Sadly my time here at RJG has come to an end, all too quickly! I would like to leave with a little note of thank you and my parting thoughts…
Why did I come to Japan to study gardens? Because here, gardening is not just about gardens. The tea ceremony is not just about tea. Through time, every aspect of the daily life became a deeply considered practice. It extends not only to the superficial, but also to the very core of life and our place in the universe. I have come to realize that the reason I love this culture and its land so much, is this: the dedication and thought that across centuries has poured a depth of meaning into every action. This culture has an incredible awareness of the self and of the life outside of the self, which results in a great harmony between people as well as between people and nature. The evolved strain of Buddhism and Shinto beliefs here only acts to inspire. Unfortunately, it is not something we find in the Western mind – but open it up, and there is a possibility to gain understanding.
Through my time at RJG I have had the opportunity to delve into many books concerning traditional Japanese gardens, covering many aspects from the centrally important stones with unique characters, plants layering from the infinitely small and oft unconsidered mosses to the great and wise trees whom have seen many a decade turn, to the interminably intricate and painstakingly crafted architecture of temples, teahouses and their essential gateways.
To say there are many traditional gardens in Japan is an understatement, as is to say that they have many facets. Each one is unique, with an individual creator with their own ideas and perspective on life and Buddhism. From these ideas have stemmed many niches, pockets, crevices and pools within the garden. Their depth is only known by those who work, and thus study, every day in them. Even then their full complexity can barely be comprehended. I have learnt that these works of art painted by both nature and man are timeless; we still have so much to learn from them. I hope to carry on learning through visiting and reading about them.
I would like to sincerely thank my ‘senpai’s’ Anika and Mr Hayano for all their guidance and imparting so much knowledge about these incredible gardens. It has been a pleasure! It was especially exciting to actually visit many of the gardens whilst in Kyoto – thank you once again.
I hope you have enjoyed my blog posts and have also been able to learn some more about the traditional Japanese garden, architecture and more modern gardens. Over the next month, I will leave you with a further series of blogs that I have written from my research on the history of traditional Japanese gardens. Keep on reading! 🙂