A way of certifying experience, taking photographs is also a way of refusing it – by limiting experience to a search for the photogenic, by converting experience into an image, a souvenir. Travel becomes a strategy for accumulating photographs.
Susan Sontag, On Photography
Pieces, bits and pieces
Add up through the years
I’ve collected a small fortune
Jimmy Buffett, Souvenirs
falling sick on a journey
my dream goes wandering
over a field of dried grass
We received some Japanese confectionery this week. A souvenir of a trip to Kyoto. Japanese people like to give souvenirs – omiyage – to friends and family after trips. Speciality food from the area they visited is very popular.
The confectionery was yatsuhashi. There are soft types and hard types. The soft type usually has a sweet filling like bean paste or sesame paste. The hard type is a little like Belgian speculoos cinnamon and ginger cookies.
The package said since 1689. Showing the date of a company or a shop has become fashionable. A coffee shop shows since 1977 on its sign. A microbrewery shows since 1996 on its beer labels. But hundreds of years old is very rare.
About the time that confectionery shop started business Louis XIV was the King of France. Isaac Newton was writing Philosophia Naturalis Mathematica. John Locke was writing An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. In Japan Matsuo Basho was writing the The Narrow Road to the Deep North.
Aikido, judo and karate are relatively modern. A few decades old. But the kenjutsu I do is more than 400 years old. You can feel the history. Generations and generations of budoka who went before you.
When I started aikido we often went out with our teacher to a Sapporo beer hall after practice. Sapporo Black Label beer shows since 1876. I think it’s the oldest beer in Japan. And it’s the best beer in the world.
music | background articles | food blogs
Jimmy Buffett, Souvenirs
photo: Gift shop, Higashiyama, Kyoto by Lazaro Lazo http://www.flickr.com/photos/iseelazers/4129119033/
Lazaro Lazo’s photostream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/iseelazers/with/4129119033/
This post is published simultaneously on the aikido site aikiweb
my columns on aikiweb http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=75&filter=Niall%20Matthews
I have an essay in a charity e-book put together by some writers and photographers to raise money for victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Tohoku on 11 March 2011. It costs $9.99.
© niall matthews 2012