After you returned from a vacation, have you ever let your packed suitcase sit for a few days? I do that all the time. I do it so I can enjoy the lingering fragrance of a foreign country a bit longer. If I just unpacked the suitcase immediately, it would feel as if the journey never happened, … Continue reading Day Zero – The Kyoto adventure begins (with the help of time travel)
I spent the last weekend in Napa Valley, probably America's most famous wine region. We met some wine enthusiasts, and they mentioned the documentary SOMM. It is about a group of four professional sommeliers who prepare for "the hardest test you've never heard of" to earn the Master Sommelier diploma, the highest ranking certificate a wine … Continue reading Dedication, Obession – what I learnt from SOMM
Japanese gardeners and craftsmen take special pride in (and extra care of) their tools - and I begin to understand why.
I have returned safely to San Francisco and settled back in to my so-called normal life. To continue my Japanese garden training here, I volunteer at the Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, the oldest Japanese garden & estate in the western hemisphere.
Travelling from one end of the time zone (Japan, GMT +9 hours) via the other end (Hawaii, GMT -10 hours) to arrive in San Francisco (GMT -7 hours) has given me with the longest 1st of July ever: 42 hours! A lot of time to think about the last 89 days. After spending the morning at … Continue reading Day 90 – A very long day of gratitude – 感謝
The last day of my trip. On Sunday night we finished the tsuboniwa at the Mamezen Ramen shop in Kyoto (豆禅). I woke up early this morning to take some pictures of the garden - here is one of them, there are more to come: Mamezen owner and Yuba-Ramen chef Minoru Yonekawa: The … Continue reading Day 89 – Kyoto has a new garden
買っちゃった。。。庭師にとって欠かすことのできない道具：地鏝。 One of the tools a japanese niwashi (gardener) cannot do without: A jigote (pronounce gee-go-te). It is a tool used for digging in small spaces, forming landscapes, moving soil, scraping, cutting etc. Until now I have been borrowing one from a senpai who is abroad for the moment, and I found it extremely useful. … Continue reading Day 63 – Japanese tools: Jigote (地鏝 じごて)
On the way back after a long afternoon and evening of setting stones Senpai K-San shared one of Oyakata's wise words with me: 庭造りは決断の連続だ。 - Creating gardens is continuous decision making. 勇気が必要だと思いますね。枝を切る勇気。枝を残す勇気。石の設置を決める勇気。I think one needs courage to build gardens - to prune a tree, to set a stone, to skip cleaning a place in favor … Continue reading Day 73 – Making decisions and building gardens
After 4 free days, its off to the gardens again! Senpai K-san and I are building a tsuboniwa garden the Mamezen Ramen Shop in Kyoto. The picture was taken behind my apartment, it is not the garden... Although I see room for improvement.
Summer has arrived in Kyoto, it is around 30 degree Celsius. I work outside and although it is demanding and I am very tired sometimes, I feet light and happy to be here. There are ups and downs, but by now I feel part of the team: Our faces, hands and shirts are dirty, but … Continue reading Day 56 – Like a Lotus flower – Creating beauty from dirt