Teinei (丁寧)

There is a word/concept "te-i-ne-i" (丁寧・ていねい) in Japanese. The word itself is a type of adjective/adverb. I can't translate it, but in Japanese lives, this word is used all the time. Combine the essence of careful/conscientious/with-care/lovingly/thorough/scrupulous/deliberate/paying-attention-to-details/polite/unrushed (even slow)/beautiful/soft-the-opposite-of-rough, as applied to one's modus operandi and we're approaching an outline of its meaning.

I feel there is a focus in my weaving in general now, (as opposed to being super-focused on a particular project,) and relaxed, and have been meditating, as close to meditation as I get, on this concept. In "actionable" terms, it's taking the time to ensure I'm weaving in a most desirable ways to produce a most desirable something, (in my own estimation, of course,) and hopefully attain the most/highest joy/satisfaction, (along with a bunch of regrets and criticisms, because let's face it, it's me we are talking about.) An attitude fitting of an older weaver who has been doing this for a while and isn't in a rush to get anywhere. Realizing/acknowledging the accumulated knowledge/experience, but that's more in the subconscious.  

I strange online English sources go straight to "politeness", while Japanese sources mention "thoroughness", (and multiple dictionaries posted the example of "ironing in teinnei-manner" !!!!!) scrupulousness, and finally, politeness including our "teinie-go", polite parlance. Western definitions throws it in the interpersonal relationships box, something "visible" from the outside. It's so not that.


Laura Fry said...

I find weaving itself - the actual treadling, throwing the shuttle and beating - becomes a working meditation.

But I like the concept of approaching life with more mindfulness, more kindness. I will have to think on this in regards to my own life.

Thank you for sharing.

Leigh said...

I've always thought that the only way to get an accurate glimpse of a culture is to study its language. A language isn't just words and grammar, it's complex concepts built on a world view. That's what makes language studies so fascinating. And ultimately difficult.

For example, every time I bump into a Japanese textile/fiber arts technique, I can't help but be impressed and filled with admiration for the cultural components. My own country has been so overly industrialized that we are programmed from an early age to focus solely on productivity and profit. That so misses the mark about what creativity is all about.

Meg said...

Don't forget to iron scrupulously.

Even describing grammar is difficult because we don't conjugate, for e.g., but attach suffixes; we don't have single/multiples built in the grammar but ways of expressing them if you must; we don't use "I" and almost never "my" in sentences but you understand it in the context, although on rare occasions we ask clarifications. And then there is the social hierarchy. I do get frustrated with facile "translations" and try to use, in NZ, Maori words instead of translating them when that's more appropriate.

This is probably why I never became a translator/interpreter. Business was easier than literature or daily conversations, but still, tricky.

Meg said...

Can you imagine, though, studying just a few languages but in some depth to discover there is so much colours, flavors and nuances we never knew existed? I remember this happening learning a French verb tense in college, from memory untranslatable straight into English and only describable using in a whole clause in Japanese. Sends shivers down my spine imagining about the possibilities. If only we had 60 hours to the day and I had the mental stamina!