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Showing posts from May, 2018

The Painting Manual of the Mustard Seed Garden, The importance of travels for an artist, and reflections on the art of Ike No Taiga

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The Painting Manual of the Mustard Seed Garden, The Importance of travels for an artist, and reflections on the art of
Ike No Taiga

Over a thousand years ago in China, there was an artistic movement of “Literati painters.”
These were well-read artists who worked mostly with brush and ink on rice or mulberry paper.
They were more philosophers and visionaries than craftsmen or technicians.

Intentionally, their focus was not to produce pretty or accurate paintings with correct representations of people and nature, but to evoke new feelings and perspectives on life.

They wished to free the human mind from earthly bondage and to uplift the human spirit from the daily grind.
They wanted to show others the unseen world, as seen through their inner eyes.

Much like the European Impressionist painters who conveyed nature through light and feeling, these Chinese literati painters wished to show the hidden, spiritual aspect of the Natural world.

Their ideal was that one could never become a gre…

Afterthoughts about walking the Nakasendō, and Seeing Butoh in Kyoto

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Afterthoughts about walking the Nakasendō, and Seeing Butoh in Kyoto

Almost two weeks have passed since we finished walking the Nakasendo.
It feels like a lot longer time has passed since then.

The first thing we did after finishing our long walk was to settle into our comfortable apartment hotel in Kyoto.
We rented it for only two weeks, and every morning we attend JALS, the Japanese language school in the center of Kyoto.

The breakfast food I craved most while walking the Nakasendō was a simple bowl of oatmeal with fresh fruit, nuts and raisins.
We have had oatmeal every morning since we arrived in Kyoto.
I have also enjoyed making our own food, which mostly means making a bowl of salad with a baked sweet potato or some other cooked vegetables.

This simple food agrees with me now.
We also drink almost every day a glass of fresh grapefruit juice, which is in season now in Japan.

Kyoto is truly a great place.
Even though it is a big city, it is composed of many small neighborhoods.

Day 32 - Walking the Nakasendō, Japan - Finally, We Cross the Sanjō Ōhashi Bridge in Kyoto, the End of our Journey

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Day 32 - Walking the Nakasendō, Japan - Finally, We Cross the Sanjō Ōhashi Bridge in Kyoto, the End of our Journey

Today we finally arrived in Kyoto, the final destination of this foot pilgrimage, that began in Tokyo 32 days ago.

We had walked every inch of the journey between Tokyo and Kyoto, (Beside taking transportation to our hotels.)
We walked through the Central Japanese Alps, up and down mountains, across rivers and through small towns and big cities.

It was a grey and rainy day when we crossed the Sanjō Ōhashi bridge in Kyoto.
I had tears in my eyes.

We had been walking from Ōtsu, the 69th and last post town of the Nakasendo, since early morning, trying to outpace the rain.

Along the road from Ōtsu to Kyoto, we passed by a small road with a few traditional eel restaurants, wedged nowadays between the highway and the crisscrossing trains.

The mountains surrounding the ancient capital of Kyoto, full of Buddhist temples, were all around us, but the busy roads were noisy and …