Monday, December 19, 2011
If you were to pluck the fulness of your being from the fastforward lightspeed staccato rush of the modern megamedia mindflash, your body from the hypermomentum tomorrownow timeplasma of urbaniamania, and in a fully mindbodied experience softly send yourself meandering down a narrow village road anywhere in rural Japan, sooner or later you'd likely come upon a sugidama (sugi: cedar; dama: ball) hanging outside the door of a local sake brewery. In your strange new state of mind you'd pretty likely whisper wtf?
Unlike the Vegas Strip, say, or one of those tv uzi-ads that repeat the product name at a pace set to induce monetary seizures, when sake is first set to brewing, in accordance with the traditional manner a ball made of freshly cut green cedar branches is hung outside the brewery door as a sign to the community that the new batch is now brewing. In the real world, which is local, this is important news. As the sake brews in its natural way as time passes in its natural way, the cedar ball ages in its natural way. As the ball dries out and turns more and more brown, the closer the sake is to completion, until at last the fully brown ball tells all the village and all who pass along the road that the sake brewed and sold here is now ready and available. Slow advertising.
Imagine that: months of fragrantly tantalizing tenterhook advertising, all without using even one microvolt of electricity. So natural. So elegant. So knowing - and knowing of so many things - a tacit knowing, in which all share. Without neon or billboard. Who now knows how long it takes for cedar branches to turn brown, and that that duration matches the time it takes for sake to become sake? Some elderly folks still know these things, in the small, emptying country towns...