Friday, September 18, 2015

I was once a Japanese, in my previous life.

My preceding entry, "Letter of Proposal" to the Japan Foundation has been emailed and so lets see if it gets any feedback from them. I had wanted to do this for quite while now but has been putting it off on the back burner for one reason or another, now it is almost over ten years since I was in Japan and the time of my being around much too long is getting slimmer by the day and so why not have a retrospective show if possible in memory of my late wife who loved Japan more so than she did America. Nancy Buss Bahari was a world traveler and an educator with a Master's Degree in Linguistics. She was an ESL teacher and later became certified as a Japanese language teacher; she spoke, read and wrote in Japanese.
She had spent a total of over ten years of her life living in Japan and assimilated the Japanese way of life pretty much so when we met in San Francisco.
My wife and children with two of her students in Sendai.

As for myself, I had always believed that in one of my past lives I was a Samurai! Perhaps it is because I am an admirer of the Japanese male culture with their strict code of ethics and discipline of character and dedication to work as a 'Way of Life'. Even at my early age growing up on the East Coast of the Malay Peninsular my brothers and I never missed a Japanese Samurai action movie at the theaters. One of my favorites was 'Zatoichi', 'The Blind Swordsman', which came in a series. This was followed by movies based upon the exploits of the most famous Japanese swordsman in history, by the name of  Miyamoto, Musashi. Later still came movies made by Akira Kurosawa, the ost well known Japanese Movie director with his works such as 'Yojimbo' and the ' Seven Samurais'. "The Last Samurai" with Tom Cruise is still my all time favorite.
 Later in my life i began reading books by Japanese authors and among them one being my favorite was 'The Tale of Genji' as written by Lady Murasaki Shikibu. I was introduced to Haruki Murakami later in my life while living in San Francisco by my Argentinian friend, Memo Folco and became a fan of Murakami's works. Ironically i discovered that the author and I were born on the same date the 12th. in 1949, except for the difference of the month, where he was born in January and I was born in August.

  1. Murasaki Shikibu was a Japanese novelist, poet and lady-in-waiting at the Imperial court during the Heian period. She is best known as the author of The Tale of Genji, written in Japanese between about 1000 and 1012. Wikipedia
    1. Writer
    2. Haruki Murakami is a contemporary Japanese writer. His books and stories have been bestsellers in Japan as well as internationally, with his work being translated into 50 languages and selling millions of copies outside his native country. Wikipedia
    3. BornJanuary 12, 1949 (age 66), Fushimi-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
    4. Full nameHaruki Murakami

As an artist I stumbled upon one one of my two favorite Masters Katsushika, Hokusai. Hokusai'd manga or comics I discovered at the library at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay when I was a student librarian there. I borrowed the two volumes for good as I was so obsessed by them; Hokusai reminded me of my late grandfather who was also and artist and had kept similar journals/sketchbooks full of weird drawings. I must admit that the life and works of Katsushika Hokusai has a tremendous affect on my creative impulses.

Spiritually I might add I became a member of the Soto Zen School of Buddhism and spent two years of my life doing the Practice Periods at the Zen Buddhist monastery in California where the teachings of the late Sunryu Suzuki was prevalent. I read and studied a great deal on Zen Buddhism and was fammiliar with the works of D.T.Suzuki and Alan Watts and one of my Zen teacher was the late Daini Katagiri Roshi, who was at one time the Abbot and founder of the Minnesota Zen Center.  Later while living in Japan, visiting Japanese temple sites was top of my priorities. 
Yes I have an inner connection with the Japanese people and culture and perhaps I was once a Japanese in my previous life.

Among my Japanese friends in Sendai.

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