this cutie was taken by Crazyegg95 in 2005 and is from flickr

lizardrinking
for the main blog of poetry, whimsy and maybe beauty, now http://theheartbeatsoftly.wordpress.com/


Saturday, 21 June 2008

shoji

Things the mobile phone camera cannot capture:

  • full moon in the star-kissed sky,
  • flute and bossanova guitar playing El condor Pasa (under the star-kissed sky),
  • history of the buildings surrounding the barbeque where El condor Pasa is being played under the almost full moon star kissed-sky.

I wish it could. It's a good little phone. Takes some nice flower shots - and there is the shot above, taken at sunset, sun's rays streaking weathered wood. But, it could be an old building anywhere. Ambience is not apparent.

Even so. This is part of an old landowner family's property. Most of these kinds of properties have been transformed into museums; not many people live in them any more. But this family still does. The wife of the family married into the landowning family. She comes from an old sake brewing family. Once a year they open the house up as she has a beautiful garden. The roses are particularly famous. All the mobile phone pictures were blurry, so I won't post them. Other rooms are opened where art works are on display, and this year, for the first time, there were two concerts.

The property borders a lake which used to be part of the property, but which the family donated to the city. The photograph below (which is not of the property) is maybe a scene that people like to think is traditionally Japanese. And it is, but people just don't really live this way, due to lack of space, any more. It was only those who had money who used to live this way, too. This is a shot of a garden at a temple which google provided for me. So sorry original photo taker.


The reason for me posting it is that we were in a room (not tatami) that opened up onto the garden like this. Two guest musicians played the flute and guitar (bossanova style) to a contingent of locals. The area is a rural area, and so it may have been a room full of older Japanese farmers who were enjoying the bossanova in a traditional Japanese room which overlooked the garden and the lake. Some saw an anomoly, and to a degree there was. But the music and the room were beautiful and, as such, were invigorating to the spirit. Plus, some of the ladies in the audience were from my swimming club, and I know them as very interesting people. Not to say that farmers are not interesting, but it is not the view that is always held of them. One of the older ladies had in fact gone to Vienna with a music group she belongs to, to play the flute in a cathedral. Something I don't think I'll be doing in my life (don't know how to play a flute, for one).

Being foreign is often a lucky thing. Or a favoured foreigner. That and being a friend of a friend. My supervisor knows the owners of this property quite well, and they had invited her to a barbeque after the concert. As I attended the concert with her, I was invited too. Big yards, tall trees, places that date back more than a couple of hundred years, a full moon, and the musicians coming to join us afterwards. The owners of the property and their family and friends, urbane people with fluent English who had spent many years studying overseas, local people with fluent English and sophisticated ideas. However, Japanese was the language of choice, and so I just sat back and enjoyed the atmosphere for the most part,my boss translating anything very important or interesting as the need arose. Did I feel intimidated? Somewhat, but life is what it is.

Soon the older trees, which are tall enough to tower over that building in the first photo, will be knocked down, as will the old wall that skirts the property, as the road outside gets widened. The huge gate will remain, but will be moved back from the road. Though it does mean that the road will be safer, nobody wants to see the trees go. Japan does not value certain aspects of its heritage - or the officials in city hall don't. At this point of my life, I've been lucky to witness this little window, the shoji doors edged open to let in the sun.

2 comments:

anglophile said...

Thanks for taking me there in my mind. It is a shame that the attitude of preservation is not more prevalent. Once things have been destroyed, you can't get them back.

someone somewhere said...

Beautiful post. 6-y.o. daughter was asking me just yesterday about the meaning of the 'in' in 'inseperatable.' So then we were thinking up examples of other 'in' words. When i see her next I'll have to add 'incongruous.'

this cutie was taken by Crazyegg95 in 2005 and is from flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/crazyegg95/69994802/

lizardrinking