One of my best windows into Japan and things Japanese is a series called “The Making”. They’re all of fourteen minutes long, and are well worth watching. I’ve been watching these for years now, and the glimpses of Japanese life and culture have been eye-opening and utterly fascinating.
There is seldom any voiceover to distract from these videos, though I occasionally have run into English translation versions. The camera work is extraordinary in its composition and attention to subtle detail. The audio is a combination of earworm music and Cage-ian randomness. Occasionally there is a “twist” — one episode’s soundtrack briefly segues into a minute or two of an old Steven Foster tune. Where did that come from?
The show presents an astonishing range of makery: from toothpicks and chopsticks to abaci and tea whisks to hot water bottles, or, in the case of the program I’m giving you a link to, filled and decorated cookies. If you go to youtube and search “The Making”, you’ll find many more.