The next morning I recalled a question the woman had asked me the night before: of the two ingredients of wabi-sabi, the Japanese aesthetic of impermanence, did I prefer wabi, the rusticity, simplicity, and irregularity of things in their created state, or sabi, the patina of age, the wear and tear that comes with constant use, the intimations of transience. I'm in the sabi camp: sabi as a concept is in all probability etymologically related to the verb sabiru, to rust, and for us lusters after rust, Yubari is sacred ground.Spike Japan is the blog, or ongoing essay, of Richard Hendy, a long-time resident of Japan, about urban decay and population decline in Japan. The writing is digressive, knowledgable, opinionated, witty and engaging. The longest series is a travelogue of Hokkaido, in which the section on Yubari is the most stunning, though I also like the tour of Kuril Islands' dispute tourist attractions. There's much to read on Spike Japan, but let me point you towards the melancholic Requiem for a Railway, about Hendy's trip along an abandoned railway line.
I am STUNNED by this story, highlighting recent comments by a former Japanese cabinet member. In a discussion about the declining number of children in Japan, Seiichi Ota of the Liberal Democratic Party said that gang-rape is a sign of virility, and that its perpetrators are "close to normal."