Cheerful Music and Mindful Landscape

Cheerful Music and Mindful Landscape

Posted by on Jul 9, 2017 in Architecture, Blog, Space for Well-being, Urbanism

If you are in Kyoto in early July, you hear some lively music every evening at different parts of the town. Neighborhood musicians are practicing traditional instrumental music, Ohayashi, to be ready for their performance on the top of parading floats (Yamaboko) . I was there ten years ago strolling and listening to the tunes, feeling comfortable and calm. I am sure may people would feel the same. But come to think of it, Ohayashi is not a quiet kind of music, cheerful with bells, drums, and flutes. You can hear that in this video. Why should you feel comfortable and calm, then?   Two things must have contributed to it. One is memory of […]

Image of Beautiful “Noise”? – Happy Fourth of July!

Image of Beautiful “Noise”? – Happy Fourth of July!

Posted by on Jul 1, 2017 in Blog

Have you ever seen fireworks from where you cannot hear the noise they make? I did once. It was surreal. I wanted to shout “where is the sound?”. Japanese landscape often has wonderful quiet quality as I said in  “Image of Quietness and of Japanese Space“, our last blog. But it also includes images that must be accompanied by noises to be felt beautiful. So enjoy the beautiful noise of fireworks this longer weekend (for some). HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY !

Image of Quietness and of Japanese Space

Image of Quietness and of Japanese Space

Posted by on Jun 25, 2017 in Architecture, Blog, Landscape Architecture

What kind of images will you have in your mind when you hear the word, quiet? I have recently been reading the book “Quiet” by Susan Cain, which prompted me this question. My quick search of this word on Google Images showed me, as I thought it might, many images of Japanese landscape and architecture. Why? Cain’s book gives us a hint on why modern American spaces do not show up on Google to represent quietness. Cain, by quoting from Warren Susman, says that “Every American was to become a performing self” in the early 20th century. If everyone is a performer, then the space around you is a stage set […]

Cat’s Eye View of Japanese Architecture vol.4 – Exploring on the Roofs

Cat’s Eye View of Japanese Architecture vol.4 – Exploring on the Roofs

Posted by on Jun 8, 2017 in Architecture, Blog

Japanese townscapes are often referred to as “roofscapes”. When you look at a town from a hill top or a castle, you only see the tiled roofs, either as a mass or as waving lines. But that is not how cats see the roofs. Cats love jumping over gaps and climbing  series of small height differences. Japanese houses are built close each other, yet often not exactly in the same style. Their roofs provide plenty of opportunities for cats to jump and climb in order to survive, enjoy, and show off their ability. “Roofscapes” from cat’s point of view is a series of fun scenes, not a mass viewed from far above. Japanese […]

Longing for the Coming of Spring

Longing for the Coming of Spring

Posted by on Mar 5, 2017 in Blog

What tells you the coming of spring? It really depends on person. I happened to see a robin near my house the other day. It definitely was a sign of spring coming. One of my favorites when I think of spring is Japanese apricot or Ume in Japanese (Prunus mume). Its flowers open up in February in Japan. When I was in Japan, it was often Ume that informed me the arrival of spring.