On Seidensticker’s Low City, High City

Dr. Braiterman asked us to think about how to incorporate Low City, High City into our research projects. I went to the alley on Sunday, but little happens there on Sundays. I noticed a few details that I hadn’t before, took a few pictures and headed off to my favorite cafe. At that point, I had only read about half the book, and I was thinking about the way Seidensticker talks about seasonal plants having an effect on the culture of the city. However, I doubt that anyone would journey to this alley to see the plants.

The cafe owner introduced me to a patron of his who is a bookstore owner, and we had a long conversation about American movies, difficult for me since I know next to nothing about that most important of American cultural exports. He mentioned that while he had sold Economics books and law books, lately he had switched to just selling novels. Another causal interview had led me to think about importance of the configuration of Jimbocho.

The Seidensticker book mentions that the intellectual center in Kanda/Jimbocho was tied to Japan’s effort to prove its proficiency in Western law and thus escape extrateratoriality. I do not want to peg too much on one casual interview, but perhaps the character of the association between Jimbocho and “knowledge” or “learning” is changing.

I like how Seidensticker talks about Edo/Tokyo in terms of its popular entertainment. The books sold in the bookstore in this project certainly fall under the heading of entertainment. I suppose the question is if this form is on its way out or not.

Regarding this space, the other thing I have been thinking about lately is how smokers use it. There is something so lonely about taking a smoking break next to the vending machines. Smoking under a nice tree or something would be a much more relaxing way to spend a break, not that I would know anything about that. Still, it seems that someone has implemented their own smoking “design solutions:” there is a nice little ash tray/can tucked away next to a vending machine. 


~ by happyappygirl on June 21, 2011.

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