Back in 2007, prior to my move to Monterey in California I sat in on a Noh theater play at the Art Institute of Chicago. My long-time fascination with stark and unusual Japanese culture turned up a very beautiful gem. Noh is like nothing you've experienced before. The sonic characteristics and visual culture are almost at odds with American aesthetic. You've got patterned kimonos, and at the very end a spider, represented by one of the Noh actors who comes out and sprays the audience with rolled streamers of thin tissue paper. The webs go out all over the stage.
It is a wonder. Now, on the other end of the spectrum we have butoh. More on that another time. Butoh can either be really awful, or quite beautiful depending on the performance. Back to Noh though; I caught a very good anniversary performance. Noh has only been performed in the U.S. several times, so I was very lucky to sit in on the celebration. Concerning island nations; all isolated peoples gain admiration from the continents for their arts.