When coming back to Tokyo from abroad, my first impression usually is: What a dull airport! And yet it’s clean, neat and the floors deeply polished. To the Japanese eye, there’s a particular sense of beauty in the work of the cleaning staff. It’s in the craftman’s spirit — “shokunin kishitsu” — which applies to all Japanese professionals, be they street construction workers, electricians or cooks.
Like estate sales or cat burglary, Peter Ross’s photographs of William Burroughs’s possessions provide a glimpse into the material world of someone we thought we knew. In the interview (link below) Ross explains how the pictures (see here for the complete collection) explore the myth of the man through a selection of weird, touching, and often unexpected possessions found in Burroughs’s windowless New York City apartment, preserved since his death in 1997.
Even in its hour of utter devastation, Haiti, the western hemisphere’s poorest country, teaches the rest of the world some valuable truths.
This Caribbean island nation of nine million people has right now a third of its population cut off from basic supplies of food, water, medicine or shelter. In the blink of an eye, the earthquake that hit the country has buried a capital city of three million people under rubble for which the eventual death toll may be between 100,000 and 500,000. Just like that.
Like shutting the proverbial stable door after the horse has bolted, the US and other world powers are promising to send emergency aid to Haiti. Well intentioned no doubt. But where was the aid and economic development assistance to Haiti – over half the population live on $1 a day and 80 per cent are classed as poor – in the years before this calamity? Read on…