I’m going to talk about my relationship with The Book of Ichigo Ichie: The Art of Making the Most of Every Moment, the Japanese Way by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles.

First off…I love this book. If it were legal to marry books I would marry this one. This book is my soul mate.

What did I love about this book? I loved that it told me about the concept of Ichigo Ichie. I love any book that makes me think about enjoying the moment. I love any book that tells me how to explore things with all my senses. I love any book that reminds me that it’s OK to slow down and not multi task. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is true love…this it romance…this is sensuality…this is how I want to spend the rest of my life…me and this book…

I also have an affinity for things associated with the Japanese culture. I’m going to assume that this was the book I was talking about when I wrote Tuesday’s blog post- the timing fits. What’s also funny is that the exhibit that I wanted to see at the Met that day was focused on Japan.

Japanese Tea Ceremony room- recreated at the Met. Gorgeous, meditative Japanese art…THAT was an exhibit I could have sat in all day and just be in the moment…Walking through the galleries that day- just perfect. If there was a world where I could marry the book, it would be the same world that would let me live at the Met in the Japan section.

Do you know what else happens in April in NYC? Remember I’m reading the book, looking at the exhibit, and going to the Botanic Garden for Cherry Blossoms…Sakura Matsuri…This would be my yearly vacation- sleeping under the stars and the cherry blossoms for that very short window of cherry blossom opportunity..

Of course, we know tea would be my beverage of choice- including the whole ceremony thing. This is how the book and I would spend every anniversary…sitting on little stools drinking tea and savoring the flavors and the high notes and the low notes.

So here’s all these things converging- museum exhibits, cherry blossoms, tea, and a handbook about how to enjoy all these things to the fullest.

Awesome.

I have found my life path….

However…

Am I culturally appropriating all of this?

Do I have the right to covet all these things from a culture not my own?

Am I a fraud?

When I slip on my pink flowered kimono and sip from my cherry blossom inspired mug, and I engaging in an unpardonable sin?

Do I just not know enough about any of these things to enjoy them?

Are the PC police going to charge me with enjoying things that I have NO RIGHT to enjoy?

What is the boundary between appreciating something and wanting to make it part of your life, and taking it over?

Should I turn in my Japanese inspired items, flush my tea away, stop reading about this simple way of life?

Or should I just enjoy the things that spark joy…

65 thoughts on “Is It Acceptable

    1. Here’s the question though…are there people out there who would say I’m culturally appropriating these things? Is there a larger societal question happening now?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The summer of 20 I wrote a blog where I took an unpopular stance on something…it did change my perspective on things. However, I don’t like that vocal minorities get as much airtime as they do

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Just enjoy what brings you joy. Many people search their whole lives to find that feeling. You found it so embrace it.
    For me its all things British… I love Shakespeare, Austen, The Romantic poets, countless British authors, Bone China tea sets, I have an English tea table to serve tea, and a silver chest to house my good flatware. Not only do I collect English tea pots I collect teapots designed and etched with my favorite Shakespearean plays, I have antique blue and white English China and Shakespeare plates sporting the Bard’s face and all his plays. I even have bone China thimbles with my favorite British authors and literary characters. So yeah, my joy may not technically be from my own culture, who cares? It has become the culture I love.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. LA – enjoy the things that spark joy !
    I enjoy aspects of many cultures, including combing my hair with a Chinese jade comb.

