Report of General Monthly Meeting by Zoom - Tuesday 13th July 2021
Japan, Bowing to Tradition - by Jim Holmes
Once again the meeting was held online using Zoom.
If you want to know who we are, we are gentlemen of Japan
On many a vase and jar, on many a screen and fan
Jim Holmes started his July talk with a tableau of images from old Japanese artwork. For many, those paintings of serious looking men, women and deities are the preconception of Japan held by the West but Jim wanted to show Winchester u3a members how that country really looks in the 21st century. As a professional photographer, he had a huge archive from which he selected a couple of dozen images to illustrate his talk.
Over 90% of the Japanese live in the big cities, which makes the countryside remarkably empty. And those who have stayed in rural areas are generally older citizens; the young having drifted to the bright city lights. This imbalance isn’t solely a Japanese problem but is perhaps more marked over there.
Traditional beliefs and practices, as illustrated by various sized red Shinto gates, are also being left behind in the rush to the metropolis. Indeed, with the all-pervasive spread of burgers and fried chicken, the use of chopsticks has declined so much that special after-school classes in holding chopsticks have had to be started.
Nevertheless, the overlap of tradition with modernism was neatly illustrated with a display of geta, the wooden sandals worn for centuries by all ranks of society. Now a sought after fashion accessory, geta are still designed and crafted to very high standards.
With his easy manner of speaking, Jim was an excellent speaker for our monthly afternoon talk.