Food, Photography, Travel, Japan

Archive for August 23, 2011

渋い、そしてスティーブあんちゃん On Shibui, Steve, and Such Things.

Years ago it was that my dear brother Steve attempted to explain to me, a Japan neophyte, the concept of ‘shibui’. Imagine, he said, reaching for his antiquated dictionary of such Japanese things, ‘the just-so curve of a pagoda’. I said I thought I could imagine that. We both nodded sagely. But secretly I think neither of us were convinced. I suspect ‘shibui’ is something you can only understand with time. I was in Kurodani Temple today, photographing Buddhas. You can’t move for them there. It is near my house, but, by chance, I drove up in my car. And so, finally, I came to understand ‘shibui’. In just-so curves, a bit of chance, and a surfeit of Buddhas.