Japanese culture is so far ahead that glitter and shine is no longer glittery and shiny.

We find it hard to be really at home with things that shine and glitter. The Westerner uses silver and steel and nickel tableware, and polishes it to a fine brilliance, but we object to the practice… We begin to enjoy it only when the luster has worn off, when it has begun to take on a dark, smoky patina. Almost every householder has had to scold an insensitive maid who has polished away the tarnish so patiently waited for.

They understand the peril of sterility (that one you feel when you’re in Singapore but can’t describe), that too much of a good thing will ruin it. To preserve something good, it must needs to be wilfully tainted.

We find beauty not in the thing itself but in the patterns of shadows, the light and the darkness, that one thing against another creates… Were it not for shadows, there would be no beauty.

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