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Today I finished reading Wabi Sabi: The Japanese Art of Impermanence by Andrew Juniper. I especially requested this from Victoria University because it seemed like a book that would talk about the fragile concept of Wabi Sabi with a neutral and explanatory viewpoint.
Wabi Sabi: The Japanese Art of Impermanence

Wabi Sabi is not easily translated from the culturally infused Japanese characters to English. Wabi Sabi means a variety of things, mostly stemming from Zen movements, and apparently there are a plethora of analogies to achieve glimpses of understanding. Wabi Sabi is not meant to be analytically processed, but to be experienced if one is blown into that direction of wind.

One of the ironies of this book is that the author attempts to bring a Western understanding to something intrinsically Eastern. It even states so; the Japanese are hesitant to emboss any one meaning to the concept, rather preferring vagueness to do its job. Yet one of the last chapters categorises different manifestations of Wabi Sabi and attempts to list each attribute as if one could fabricate austere beauty.

I did like the history and photos. It's one of those books which I would like on my bookshelf to refer to when there are too many ideas or something is on the verge of being overworked. It is an interesting read and if you have not come across the old traditions of Japanese creative spirit, it will open your eyes.

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