Why Japan?

People often ask me: Why Japan? What’s so special about Japan that I return again and again?

Miyajima Torii

Miyajima Torii

The best answer I have for that is one given by a Japanese woman born in Saudi Arabia whom I met while visiting Kanazawa.  Though she is well traveled and a “global” woman in every sense, her magnetic connection is Spain. When I asked why Spain, she answered: How do you explain falling in love?

Exactly. The fact is you can’t. Words don’t touch the ineffable rapture and euphoria. The 12th century waka poet and Buddhist priest more commonly known as Saigyo wrote: I don’t know what resides here, but tears fall in appreciation for it. なにごとのおはしますかは知らねども かたじけなさに涙こぼるる Click here to read more of what captivates me.

To celebrate five years of blogging, this post links to previous content from The Way of Words.Your comments are always appreciated.

This entry was posted in Japan, Travel & Culture, This & That and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Why Japan?

  1. saigyo says:

    The Japanese text in your post is for a different Saigyo poem, one that talks about wishing to die in the spring, below the flowering trees when the moon is full. (You can find a translation in Makoto Ueda’s Far Beyond the Field). The Saigyo poem is Nanigoto no owashimasu kawa shiranedomo katajikenasa ni namida koboruru. Steven Carter translates the actual Saigyo poem as: Just what it is / that resides here / I do not know— / but still my eyes overflow / with tears of gratitude (see his Haiku before haiku).

    • Lynda Philippsen says:

      Many thanks to this anonymous person who commented regarding this error. It took some time for me to post a reply as I needed to verify the correction first. Thanks to confirmation from a dear friend and translator, the text has now been corrected.

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