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Row September 10, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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HokusaiHokusai’s Great Wave off the Coast of Kanagawa

Through the lens of imminent disaster Fuji–the looming ink stroke over innumerable sepia washes–is an insignificant bystander. The mountainous water towers over the iconic peak and the doomed boat. The sailor’s backs are turned to the crest of threatening fingers, their hands clasped in muscular prayer, heads bent to the task of rowing. They did not choose the sea. It is the world they were granted by their ancestors, rain on their fields and fish in the sea. The sky is a mirror of the sea, sometimes placid and other times fierce with wind, and where else shall they live except between the sky and the sea, those promising and pitiless fields of blue? They know the tales of typhoon and tsunami, whole villages swallowed by the sea, coasts given over to ghosts. Still, they rise up with the sun and go down to their own boats. When confronted with the Great Wave, there is nothing to do but row.

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The Great Wave March 14, 2011

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Federal Flood, je me souviens, Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Remember, Toulouse Street.
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I first posted this ekphrasis to Katsushika Hokusai’s painting in March 2008, thinking after I saw the image of Hurricane Katrina, but now it brings to mind of course the terrible tragedy in Japan. Strange, a song that has become permanently associated in my mind with Katrina as well NPR played it on the news not weeks after that horrific flood, Eliza Gilkyson’s Requiem, was written for the victims of the 2004 Christmas Tsunami. There are many hands but only one tapestry constantly woven until the last hand drops and then only the soul memories of this painting, this song will survive. Carry them with you always.

HokusaiHokusai’s The Great Wave off the Coast of Kanagawa

Through the lens of imminent disaster Fuji–the looming backdrop of a countless artists–is an insignificant bystander. The mountainous water towers over the iconic peak and the doomed boat. The sailor’s backs are turned to the crest of threatening fingers, their hands clasped in muscular prayer to the task of rowing. They did not choose the sea. It is the world they were granted by their ancestors, rain on their fields and fish in the sea. The sky is a mirror of the sea, sometimes placid and other times fierce with wind, and where else shall they live except between the sky and the sea, those promising and pitiless fields of blue? They know the tales of typhoon and tsunami, whole villages swallowed by the sea, coasts given over to ghosts. Still, they rise up with the sun and go down to their own boats. When confronted with the Great Wave, there is nothing to do but row.

after the flood May 20, 2008

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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Odd isn’t it (of course) that I should stumble on a book on the New Orleans library website titled after the quake by Japanese author Haruki Murakami, a set of stories inspired by and each at least informed by the 1995 Kobe earthquake, only to discover that is is not available and why. Not having read a word of it, I am sad it has not been replaced.

Main Library
Adult Fiction Collection
MURAKAMI
Katrina loss/damage
08/26/2005

I will have to find a copy.

While the 20th Century Japanese may ultimately be remembered for the war and the suffering they inflicted on others (this war, children), I think the Japanese know a thing or two about suffering and perseverance.

Yes, this is the third time I’ve posted this damn picture, but it haunts me.

The Great Wave March 4, 2008

Posted by The Typist in 504, 8-29, art, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, Hurricane Katrina, Japan, New Orleans, NOLA, postdiluvian, Remember, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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Hosuki The Wave
Hokusai’s The Great Wave of the Coast of Kanagawa

I found this postcard of a picture by Hokusai while in Washington, prompting the following caption-cum-fable for New Orleans..

The foamy fringe is a nest of threatening fingers reaching out to swamp the boats. The mountain is distant, cold capped, oblivious as the gods. The men’s backs are turned to the wave, and bent to the task of rowing. They did not choose the sea; the sea chose them. It is the world they were granted by their ancestors, a way as deeply ingrained in their souls as the salt in their sea-glare furrowed brows. The sea is a mirror of the sky, sometimes placid and other times fierce with wind, and where else shall men live except between the sky and the sea, those promising and pitiless fields of blue? They have heard the tale of tsunami, whole villages swallowed by the sea, places where people no longer beach their boats, coasts given over to ghosts. Still, they rise up with the sun and go down to their own nets. When confronted with the Great Wave, there is nothing to do but row.

This is a repost from long ago, back when visitors number in the high single figures, inspired by taking down the postcard off the wall where it had become buried by other things since summer of 2006. The mood seems apt to me at the moment and it is now my computer desktop and home and work. Tje idea it inspired in 2006 worth repeating for a larger audience now that this is my primary blog.

The great wave near the coast of Kanagawa August 12, 2006

Posted by The Typist in art, Japan, New Orleans.
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Hosuki The Wave

I found this postcard of a picture by Hokusai while in Washington. I put me in mind of my recent Wet Bank Guide post View from Under the Volcano. The foamy fringe is a nest of threatening fingers reaching out to swamp the boats. The moutain is distant, cold capped, oblivious as the gods. The men’s backs are turned to the wave, and bent to the task of rowing. They did not choose the sea; the sea chose them. It is the world they were granted by their ancestors, a way as deeply ingrained in their souls as the salt in their sea-glare furrowed brows. The sea is a mirror of the sky, sometimes placid and other times fierce with wind, and where else shall men live except beneath that broad and pitiless blue? They have heard the tale of tsunami, whole villages swallowed by the sea, places where people no longer beach their boats, coasts given over to ghosts. Still, they rise up with the sun and go down to their own nets. When confronted with the Great Wave, there is nothing to do but row.