Off to Japan I go – again

Today, I am heading to the airport for travel to Japan. For the next several months I will once again be working as a professor at Kyoto University as part of the research team concerned with integrating the macroeconomic principles in Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) principles into a broader framework to build national resilience in the face of climate change, demographic challenges, transport and housing challenges and more. So from tomorrow I will be in Kyoto and depending on commitments my blog posts might be a little less regular although I think I will be able to continue the usual output. I will have more to say about what we are working on, including the release of a book we have been completing from last year’s collaborations. There is also a major event planned for later in November in Tokyo to launch our latest work. I will provide details later when I know them. We are also talking about hosting an Modern Monetary Theory symposium in Kyoto next April to welcome in the Spring and the cherry blossoms. When I know more I will relate the details here. I am also working on my next book which will traverse the topics of degrowth, the sustainability of capitalism and more. Japan’s shrinking population presents an opportunity to lead the world in reducing the society’s reliance on economic growth and exploring more substantial aspects of human existence. I mapped out that argument in this blog post – Degrowth, deep adaptation, and skills shortages – Part 4 (October 31, 2022). Anyway, until I resurface tomorrow beside the Kamo River, we can listen to some music.

Image detail

The opening image is one of the prints from the – The Fifty Three Stations of the Tōkaidō.

If you click it you will see it in full splendour.

This is the last of the 53 prints and depicts – Sanjō Ōhashi – which is a bridge in Kyoto City that spans the Kamogawa River as part of Sanjō dori (or Third Avenue).

It was the entry point to Kyoto along the Tōkaidō route which took travellers from Edo (Tokyo) to the old imperial of Kyoto. Edo was the capital of the shogunate.

The prints were made by famous woodblock artist – Utagawa Hiroshige – between 1833 and 1834 after he had travelled the route in 1832.

I love seeing his prints which were really one of the last examples of the original – Ukiyo-e – style which was all the rage between the C17th and C19th in Japan.

Travelling music

I love this song – Apostle – which is taken off the second solo album – In the Skies – which was recorded by – Peter Green – after he quit Fleetwood Mac.

The album marked a return to recording after a long period (8 years) of dealing with mental health issues.

It was released in May 1979 and has some really beautiful guitar playing on it.

Apostle had been earlier released in June 1978 as a single (backed by Tribal Dance on B-side).

I first heard it when I purchased the album. The version on the album was re-recorded and the original faded after being withdrawn from sale very soon after release.

On the album, Peter Green was supported by another great guitar player Snowy White who plays rhythm guitar on this particular track (Track 9 on the album).

Apostle was written by Peter Green as were all the tracks on the album (with some collaborations on some of them).

A remastered version was released in 2005 based, I believe on the original single release. That version is definitely very beautiful.

Martin Celmins biography of Peter Green (Castle books, 1995) is a must read for Peter Green fans – it is a very sympathetic and detailed account of a troubled genius.

Peter Green is my favourite guitar player (with Jimi Hendrix).

That is enough for today!

(c) Copyright 2023 William Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. The need for degrowth is obvious to many people, me included.
    It’s kind of intuitive.
    But, finance capitalism of the west is going in the opposite direction.
    Recently, I read in Adam Tooze’s blog that Germany corporations are now massively in the hands of US hedge funds, mainly Blackrock and Vanguard.
    These funds act like gigantic (and ever expanding) ponzi schemes.
    The logic of these funds is growth. Exponential growth.
    So, crisis are necessary to hedge funds, so they can buy private companies and public monopolies – cheap.
    Next, they use these companies as vehicules to extract loans from local banks to feed the pyramid.
    And when these companies fail, banks accrue bad loans after bad loans.
    And when those banks fail, the hedge funds will buy the failed banks – cheap.
    Then the game stops, as you can’t rob yourself.
    Then, they need new markets.
    Rings any bells?

  2. Those woodcuts are so beautiful. The layering and blend of intricate detail with beautiful expanses of colour …masterful.

  3. I took a special high speed train from Tokyo to Nagoya a few weeks ago to do some some hiking in the nearby Nakasendo trail, where Samurai used to walk about 400 years ago, during our ten days holidays.

    Yes, every town we passed ,and most shops we visited, right from Tokyo airport to the wood, they are manned by old people in their 70s mainly. We rarely see babies or children around.

    It is going to be a problem definitely, but I also see they tried to adapt to this reality in almost every part of daily life already.

    For example, payment at most stores or even having a bowl of ramen in small local eatery, you have to pay at a payment kiosk in front or inside the shop first for whatever you order and then take the receipt to the chef/cook to receive the food and drink. I must make a note here that we are amazed at the service quality, it is still very good all around – when it comes to staff interactions, they seem to perform the work with joy and willingness to serve. Anyhow, I guess it is going to be tougher and tougher as society ages further.

    Come to think of it, now I can understand why they don’t need so much tourism – they cannot really afford it. With the efficient domestic economy and fiscal distribution they have, it is already handsome to afford a comfortable life, one with the highest standard in the world (comparing to NYC that I happened to visit recently).

    By the way, please let us know when you plan to hold what event in Kyoto, I for one would love to join or take part.

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