So, one aspect of living here that pleases me is the playfulness of official communication. I remember in the UK getting letters from tax people concluding, ” Your Obedient Servant.” The French are even more baroque.
Here the content of most documents and signs are explained through characterization by happy cartoon personalities. I find this delightful. A general debunking of officialdomness.
I recall getting a pink envelope covered with anthropomorphic cars grinning at me. It was my road tax.
I interpret this abundance of cartoon characters as a denial of pomposity. Life is just a game, a stage.
“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. As, first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.”
I think it is part of the disdain for earthly stuff. There are more important Shinto everlasting things and accordingly our scrambling on Earth may as well be described by childish cartoons.
Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,