said words ". . . are the instruments of thought; they form the
channel along which thought flows; they are the moulds in which thought is
shaped.” With that in mind, check into the
unique, mind-expanding qualities of Japanese aesthetic vocabulary:
- aware --originally surprise or delight, but now tinged with
melancholy that may bring us to the brink of tears.
- en --exquisite to the point of fascination.
- okashii --delightfully humorous, maliciously witty.
- miyabi -- elegant and refined providing a quite, delicate
- mu --expressing a
spontaneity that suggests the Buddhist ideal of detachment from self
- yugen --originally
"profound or mysterious" but now mainly "intuitively sensed" and lying "beyond"
art, related to "eternal loneliness"
- shibumi --colors or patterns
with a complete lack of ostentation
- seido -- the inner life or
essence of something expressed simply and directly, especially (for example) in
a rapid ink sketch
- esoragoto --an "invention in a
work of art which, although factually false to nature, heightens the natural
- ki-in --ennobling dignity,
spiritually elevated quality.
- notan --density, as of ink
tone or mass
- sabi --old and imperfect,
slightly melancholy, like a time-worn face. Essential to tea ceremony; must
possess makoto, sincerity. In literature a kind of attentive melancholy:
"to be found in the autumn disk, in withered fields, or in the sight of drab
brown birds winging across a marsh at twilight" (Brower and Miner, Japanese court poetry," Stanford
- suki --something
luxurious or elaborate but also artless or natural.
- wabi --transcendental
aloofness (recalls Thoreauvian poverty) (Suzuki, 430)
- wabi-sabi --used together, "a sigh of gentle melancholy and slightly
bittersweet contentment, awareness of the transience of earthly things and a
resigned pleasure in simple things that bear the marks of that transience"
(Jon Spayde in Une Reader
Sept-Oct 2001:50) imperfection attributable to
natural causes (such as development, wear-and-tear) that evokes a kind of
nostalgic pleasure . . .