After leaving Kyoto, we headed back to Tokyo as we had one last day in Japan and didn’t want a super heavy travel day on our last day traveling back home. We enjoyed the train ride, getting a glimpse of Mt. Fuji as we passed through Shizuoka! Hiking Mt. Fuji is something I would love to do someday.
We stayed at the Keio Plaza Hotel and enjoyed our stay very much! Near the hotel was a shopping mall, restaurants, a fun arcade and Sanrio Puroland. Decorations and lights were everywhere to celebrate Christmas. The Japanese love Christmas! One of the things they do for the Christmas holiday is eat Japanese cheesecake and Kentucky Fried Chicken! Puroland was closed the day we were visiting, but it looked like it would be super fun to visit. Next time!
Japan is a place of deep inspiration for me. I love it for the raw beauty, fascinating culture and hospitable people. There is an ease about the Japanese people, their humble character, often confused with shyness. They are a people of order, they all know their place and where they fit it. They are extremely hardworking in everything they do. Maybe that for me is what I love most. The artists of Japan spend an entire lifetime refining and continually growing in their craft or trade. I have watched countless videos on anything from wood block printing to sumo to sushi chefs- they all take great pride in their work and that for me is something I continually strive for. I want to be the best version of myself and the Japanese inspire me to do that.
One of my favorite aesthetics of Japanese design is in the garden. In a traditional Japanese garden, design emphasis is placed on the balance of yin/yang, harmony, mystery, and meaning. Here are some of the fundamentals in Japanese landscape design:
1 Gravel or sand- “Karesansui”-which in Japanese, translates as “dry mountain water”. This style of landscape is meant to be viewed but never entered- except for raking and maintenance purposes.
2 Rocks- Each selected as a work of art and it’s shape, color, texture, and character are carefully considered.
3 Plants- The seasons dictate which plants to use. Each plant is selected for its leaf colors, bark, stems- even branch pattern. Asymmetry is the goal.
4 Water- Represents change. It represents impermanence: it flows. A stream, pond, lake or even just a simple granite water basin creates ambient sound that’s conductive to meditation.
5 Paths- Paths are meant to guide you through the garden and are constructed in such a way that a visitor must move carefully and slowly through the garden.