Friday, December 9, 2011

The Floating World...

Recent letter to a good friend:

Hi (good friend),

Thanks for your sensitive reply. Though I'm currently a little busy with school, I'm also in transition and basically waiting around for the next distraction, as well :) We're not that different :)

Think of it like this: we're both so lucky to live in such a nice country where our biggest concern is being entertained enough ;P Most people in the world are only able to focus on their day-to-day survival. I often contemplate giving up this self-indulgent First World and joining the struggles of the Third World, which seem so much more real than this fantasy I can't escape.

Have you heard the term "Floating World" before? It's borrowed from classical Japanese culture; it was once used to refer to hanging out with geisha, but it also means being in limbo.



Her kimono obi is tied in the front, indicating that she is not a geisha, but a prostitute.

From Wikipedia:

Ukiyo (Japanese: 浮世 "Floating World") described the urban lifestyle, especially the pleasure-seeking aspects, of Edo-period Japan (1600–1867). The "Floating World" culture developed in Yoshiwara, the licensed red-light district of Edo (modern Tokyo), which was the site of many brothels, chashitsu tea houses, and kabuki theaters frequented by Japan's growing middle class.

The ukiyo culture also arose in other cities such as Osaka and Kyoto. The famous Japanese woodblock prints known as ukiyo-e, or "pictures of the Floating World", had their origins in these districts and often depicted scenes of the Floating World itself such as geisha, kabuki actors, sumo wrestlers, samurai, chōnin and prostitutes.

The term is also an ironic allusion to the homophone "Sorrowful World" (憂き世), the earthly plane of death and rebirth from which Buddhists sought release.


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