Right now, I am in a very small hotel room in Tokyo with a mosquito. Now and again, I hear it, or see it. I leap to my feet and chase it, slapping at it with inept aim, knocking over the lamp once and stubbing my toe on the bed twice. But is it still among the living, plotting mindlessly to siphon off a tiny amount of blood and leave an annoying itch. The little fucker.
The fear of a mosquito bite is not commensurate to periodic dancing around a hotel room. But the need for focus while I write is. The whine of a mozzie is utterly distracting, worse than heavy construction and near to a baby’s wail. And without focus, I cannot write. And without writing, well, I cease to exist—to you at least. So it is important that I – oh wait.
Nope, didn’t get him this time either, but the mirror is now askew and I’m not sure how to make it right without breaking the little attachments to the wall.
Ha! Got him. I mean her. Odd little fact, that: only female mosquitoes bite. They need the blood for their eggs. Male mozzies don’t bite. I do not know what they eat. Decided to dawdle by the base of the lamp and after fifteen or so whacks with my hand, which is now red and sore, I squished her.
Finally, I can get on with my blog.
This one is like scratching at the base of a gargantuan sand dune with the intention of ordering the grains into meaningful patterns. You see, I’ve never been to Japan before, have just completed 9 days her visiting museums, temples restaurants and ryokans, and am so full of renewed life that the translation of it would fill endless volumes. But as you’re nearly bored to tears already, I’ll get on with the pictures.
What’s the big deal? you say, I’ve seen cooler design, more beautiful things than that. It’s pretty common place. And grubby. And you’re right. I’ve got nothing more to say about it, so let’s move on.
OK, How about this, then? A little gate roof at an 15th century temple. I figure the gate roof isn’t that old, but it’s still not brand new. Just look at it.
This is becoming annoying, you say? A moss covered piece of wood? Fine. I’ll try you on something else then.
Think about this: the temple of Horyu-ji, founded in the early 7th century, containing the oldest wooden structures, still standing, in the world. Different sources say different things about what parts are original and what parts burned and were replaced, the guides there pointed to this walkway as the oldest surviving part. Just look at it, 1300 years young. Wood. Look at that design. Just look at it.
Fine. I get the point. I'm sorry. Here. I saw a traditional wedding at another temple and got permission to photograph the bride and groom. Just look at them.
Just look at that hair.
That's real hair, by the way, not a wig. I have no idea how they do that. I didn't ask.
And then there's this. In the garden of the Nezu museum in Tokyo.
Now you might be getting angry again. What is it with moss-covered things? Fine. Let's move on.
In Nara, the tame deer wandering about the temples feed on a steady diet of wholesome crackers, for sale in every tourist stall for 100 yen, fed to them by children when then run away squealing because the tongue felt funny.
And yes, Hello Kitty is ubiquitous in Japan. Just roll with it.
Now, maybe, you're ready for this: the largest wooden structure in the world, a temple with the largest Buddha in the world. Just look at the scale of the people in front. Note the slope-of-Mt.-Fuji walkways leading up to it. Just look at it.
Where are the people? you might ask. I did travel with one and see many. But this is a woodworking blog. So I will end with a forest, where I practiced shinrin yoku. Just feel glad I've spared you from hundreds of architectural detail images with comments such as "look at that amazing craftsmanship."
Ok, one more.