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The wind continues to ply the saplings double, I hope you are well - Off the Cliff

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Fri Sep 30th, 2016

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09:27 pm - The wind continues to ply the saplings double, I hope you are well
Twould blow like this through holt and hanger
When Uricon the city stood:
'Tis the old wind in the old anger,
But then it threshed another wood.

(Googling for the poem gets me lots of pictures of clothes hangers and the query 'do you mean bolt and hanger?' No, I'm really not looking for climbing equipment.)

It is fall, definitely. Red begins to spread into the trees. Grey and cream skies with occasional rifts of horizon yellow where the sun has set. L'heure bleue (or grise, if it's overcast) happens at 7 now and the evening becomes an indoors domestic thing- "Darkness outside; inside, the radio's prayer."

A passage from Pandemonium and Parade about the 'new' youkai which, Foster avers, the great youkai encyclopediast Sekien made up himself and inserted into his work. (On what evidence is unclear.)
The development of new yokai begins as a creative movement from the abstract to the concrete, where by a phenomenon (a sound, a feeling, a language game) is translated into a visible character...

Taken one step further, a yokai, such as Sekien's mokumokuren, translated an effective phenomenon, a vague feeling or experience, into a visual image. Imagine you are alone, taking shelter in a dilapidated, abandoned country house. You have a troubling, unshakable sense that somebody or something is watching you. The mokumokuren embodies this feeling. Sekien's illustration shows the corner of a dwelling overgrown with weeds. The paper of the shoji screen is ragged and torn, and a set of eyes peers from each section*.
Which I'm sure is what happened with a lot of youkai, but needn't have been a conscious creative effort on anyone's part.

Although as Foster points out, "the multiple eyes in the shoji are not particularly threatening; in fact, they look somewhat perplexed, almost comical." Doodle eyes, an historical specialty.

*Sekien's illustration can be seen in the wiki article on mokumokuren.

(7 comments | post comment)


[User Picture]
Date:October 1st, 2016 02:25 am (UTC)
Now I'm wondering about examples of the reverse, and translating a visible image or character into a feeling or phenomenon.
[User Picture]
Date:October 1st, 2016 03:07 pm (UTC)
There are youkai that translate physical happenings into supernatural characters. The ominous black, spreading, mold patterns on the ceiling of old Japanese houses translates into the ceiling-licking youkai. Also the one who pulls the pillow out from under you at night so you wake up, the one who leans down from trees to rap you on the head, the one who catches your sleeve on unseen protuberances... all versions of Pratchett's Anoia, basically. I myself fervently believe in the sleeve/ pocket catching youkai Because.

But that may not be what you're talking about? There's the unheimlich feel of half-torn down houses where you see the paint and the stairwells, but that hasn't been objectified the way 'the creepy old abandoned house' has been.
[User Picture]
Date:October 1st, 2016 11:17 pm (UTC)
I think it's the second I'm thinking of. A visual image being translated into a feeling. I'm just not sure how to describe it.
[User Picture]
Date:October 1st, 2016 02:56 am (UTC)
Today the Roman and his trouble
Are ashes under Uricon.

That's a favorite of mine. Not sure *why* — it's rather fatalistic.
[User Picture]
Date:October 1st, 2016 03:11 pm (UTC)
Comforting though, in its 'this too shall pass' fashion.
[User Picture]
Date:October 2nd, 2016 06:11 am (UTC)
This post is soothing in the way that somewhere it is not so blisteringly bright that my eyes water and somewhere it is not so hot that everything looks like it will turn to dust. Yes it is far, far too hot and the piffly three minute rain yesterday did nothing for the temperature nor the humidity.

Lovely post is lovely. *sigh*
[User Picture]
Date:October 2nd, 2016 02:09 pm (UTC)
I do hope it rains and cools soon for you. Also that your neighbours stop burning the landscape, if that's what they're doing.

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