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Du béton du métal dont sont faites vos parois
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“To build our house, let’s choose a hill. The Japanese have always built at the foot of mountains or at the bottom of valleys. They like low places.
– It’s true, dad. You’re right. It’s true that in the pictures, the foreigners’ houses are always high up. However, those of the Japanese are less visible.
– There is a reason for that. Japan experiences earthquakes and typhoons. Wooden houses would not withstand winds and tremors. This is why they are built in places that are less exposed to these risks. But it is not the only reason.
The Japanese, you know, prefer soft clarity to bright light. They curl up in the darkness. They like to live in contact with nature. This is why they could never get used to stone houses.
– I understand. I don’t like stone houses either. It’s cold. I do not like.
– Yes, but we need to qualify a bit. The wooden house certainly suits the Japanese. But when an entire people adopt it, it can make us weak and fickle. The character and strength of foreigners are nourished by stones, iron and concrete of which their homes are made.”
Excerpt of a dialogue from the movie Dodes’ka-den, Akira Kurosawa, 1970.