    I’m going to check out that book. Thanks ! 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Enjoy whatever you enjoy, especially if it’s legal.😉 Why worry about what others think? It’s your life, not theirs. When I was younger, I absolutely loved wearing moccasins. And Guatemalan huipils. I’m sure I looked strange, but it had nothing to do with anyone else or cultural appropriation. Geez. What’s our world coming to?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I personally don’t understand cultural appropriation as a concept. While, as tater says, probably not good to profit off something you don’t know about, why is it bad if we live something and think it’s beautiful?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. One can admire and appreciate aspects of a different culture, but technically the definition of appropriation is taking on or adopting those same aspects as your own, laying claim to them and using them in ways that the culture of origin would. Admiring a tea ceremony at the Met or walking under the amazing cherry blossoms is appreciation. Holding your own tea ceremonies on occasion because you admire the process is probably okay, but if you stereotype the culture in any way or you take credit for the idea then you’ve strayed too far. Appropriation really focuses on dominate or majority cultures believing they have the right to take over or take on aspects of minority cultures without any consideration of the meaning that lies within. Cultural awareness, the first step in the process is learning why these things are important to a minority culture and respecting that above all else, no matter how cute, popular, intriguing, it is theirs, not yours and you do not own that aspect of their culture based on your place in society.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. My bet is that the majority of people in a culture don’t understand the meaning behind things. I asked my husband about aspects of his religion and why they do things on certain days and he was completely clueless…I think it’s a very fine line and I think it’s gotten ridiculous. I have no doubt that I would be called out by people because I love these things. Not many people…but some…I by no means consider myself an expert in these things…but I like them..

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I think we have to look not from the standpoint of what the other culture knows or doesn’t know. It’s not about their level of understanding but about ours as the dominate culture, and let’s be real: white anglo-saxons have historically believed they are dominate over others. There are traditions, rituals, dress, even ideas that cultures hold as their own. While not everyone in the culture follows those practices or is even aware of their meaning, it is the simple fact that they exist and we, with our white European backgrounds simply have to accept that by the very nature of who we believe we are, do not own or have the right to take on those cultural aspects. Cultural appropriation really deals with us coming to terms with the fact that we simply do not have an innate right to take what belongs traditionally to others. And again, this all stems from the reality and actions of our white ancestors who marched into unsettled areas all over the world and simply decided that they could take what they wanted from the original peoples of that land, and civilize those groups into the “correct” way of life. There is a huge historical component to appropriation. It’s worth study and reflection. Even with my background I have been so thankful that I work with a hugely diverse patient population. I have learned so much about so many cultures and their practices and why there is such a very fine line in what we believe we have the right to do.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. I totally understand the historical aspects of this…and I don’t want history to repeat itself, which is why I have problems with the concept. While in the past egregious things have happened, we can’t really blame people for mistakes that their ancestors made. Do we hold children responsible for the crimes of their parents? I also don’t like people being told to stay in their lane…my immigrant Italian grandfather went to law school. He had to start his own practice because he could not get hired because Italian immigrants werent supposed to be lawyers…they were supposed to be laborers. While I don’t want things stolen from people, I also don’t want to hold people back from going after what they feel in their hearts they are. I think this idea spins itself 360 degrees…

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Enjoy that which sparks joy! The communion of your enjoyment of the Japanese kimono and tea ceremony is a compliment to the cultural aspect (in my humble opinion) and therefore a beautiful sharing amongst people.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Mmm. The concepts you are pointing to and writing about live across cultures. They are, yes, internalized, and distributed in varying cultural ways; yet, they can be found throughout history, across geographies, nationalities, and cultures. Therefore, I say just be who you are….when we are true to who we are, there is no cultural appropriation there…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Deb has covered the points I’d make very well. I wrote a piece on this subject a couple of years ago from the POV of writing fiction (see link below). My piece links to another read on the subject, if you’re interested.

    The single story

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Deb wrote a great comment about the distinction of appreciation and appropriation. To me, your love of Japanese culture should be considered a compliment to that culture. Your appreciation and practice might inspire others to learn more about the culture. Each person and each culture has valuable lessons to teach. I adore the cherry blossoms in my neighborhood, and the denser clusters of them in nearby Washington, DC. And I’m continuing to remind myself of the peacefulness of awareness of the moment. My vote is to follow the path of your joy. And may that inspire others to do the same.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m not sure that gap can be bridged with everybody. It’s akin to the advice I’ve heard from people who give writing advice: Some people are going to really enjoy your book. Some people are going to think it’s a waste of time and stop reading after Chapter 2. You can’t please ’em all. My position is be prepared for how you would respond, if anybody calls you a poser. Deb’s comment is a great way to respond. Not everyone’s going to see eye to eye about your appreciation. Sadly.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. So first and foremost, you’ve given me yet ANOTHER book to read. I even bumped it to the top of my TBR list because of your glowing review.

