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Yasunari Kawabata: I'm Never Going to Snow Country!

The sparse and shadowy work of author Yasunari Kawabata becomes clear through a modern tea ceremony.

Yasunari Kawabata Timeline

11 June 1899, Kawabata is born.

1935-1937, Snow Country serialized.

1949-1951, Thousand Cranes serialized.

16 October 1968, Kawabata becomes the first Japanese person to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature.

1972, Kawabata dies. Cause contested, though it is assumed self-poisoning with noxious gas.

Thousand Cranes

Thousand Cranes: when the single tit so hairy we all have to have the most elaborate tea ceremony over it. As one should. Unimportant side note: if you’re going to advertise there being a thousand cranes you better fucking deliver. This book did not, it was just a scarf with a lot but who knows if really a thousand cranes printed on, not a single real-life crane. I want my money back, even though I only loaned the book from the library for free.

I keep on laughing to my own thoughts! Surely a true sign of madness? No one can be this funny all the time. The old man with the large beard always replies, “Gosh, you’re a worry!” whenever I go to speak to him. Have I gone too feral? Is there any coming back from this? I hope not. I like it here; I rather like where I’m at. The things I see inside my head mean I should make other plans instead. Our tea ceremonies are more à la The Book of Tea by Okakura Kakuzō, striving for life to become a harmonious art form and failing at a rate deemed miserable and inharmonious. But we drinking VB (Victorian Bitter to you untrained unpetticoated uncouths), and we take this shit very seriously, ceremoniously even.

It’s because where I’m at I can fully encapsulate within my mind whole of the unsweetened dramas of whatever the fuck is going on in Thousand Cranes. Like yooooooo guys you need to settle down!!!! Nothing is that serious. But you know what is serious? Your father’s mistress having one hairy boob. I knew a guy who had one of those hairy birth marks. It was on his leg. He was Vietnamese and I love him very much, like a brother, to this day… so I can understand all the fuss being made over the hairy birthmark. Me n Anh used to live together while studying at university, our rooms across from oneanothers, go to Sunnybank too often or eat KFC while watching Anthony Bourdain chow down on something only a lil bit better (that’s how much we love our fried chicken). That’s a modern-day tea ceremony. Anh never replied to my texts when I got back to Australia, and I’m not sure why. That’s my breaking of the bowl. Lips stained and sealed, no Nobel prize floating on the precipice of a hairy birthmark. Thinking about matcha lattes and suicides covered up are my next preoccupations: my family will tell them I’m on a permanent vacation to the Australian outback. Everyone in Thousand Cranes is in a restrained prosaic haiku trying to pretend that they aren’t horny in strange ways and that that doesn’t make them want to kill themselves till their family feels they have to lie about you, and I felt that ☹.

Snow Country

If I’m being honest with myself, I haven’t been being honest with myself. Emptying out slowly in gradients of greys till my insides are pure transparent nothings, nothing feels, nothing searches, eyes dim, sleep is a release. When awake I dream longingly for the unconscious, not death. I will never dream of death again, not even in the fires that ignite melancholies to madnesses. I used to dream of death, but now I dream of much much more. Constellations swirl and scream and I’m opening up to their happenings lock jaw. Nature can’t help but mirror shifting, squirming insides, with both yours and mine at cross-purposes, we saturate the changing landscapes in feeling’s shifting terrains. How else can what begins inside come to be known by the outwardly propelled senses? Inaccurate bodily radars and beacons are collecting and sifting through dead leaves and pet silkworms, frostbitten, silent in the stark snow, or staring at the moon hoping to miss its pale creators to catch a glimpse of ourselves reflected back instead. If the moths desiccate and turn to dust; if unripe fruit knows it will be wasted and so bruises before its time; if sake cups fill and tipple over and over again left hollow and empty; what is the analogous feeling? Sensing the leaves change and dissipate under snow, I write here about a ballet I’ve never seen much less danced. An easier way out for the selves that I do not want to know, and do not want to feel, and will never dance out. To find beauty in sadness is that very sadness’s comforting elegy, and all mournings come to an end don’t they? Kawabata eat your heart out! Gas yourself in the study for all I care! I’m never going to snow country ever again!


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