from japan with love

It is of no particular note that thirty years after James Bond’s “From Russia with Love” premiered in theaters that I found myself in Japan, but there is nonetheless an analog to be found between Kronsteen’s vain attempt to steal a cryptograph, and my own attempts to break the code that is Japan.

I first lived in Japan right out of high school some twenty years ago. Growing up, I was greatly influenced by my own father’s appreciation he had developed for Japan having lived there as a serviceman and subsequently as an engineer equally influenced by such concepts as total quality systems that had found fertile root in the post-war factories of Japan. Like many kids without any real sense of the world, my appreciation of Japan only broke the surface of historical curiosities; my visions of Japan not much more than dreams of becoming of a samurai or ninja “bad ass”, as it were. When I landed there back in the late summer of 1992, I barely spoke more than a single sentence: “I am Ward.” And I would leave brimming to overflow with an entirely new language and culture. But that is for another story.

Amongst the fumes of buses and city noise of Kanazawa, I found myself a world filled with the seemingly incomprehensible. Lacking any real primer, I immersed myself into Japanese culture much like a child, learning more from inductive means listening by ear and then rote repetition than the more traditional deductive texts.

Tree of Kenrokuen (c. 1993, pencil)
Statue of Musashi (c. 1993, pencil)

Author: Ward

I’m the creator and operator of this little corner of the internets, writing on all things related to art and more specifically my experiences trying to figure this whole thing out. I guess I’m trying to figure out life, too, but mostly I just post about art here.

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