和辻哲郎(1889-1960)是日本近现代历史上著名的思想家、文化哲学家和伦理学家.<风土> 是他的代表作之一,其中的核心观点是"风土文化论".本文主要从主客观两个角度分析了" ...
Misty air that blurs the senses clearing at last
2008/9/10Philosopher Tetsuro Watsuji (1889-1960), to whom I recently referred in this column, once described "humidity" as an important characteristic of Japan's climate. Misty mornings, foggy evenings and trailing haze--all the result of moisture density changes in the air--are strongly tied to Japanese emotions, he thought.
Take, for instance, a river boat emerging from the mist, or a pale moon shining dimly through a veil of thin clouds. Mistiness blurring the outline of objects has long struck the heartstrings of the Japanese with the changing seasons.
Still, there is nothing romantic about humidity when it is hot. These past few days, a humid air mass passed over the archipelago. In particular, areas from the Kanto region and westward were sweltering. Moist may sound nice, but sweaty is unpleasant.
Since Monday, however, the atmospheric situation has changed. A high pressure system from the Asian continent has brought dry air. While there are still places where the daytime highs are exceeding 30 degrees, it is cool in the shade. Even the sky looks clearer now.
"The sky where summer and autumn pass each other/ A cool breeze may be blowing on one side" is a waka poem in the anthology Kokin Wakashu, which dates back to the early 10th century.
The term yukiai no sora describes the sky where two seasons cross. People in ancient times who had no choice but to endure the heat alone must have looked forward to that day when fall chases summer away.
The Buddhist monk Yoshida Kenko, who wrote his classic "Tsurezuregusa" (Essays in Idleness) in the early 14th century, saw the flow of all creation in the changing seasons.
"It does not turn to summer after spring has closed, nor does the fall come when the summer ends. The spring ahead of time puts on a summer air, already in the summer the fall is abroad." (This translation is by George B. Sansom.)
Likewise, Kenko presented the philosophical view that death is already lurking in life.
Turning my eyes to the political world, I see the Liberal Democratic Party and Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) crossing each other. Will summer survive or will it be beaten by the fall? The parties are facing a decisive battle.
As for the sumo world, it is not a pleasant autumn breeze that is blowing--it's a raging storm. The situation is serious. This time, the usual trick of veiling responsibility in a blurry mist didn't work.
--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 9(IHT/Asahi: September 10,2008)