History of Japanese aesthetics 1: the Heian period and Mono no aware

Roll back the clock 1,000 years to the Heian Era to find the origin of the elusive and ambiguous Japanese aesthetics where the aristocrats explored the culture of “mono no aware.” It is amazing to find how much the aesthetic style had changed, but the fundamentals remain the same to this day.

History of Japanese aesthetics 3: Muromachi and wabi-sabi

Hiroshige’s ukiyo-e through the lens of Frank Lloyd Wright

Chapter 3-4: Tai’an – Rikyu’s microcosmic teahouse

“Tai-an” is the ultimate small tea hut, designed by the legendary tea master Sen no Rikyu. According to architect Kengo Kuma: “You won’t understand what Tai-an is all about until you actually crawl into this small hut and experience the very moment when the building, which is almost as small as your body, starts dissolving and enveloping your body softly and lightly, as if it were your clothes.”

Abundance by absence in music: “Absolutely on Music” by Haruki Murakami and Seiji Ozawa

In his conversation with Haruki Murakami, Seiji Ozawa explains effective “ma” in music, a Japanese concept that places void in between sequences.

Chapter 4: Abundance by absence

Tofukuji kare-sansui by Mirei Shigemori

Japanese artist Mirei Shigemori (1896 – 1975) infused fresh energy into the traditional Japanese Zen rock garden (kare-sansui). Tofuku-ji Hojo garden in Kyoto is one of the most acclaimed works of his that still survives to this day. Find how traditional and modern, classic and avant-garde blend in his work while maintaining the serenity of Zen.

Katsura Imperial Villa (Katsura Rikyu)

Katura Rikyu (Imperial Villa), built during the 17th century in Kyoto by an aristocrat family, is often dubbed as the culmination of traditional Japanese architecture. Its simplicity is very “modern.” You will be amazed how the fine, subtle lines define architecture so cleanly and potently, and how it dissolves into nature seamlessly but elegantly.

Bay Area Maker Faire: Not for beginners because…

2017 Bay Area Maker Faire just completed its 3days celebration. Whereas it’s huge and comprehensive, it may not be good for beginners. Why?

Demystifying the mysteries of Japanese aesthetics

What’s the common secret behind traditional Zen arts/culture, wabi-sabi, MUJI, Japanese architecture, sushi and Totoro? It’s the unique approach toward nature.

My Neighbor Totoro: honest face of nature

Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli’s drama-free, anti-climax “My Neighbor Totoro” reminds us how humans used to interact with nature. Totoro was not imaginary 50 years ago. He was next the kids who used to venture out to explore honest, raw face of nature when adults weren’t watching. Nature was the teacher for children, and Totoro was their capricious and ambiguous guardian.

Abundance by subtraction in music: piano & Nobuyuki Tsujii

Japanese pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii cannot see. Yest his music is so powerful. A river runs through his music. What’s so special about his piano play?

Tradition of shoe repair: it’s about renewing relationships

We are obsessed with shoes. A pair that perfectly fits our feet is hard to find. When we repair such pairs, we are renewing our relationships with them.

Kintsugi: Repair beyond repair

Kintsugi” is a traditional Japanese technique to repair broken ceramics, but it’s something that will change your definition of “repair.” Using glue and gold or silver powder, Kintsugi “heals” injured ceramics and give them new life, embracing the wound. It is fascinating.

The history of Japanese aesthetics (1) – Mono no aware that “utsurou”

Roll back the clock 1,000 years to the Heian Era to find the origin of the elusive and ambiguous Japanese aesthetics where the aristocrats explored the culture of “mono no aware.” It is amazing to find how much the aesthetic style had changed, but the fundamentals remain the same to this day.

Kare-sansui (Japanese Zen rock garden): ultimate beauty of absence

Is it color? Or is it absence of color? White: color of Zero

Is white a color? Or is it absence of color? Discover through Harunobu Suzuki’s Ukiyo-e.