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Posts Tagged ‘Japan’

p1010561Sampling Hot , cold, or sparkling Sake is a Japanese must. So we did indeed do some of that !

Sake  is made from rice and water, which are fermented together then pasteurised to create a wine-like drink.

p1010564Taruzake (cask sake)is matured in wooden casks made of cypress . These casks are often presented to Shinto shrines as offerings and can be beautifully decorative as the images below may well bear out !

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I love the immediacy and very graphic content of the designs . Black and that orange red certainly catch the eye visually.

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a visit to the house of Kawai Kanjiro was truly inspirational -not only for seeing the artworks of the folk potter himself but really for the chance to enjoy the garden that has been created around the house .

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a very unassuming door sign belies the treasures found within.Typically first appearances were deceptive.. a very closed black entrance way …

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and what was behind the door ? – a magical almost musical box of a house clearly crafted with storage,space  and light in mind.

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from one moment we moved from soaring ceilings to another more intimate series of small collections of text and images .

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simple crafted furniture pieces set like sculptures

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with an economical use of materials and a wonderful resonating patina of age and use

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and then the views through the windows and out into the garden

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from pots , to giant kilns, to artfully organised plants and sculptural pieces

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A lucky cat with some money on his head – a winner !

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and then there was a ghostly gheisha caught through a shoji screen portal !

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a great calmness came upon us as we wandered around this perfectly crafted space

 

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plants carefully chosen seemed to have a particular vibrancy and vigour in this protected space and those plants who arrive by chance also eagerly exploit the situation to their own ends !

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p1000797Pathways , bridges and ways of walking to places are particularly significant in Japan.so it seemed only right that I should talk a bit about these .

In the gardens we visited ,the pathways (often out of bounds it has to be said ) tantalisingly led away up hillsides and out of view .But the construction was so beautiful, exact and precise with just the right sized stones and composition fitting together perfectly.

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larger stones formed the main path way with all the smaller stones fitting in around it to make the perfect route directing your eye down the slope. And then when you intersperse with plants and water the pathways become that much more beautiful.

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there is a sparseness and an equanimity of detail that also appeals to me .

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simple stepping stones also take on a rare beauty of their own.

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but the mystery of a pathway that leads away into  plants is ever tantalising to me and is maybe what makes our Sussex Prairies so enveloping and welcoming !

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and who also doesn’t love a lush planted pathway inviting you into a house ?

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There are feasts for the eyes a plenty in Japan from dawn to dusk but take time to cast your eyes downwards to the pavement and you will be well treated .Firstly you notice that Japan is immaculately kept . Tidy and pristine in the extreme . There is no rubbish to be seen anywhere .Streets  are beautifully clean without a scrap of litter . In fact they probably are scrubbed clean on a daily basis.So if you look down underfoot you catch rare treats aplenty.

Here an exquisite  threshold mosaic makes a very simple statement as you enter a property …..

P1020592.JPGI had already clocked the delightful love of ornament and pictorial  fancy that abounds in Japan so I wasn’t surprised to see that this playful decorative vibe also extends to the street scene itself .

p1010763Man hole covers are the first thing that are up for grabs for a bit of decorative adornment .P1010784.JPG

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And what about a few decorative pavement tiles thrown in for good measure! I love these two birds which I came upon by pure accident and which were beautifully inserted into an otherwise unremarkable pavement surface.

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and what about a panda tile for good measure ?

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p1010748Its not just size that matters – Space matters in Japan .Finding that luxury of an inch  is precious, so making that every inch count in gardening terms is crucial. And so it is with squeezing your green spaces into an urban environment.

p1000632Looking for a leaf- squeeze it in a brick-thick slither of ground next to your front door.But it has to compete with all the other paraphernalia of life at the same time.

p1000690Looking for that green gasp of texture – shoehorn it into a pot or container artfully cramped on the threshold.There is rare beauty captured in a second.

p1020166Collections of pots seems to work as well to build up a range of textures and variations on a theme – very much a theme of -green.

p1000651And there is of course the very essence of the thing which is all about control and discipline.An ikebana of a paring down to what is essential and what can be taken away until all you can see is the chosen plant or planting. The bare essentials of a garden.

p1010298I admit I feel like I am in a bit of a strait jacket here in this place.Straining against the constraint .Japan – This place of extreme control.I long for our wide open space of Sussex Prairies. I yearn for that voluptuous exuberance of planting again .. oh for that luxury of space.

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