May 30 2011

#30 “Konnichiwa”

From a stranger in Japan

I was particularly excited to receive this picture because it was one of the first that had found its way to my p.o. box from a foreign country; however, the day that I found this postcard lying before me just happened to be in the immediate wake of the tragic earthquake that decimated a large portion of Japan. I wanted to be happy, but I knew that while I was rejoicing in a silly postcard, an entire country was reeling with terror and sadness. So this wolf picture represents a bit of a personal internal conflict. This is not meant to sound asinine or melodramatic, but when I look at this picture I really do wonder who drew it and what his/her circumstances are. So, to the illustrator of this picture, whoever you are, I would love to hear from you and know that you are safe and well.

Moving our attention towards the illustration itself, there is one feature that I find especially interesting: this wolf’s piercing eyes. They are deep, life-like and inspiring. They seem to long to communicate, but their message is unclear. In the end, I suspect that my interest in them is probably due to the especially mysterious identity of the illustrator. Perhaps I am simply misguidedly searching the eyes for clue as to the artist’s persona. Unfortunately, after hours of study, they offer no clues. After engaging in a little online research, though, I discovered that the two main species of Japanese wolves died out about 100 years ago, which makes the identity of the illustrator all the more intriguing. Could he be some intellectual lupine historian? An ancient sage carrying on the wisdom of Japan’s extinct wolves? Or could this illustration have been drawn by an actual Japanese wolf who has merely evolved beyond our wildest expectations?

In the end, the answers to these questions may be as difficult to come by as the ancient and mysterious Canis lupis hodophilax.

(Just in case you’re wondering, the symbols in the illustration simply say “Japan”)