｢あいさつ」is a pretty big deal in Japan. The word translates as "greeting", and it is. But it's also so much more. Compared to English, Japan's greetings are much more highly ritualized, often using standard queries and responses. The level of politeness of the language the speakers use indicates their respective social and age levels, and their relationship to each other.
The ｢あいさつ」is meant to soften the barriers between people. The standardized call and response provides a level of comfort, a gentle overture accompanied by a business card, leaving enough space for a polite retreat or a tentative step forward. In a city like Tokyo, where people literally live on top of each other, that safe and controllable social distance may be the only personal space available. 'Cuz there sure isn't any on the rush hour trains.
｢あいさつ」also happens to be the theme for this year's HEARTokyo art exhibition at the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly Bldg. 1st Floor (Citizens' Gallery). 28 artists, including my lucky self, will be celebrating the various greetings in art.
There's also a children's collaboration section, which I'm looking forward to. Kid's art is great. I believe there will also be a workshop planned as well as a live painting relay (which I will probably chicken out of, 'cuz I haven't painted since I picked up my first x-acto!). The show promises to be an amazing and beautiful gift for the eyes and the soul.
dates: March 4, 2009（水 Wed.）〜10日（火 Tues.）
time: 10:00 - 18:00 Opening day starts from 11:00, Closing day ends at 15:00
place: Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly Bldg. 1st Floor (Citizens' Gallery) Shinjuku, Tokyo
I will be there on Friday afternoon 3/6 from 1:30pm until closing, and Sunday afternoon as well. If you know when you plan on visiting, email me and I'll make sure I'll be there waiting for you. Stop by and check out some great art!