    I love your one friend’s idea of a past life connection. This could explain why so many of us feel inexplicably drawn to specific books, cultures, and other forms of expression in this lifetime.

    Anime and cosplay are two of my youngest daughter’s favorite things. She loves Japanese culture and is very protective of it. She makes it a point to avoid wearing certain things in public (fashion kimono’s etc). She is passionate about researching costumes to ensure they are not offensive, and so on. Why is she so passionate? When she was going through a rough patch, it was the kind and gentle attributes of the culture she adored that she could bring into her life. Doing that saved her.

    I don’t think you should feel like a fraud. This makes you feel good about yourself, you’re not exploiting the culture. You’re incorporating what you’ve learned from the culture into your daily routine like my daughter did. That’s something we can all learn to do. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I don’t agree with cultural appropriation. We are a melting pot and we learn from other cultures. We appreciate different cultures. The Netflix show Ugly Delicious is a case in point of how food from certain cultures makes it’s way around the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I find it funny the entire post you expected friction but all you got was support. 😁 Looks like no one in your close blogging circle feels otherwise. I had an Argentinian friend study and eventually work in Japanese theater. She was great at her craft and accepted by the theater company she worked with in both Hawaii and Japan. Of course cultural appropriation wasn’t in the forefront of the PC police in the mid aughts (my friend passed on unfortunately from MS) but she wasn’t native Japanese was still accepted.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agree as to the people who commented. However, I did glance at the numbers. And while my read to like ratio normally hovers at 2:1, this time it was 4:1….a lot of people didn’t “like” the post, nor commented, so my that stat I can look at it a different way…

      Like

      1. Personally I don’t care…but I want people to understand the hypocrisy and emperors new clothes aspect that surrounds us. I wrote this somewhat tongue in cheek to highlight what I think is a flaw in what’s being communicated out there…kids are being taught this in school…what’s the next generation going to be like?

        Liked by 3 people

      2. The people of the world have been going down the toilet, while the world itself continues to naturally rid itself of all people…future generations of insensitive morons is where were headed

        Like

  12. I have no idea how so many people buy into the idea that we’re not allowed to participate in, enjoy, or even understand any culture other than our own. Why put people in little boxes and then tape the boxes shut? Enjoy your book and everything else about the Japanese culture if you want to! It’s actually a way of showing respect and admiration, I think. As for the PC police: ignore them. They hate everyone.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. In my opinion, that’s border-line child abuse. Kids should be encouraged to explore new things and follow their dreams, not told to “stay in their place.” Which is exactly what “stay in your lane” means. It’s oppressive!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I don’t know if people realize exactly what kids are being told anymore…how many things are considered “bad”, and how things are reversing themselves only the groups being oppressed have changed

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Definitely enjoy the things that spark joy and embrace your love for that culture. My family and friends always thought it was odd, my obsession with Indian culture. I love the smells, sights and sounds of anything from India. My favorite food is Indian cuisine, my Netflix watchlist consists of Hindi movies, and I drool over the sound of their accent. It actually started when I was 9 years old at the zoo and I saw my first Indian family. Yes, it was probably crazy but I was literally taking pictures of them! My parents were so embarrassed. Fast forward to high school and I get an Indian pen pal, who I kept in touch with until my early 20’s. We wrote letters to each other, sent each other gifts, and he even called me. My favorite summertime event is India Fest here in Milwaukee. I think they are the most beautiful people in the world. It’s strange to some, but I believe it’s wonderful to feel such a strong connection to another culture.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh this pleases me that you have embraced another culture!! I love learning about different places…trying the food!! To me it’s the best adventure there is

      Like

  14. Do I just not know enough about any of these things to enjoy them? Clearly you may know more about some of them than those who you may be appropriating them from. Feel free to enjoy what you know.

    Are the PC police going to charge me with enjoying things that I have NO RIGHT to enjoy? I agree with many of the comments about the melting pot and your enjoyment being a sign of your appreciatlon.

    What is the boundary between appreciating something and wanting to make it part of your life, and taking it over? I’m more concerned about the other way around and it taking over my life.

    Should I turn in my Japanese inspired items, flush my tea away, stop reading about this simple way of life? No

    Or should I just enjoy the things that spark joy…Yes

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s