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  • Zen Buddhism has long fascinated me, but I never thought of travelling to Japan. Suddenly the opportunity arose to show my art there and I went. I had Japanese friends, who introduced me closely to many other Japanese. There was this repeated conversation, where women and men asked me about what I liked in Japan.

    I always started with Zen Buddhism hoping for an intense and enlightening conversation about the topic.

    To my utter surprise this never happened. Instead the people in front of me opened their eyes wide and sometimes their mouths and muttered," Zen Buddhism, how very interesting! Tell me about it!"

    Well, of course I loved many things in Japan: the old temples, sake, the delicious food, especially at the Tokyo fishmarket, where I could watch the cooks` dancing knives for hours. I loved the politeness with which people treated each other and us (The complete opposite of Moscow!!!). I loved the bath houses, gardens, paintings and especially a tiny old lady in Kyoto, who served us tea in thin porcellan cups painted with naked women and men making love.

    While we waited for our plane back to America at the Tokyo Airport I watched a farewell between a middle aged Western man and an Asian woman of the same age. I could not hear their words. I just watched their gestures, the expression of their faces and I understood that they had been very close to each other and that they knew, they would never meet again. I felt as if watching a scene in an opera, a beautiful and heartbreaking ritual of final farewell. They just performed for themselves and each other. They do not know that they also performed for me, that they are still with me.

    Art by Kiki ("Japan")
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