — I am now looking forward to spending some time in a culture where everything is done with a sense of ceremony.

2 thoughts on “A sense of ceremony”

  1. You likened Hong Kong to New York City. Is there any place in the U.S. that you know that has the feeling of Tokyo?

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