March 20th, 2015


A Möbius Striptease

Those who share my taste for Japanese occidentalism, please enjoy these nineteenth-century views of London.

It's no secret that part of my fascination with Japan lies in my instinctive (but poorly evidenced) belief that it and Britain were separated at birth and brought up on separate continents, as discussed here, here, here, here, here, and here, for example. But I do worry a bit about my interest in occidentalism, and whether it may be just orientalism in a half-lotus. Am I actually interested in Japan for its own sake (or indeed sake), or just as it offers a perspective on my own country?

And yet, looking at oneself from the outside is also estrangement, which is meant to be very good for us, n'est-ce pas, demonstrating how our customs and beliefs are really contingent rather than inevitable?

And yet, if Craig Raine had believed in Martians, his poetry would certainly have been appropriative.

And yet, I'm interested in Japan for its own sake too, or so I let myself believe...