To follow up on the June 16 VIEWS FROM THE STREET question “What do you like most about life in Japan?,” I find that the Japanese are among the world’s best craftsmen, doing things so precisely and thoroughly with their hands. My wife is Japanese with a highly developed aesthetic sense. As I have always been interested in the arts, I have gained a feeling of legitimacy here because the Japanese emphasize the importance of tradition and have placed the arts where they belong — at the apogee of their cultural life.
From my experience, one is not considered well-educated or not quite civilized unless he or she has some understanding and appreciation of the fine arts in some form or other. Often I will ride my bicycle through the hills to the local temple to admire its magnificent structure and walk among its surrounding gardens and pathways so carefully tended. It is such a peaceful place, and I think it is certainly one of the most beautiful spots on Earth. There are so many really beautiful spots. Yes, for all my time here, Japan has been a good place to grow my soul.
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