The process as an end

Photo by Ryan Bruss.

Japanese culture values process _ not just results.
It is not a pragmatic culture.
And so how you do something is as important as what gets done.
Art forms like tea ceremony are a good example of this way of thinking.
Appearance is all. Doing becomes dance.
The special envelope you use in Japan to mail cash to people has an envelope inside an envelope and you must fold it in three ways like origami almost and stamp it from the top with your seal where the top fold meets the bottom fold to show that it hasn’t been tampered with.
Then you write down on a piece of paper the amount of money that you have placed in the envelope.
No one checks whether this amount is factual.
In any other country, people would be writing whatever they want and complaining to the Post Office that their money got stolen.
I don’t know if Japan ever has this problem or why they seem to assume that this elaborate folding ritual ensures money won’t get ripped off.
Wearing a kimono feels a bit like this envelope process.
The way a kimono is a painful folding-wrapping-binding process is an eye-opener on how ascetic Japanese culture historically was.
It is such restrictive clothing not only to put on _ but also just to wear.
Moving around in it, even sitting in it, are challenging tasks that kill your back.
And I was sitting in a Western-style chair.
To imagine what it might have been like to sit for hours in that thing on a tatami floor with your knees folded underneath yourself is astounding.
The demands kimono makes on the human body applied to men as well as to women _ like samurai we see in Kurosawa movies.
Kimono requires the wearer to be really strong and have controlled posture like a Musashi.
Kimono to me shows the importance of process in Japanese culture.