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Thursday, October 11, 2007

courts, culture and time passages

As my Japanese-American friend Cyndi observed over a dozen years ago, in Imperial Japan people in the courts took exquisite precautions to stay out of the sun and never ever venture into daylight so their complexion would remain ultra-white, but centuries later and halfway around the world, "Now the people in the courts are tanned as dark as possible, and being pasty white (even when that's your native natural hue) is considered not OK." More years later, into the 21st century and yet another era, this one health- and wellness-obsessed, these days people playing on the courts use lots of high-test sunscreen and sunblock and avoid direct sunlight whenever possible. How some ever, now that fake suntan products have developed way beyond looking as artifical as they used to back in those days, whether on the courts, off the courts or on the way to the courts image-conscious people often wear unreal tans. Something else has changed, too: when she married a guy with a very anglo surname, Cyndi dropped her Japanese one that got mispronounced all too often. Slow forward to now, she answers to either name but formally identifies herself with a hyphenated last name.

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