Not sure where I heard about Sei Shonagon first, but for sure the reason to go look for the works of this writer was a list or a book by Pieter Steinz (I do not believe that only now, while I am writing this blog post, I found his wordpress blog).
I found a second hand edition of Het Hoofdkussenboek / The Pillow Book on Marktplaats and within a few days the book arrived and I could undo it from it’s tightly wrapped cover of newspaper and brown tape.
The book immediately reminded me of the atmosphere that Cees Nooteboom creates in his writing on his travels through Japan (Van de lente de dauw / there is no english translation ?!), and the feel from the pictures of artists like Hokusai.
Shonagon sketches a unique image of the life of aristocracy in the 10th century. The book inspires you to take your notebook and go walk around and document everything that’s happening around you, and realize nothing is really as self-evident and mundane as you think when you are in the middle of it every day.