Yay, another winner for the glorious South!
It's summer here, at least 6 weeks before I was expecting. Daytime temperatures have been hitting the low 80s, but especially there's the smell, the rich, sweet, green, drunken smell of a world full of plants and people that's been heated through the day and only slowly cools down. It happens every year, but it's always such a surprise.
I'm reading James Clavell's Shogun, which I highly recommend. It's a well-told story, and has me thinking a lot about cultural relativism and what I am and am not willing to tolerate from cultures beyond my own. I have an intuitive affinity with many aspects of Japanese culture--the spirituality, the aesthetics, the sense of duty. In a way that's all sort of archaic now, but kept alive in a lot of areas...that I can't even articulate the situation helps the appeal. I like how Asia confounds the Western mind, forces us, if we want to make any headway in understanding, to move outside ourselves and beyond our experience and the things we take for granted. There are many perfectly reasonable things about Japan that are simply different from Western ways, like not wearing shoes in the house...but it makes me smile.
(We'll leave the misogyny, societal crushing of individualism, and damnable pride for another day.)
Nope, everything's still fine.