Black night is not right, I don’t feel so bright…

In April 2015, I had the privileged of participating in a workshop titled “TIMING DAY AND NIGHT: TIMESCAPES IN PREMODERN JAPAN.” The workshop was hosted by the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at University of Cambridge. My topic was on notions of time as described in the Muromachi period 室町時代 literary genre called kōwakamai 幸若舞, specifically in the libretto Fushimi Tokiwa 伏見常盤.

Prior to preparing and participating in this workshop I had not considered “Time” as a research theme. However the workshop was really quite interesting and I learned a lot from the other participants. I feel kind of disappointed that I had not been exposed to this type of topic before, but it’s really within the realm of anthropology, a field in which none of my graduate school professors really were a part. (I’d say they were coming from fields like general religious studies, Buddhist studies, poetics, linguistics, history, and thr like. No anthro!)

This past year I’ve been seeing articles on line related to Time Studies everywhere from RocketNewsJapan to the BBC. Here’s the latest one that I found on Aeon.co. I really love this site! The articles and videos are really smart and well done.

This article, “How the 24-hour society is stealing time from the night,” touches on a lot of the topics that were indeed brought up at the Cambridge Timescapes workshop. Take for example the first couple examples that Kreitzman gives: Burmese monks know that it is time to get up when it is light enough to see the veins in their hands; and  Muslims base their getting up on the passage in the Quran that defines daybreak as the time when it is possible to distinguish between a dark and a light thread. These methods may work locally when the community is really close knit and are limited to a geographic region, but as soon as the community goes global, these methods for telling time are no longer really viable.

Concerning the examples above, another issue is that depending on where you are in relationship to the equator, day and night either lengthen or shorten, making Time elastic.

I’ve limited my blog time to 30 minutes, so I’ll end here…

 

**The title of this post is from a… Deep Purple song! Titled “Black Night” (Did you know that already?!) which I was just listening to this morning. There are hundreds and hundreds of songs about Time and concepts of Day & Night, so in a way Time-studies is very much a part of pop-culture. Keep your ears open.**

Here are the rest of the lyrics, courtesy of a Google search:

Black night is not right,
I don’t feel so bright,
I don’t care to sit tight.
Maybe I’ll find on the way down the line
that I’m free, free to be me.
Black night is a long way from home.
I don’t need a dark tree,
I don’t want a rough sea,
I can’t feel, I can’t see.
Maybe I’ll find on the way down the line
that I’m free, free to be me.
Black night is a long way from home.
Black night, black night,
I don’t need black night,
I can’t see dark night.
Maybe I’ll find on the way down the line
that I’m free, free to be me.
Black night is a long way from home.

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