A primary conceit of the current age is that everything today is somehow new or original, completely different from anything of the past.
We’re in the “digital age”, and internet has changed everything. We live in democracies – everything is totally unique.
But the Heian era is proof that this is not the case. Take a simple game that was played in the Heian era, known as “Kai-Awase”. “Awase,” meaning “matchings” or “joinings.” An aristocrat would have a set of 360 pairs of clam shells, which would be painted on the inside with either images, or perhaps poetry lines.
The images on the inner shells were fairly typical themes for the era – poetry, seasonal, literary, flowers, or perhaps noblemen gently weeping by a moonlit pond. Each clam shell would have an exact replica.
The game was played in the following manner. All of the shells would be placed face down on the floor. Each player would take turns flipping over the shells and attempting to find the shell’s match. Whomever found more matches would win the game. ….sound familiar?
This is pretty much the exact same game as Memory, or Concentration, a game nearly every Kindergartner plays with regular playing cards or pieces of cardboard with pictures of cartoon animals. The rules haven’t even changed. It was played literally the exact same way over 1,100 years ago. Feel perhaps a little closer to the Heian era? You probably mastered one of their games before learning to read.
Procrastination: everyone I know seems to have this problem, or at least claims to, leading to the popularity of t-shirts and facebook groups proclaiming, “Procrastinators of the World Unite! …Tomorrow.”
When it comes to this blog, I tend to have this issue, only rather than procrastinate entirely, I have an idea or moment of inspiration, type up notes in WordPress, and then press save — the draft unfinished. As it happens, I have drafts from over a year ago, and had essentially written the posts in my head without having bothered to have published anything. It’s horrifyingly lazy (…thus quintessentially Heian?), but I’m attempting to change! We’ll see how that actually goes.
On the subject of things I’ve meant to do, it occurred to me this afternoon that I had always meant to find and purchase prints by a local Gainesville artist. I had seen her work when it was for sale at the museum store at the Harn Museum of Art at University of Florida, and had found it incredibly charming. Being a Japanophile, I had gone to see an exhibition on Kimonos from the Art Deco and Modernist period and happened to stop by the Museum Store. Given that I was moving in a few months, however, I had not purchased any prints but made a mental note to do so. After several fruitless Google searches, and an unsuccessful call to the Harn museum store for more information (in all fairness, the salesgirl I spoke to was new), I finally managed to find the artist’s name and website: