Following the Brush: An American Encounter With Classical Japanese Culture

Following the Brush: An American Encounter With Classical Japanese Culture Following The Brush Is The Engaging Story Of An American S Experience As A Student And Observer Of Traditional Japanese Culture A Professor Of English, John Elder Lived For A Year With His Family In Kyoto As A Cultural Outsider And Devoted Amateur, Elder Brings A Distinctive And Sympathetic Eye To Arts And Institutions That Are, As The Author Points Out, Peopled By Japanese Who Are These Days Themselves Outsiders In An Important Sense, Lovers Of Pursuits Which Have Been Swirled Off Into Eddies By The Velocity Of The Economic Mainstream Elder S Portraits Are Detailed And Dramatic In The Title Essay, The Author Submits To The Traditional Japanese Approach To Learning Shodo, Or Calligraphy Week After Week He Patiently Returns To Class Until, At The End, We Can All See Quite Clearly The Outlines Of A World That Blossoms From The Ink We Are Given An Insider S Look At A Japanese Elementary School Attended By All Three Of The Author S Children That Is Both Startling And Admiring There Is A Beautifully Drawn Portrait Of A Noh Actor, One Of The Very Few Women To Establish Herself At The Highest Professional Level A Woman Pretending To Be A Man Pretending To Be A Woman Elder Describes The Sisterhood Of Kyoto Geishas As They Venture Out, Self Possessed And Superbly Eccentric, In Their Errands Along The Noisy Streets Of Japan And We Watch With Fascination As Elder Is Allowed In As The Only Foreigner To A Traditional Go Club, Where Men Only Pursue The Austere Beauty, And The Pure Competition, Of The World S Most Demanding Game Elder S Experience As A Leading Writer On Nature Leads Him Also To Reflect In Other Essays On Distinctly Japanese Attachments To Nature And Wildness

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  • Hardcover
  • 166 pages
  • Following the Brush: An American Encounter With Classical Japanese Culture
  • John Elder
  • English
  • 26 August 2018
  • 9780807059067

10 thoughts on “Following the Brush: An American Encounter With Classical Japanese Culture

  1. says:

    I generally like books where professor or other specialist goes to another culture and uses their special expertise to observe and have insights I don t really know what Prof Elder s expertise was, and this is a pretty thinly written long travel article The best is his experience of Go, and a different teaching method Otherwise, I m not really sure why he was there, although they had a good time Also, it was published 25 years ago, before Japan s economy went kaput Meh.

  2. says:

    I read this book after John Elder read excerpts on his learning the game Go in a program for the One World Library Project I appreciated his humble seeking of knowledge in both calligraphy and Go, and the commitment he showed to both He really captured what it is like for an outsider to try to learn the secrets of a foreign culture.

  3. says:

    Good insight into Japanese culture, and an amazing commitment to his pursuit of the classical arts.

  4. says:

    An ernest memoir of a professor s year abroad with family Presented in seven moderately interlinked essays, the language seems too academically wrought given the substance of the text, which encircles themes of cross cultural understanding, absorbing Japanese culture as a foreigner But it s a worthy publication worth reading.

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