and rain in Japan
Good morning/afternoon/evening depending on where you are and what time it is when you read these lines. I hope this newsletter finds you well.
Before we go any further, I want to send a very big “Thank you !” to Patrice M. who has become the first paid subscriber of the newsletter. It’s much appreciated and the money will be used wisely.
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Well, it’s self-explanatory. The planet is burning and the inaction of all of our respective governments is depressing.
Remember people, it’s not turning the lights off that will save the planet (it’ll lower your bills, though), it’s putting pressure on our governments, which means first and foremost with voting, and yet, I look left and right, and every country that is leading in CO2 emissions keeps on putting in power people who just don’t care.
In Europe, I feel that people roughly understand the situation we’re in, and yet, they keep on voting for the people who won’t do a thing about it (worse, they pretend to do things, but they’re only greenwashing the act of governing ). In North America, I’m not even sure people care at all. In Japan, I’m not even sure most people know there is a thing called “global warming.” Last June, we had a heatwave and the highest June temperatures ever in Japan, but the media barely mentioned the climate crisis. These days, it feels like all the rain of Asia is falling on some parts of Japan, and I’m not even sure many people and media are understanding why this is happening.
But enough about this. Even though, everything else seems futile compared to this, I don’t want to depress you more than we already are.
Follow climate scientists on social media (I can advise you some if needed) they’ll be better at talking about the situation than me.
My offline news is scarce. It is the end of the semester (two more weeks), and the heat, Covid, and everything else is wiping out everyone’s motivation; teachers and students alike. Never before in my adult life, have I waited for summer vacation so much more than right now.
And yet, I’m not really sure what I’ll be doing during Summer. No traveling, that’s for sure.
The summer session of the Setouchi Triennale will be happening. Of course, I’ll be going to some islands, but… With the seventh wave of Covid (we reached our highest number of infections for one day last week here in Kagawa - and yes, we still care about it in Japan and we’re still trying to count the number of infected people), the heat, and money (“inflation” is hitting all of us hard, but even harder in Japan for certain things, as Japan is importing way too many things and the yen is at its lowest in 25 years or so), I don’t know how much I’ll be gallivanting on the islands this summer.
My online news is a bit all over the place, but I’ve managed to post some content online lately.
Here is what I’ve published, hoping I’m not missing any.
I posted a few pictures of Go’o Shrine on Naoshima that I took last Spring. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a shrine that’s also a work of art by Hiroshi Sugimoto.
Awa Odori is a very famous traditional dance from the neighboring prefecture. A few weeks ago, a group of dancers did a small show at the local shrine where my kids are part of a “lion-dance” group. The post has pictures and a video of the whole thing.
“Generative drawing for Japanese paper house 2.0” is an artwork from the Setouchi Triennale. It was started in 2019 but has been updated in 2022. There are a few pictures and a video in the post (and some text, obviously).
“House of Knots” is a new art installation for the Setouchi Triennale. The post has - you guessed it - pictures and a short video.
I also published a very short video journal telling you a little bit about Summer in Japan. If you’ve never been to Japan this time of the year, it’ll give you a glimpse of what it feels like. If you’ve been to Japan in July, I’m sure it will resonate with you. :-)
And if you like this kind of video, feel free to subscribe to the channel, I post more or less random things, in English and in French, I won’t link to them all here.
In my ongoing quest to learn Japanese, and also to try drawing more regularly, I’ve decided to try drawing kanji. Here is my first attempt (my first attempt in a while, I already tried before). I haven’t had the time for more yet, hopefully during summer vacation.
I’ve found an old picture of building housing artists in Paris. The building still exists, but I’m sure its front has changed in recent years… or not? Actually, I have no idea.
A Lego comic strip “discussing” whether Star Wars has become woke. Apparently, some people are complaining it has (the Star Wars fandom is a strange place and I must admit that sometimes I’m a bit embarrassed to call myself a fan these days). Those people were probably not paying attention for the past 40+ years. Oh well…
I’m sure most of you reading this are native speakers of English and if you are not, your English is probably as good as mine, but just in case, know that I started a Youtube channel (or rather, revived an old one) with tips about learning English. It’s mostly aimed at Japanese learners (i.e. my students) but some videos are helpful to anyone learning the language. You can check it out and subscribe there.
So I’ve alluded to it a few times, but this is it! I’m going to try writing fiction in English.
I have no idea if it’ll be good or not, and if writing fiction was not terrifying enough, writing in a language that’s not your native language is even more terrifying.
You can read the first post there: Prologue.
For now, I’m mostly translating content that’s already available in French (on the site), but as soon as next month, I’m going to start writing original content in English. Wish me luck.
Constructive criticism is more than welcome. I need it, and as long as it’s constructive, I can take the negative kind without problems.
And… this is something I’ve had in mind for this newsletter: to also use it to talk about my writing.
Let me explain. Substack newsletters can be divided into sections. This current newsletter is filed under “Soliloquies” and you may have noticed another section called “Surviving Survivor.”
Subscribers can be subscribed automatically to new sections or not. I didn’t subscribe you by default to Surviving Survivor, because I doubt many of you are interested in the TV show (and I rarely have the time to regularly write about it anyway), but if you are, please subscribe.
The idea is to create a new section: “MetaStructure” where I’ll talk only about my fiction writing and where you’ll be more than welcome to share your opinions about it. I’ll subscribe to you all by default but if you’re not interested, you can unsubscribe to the section without unsubscribing to the rest of the newsletter.
Does this make sense?
Expect the first MetaStructure newsletter in a few hours or days. I’ll tell you about the origins of the project and about the prologue itself.
OK, this letter was a bit long. If you’re still reading, first of all, thank you.
As usual, if you arrived here from a link on social media or elsewhere, do not hesitate to subscribe and if you’re already subscribed and know people who could be interested, do not hesitate to share with them.
That’s all for today. Take care and stay safe.