My Japanese Nata (鉈) – pride, joy and pain

Japanese gardeners and craftsmen take special pride in (and extra care of) their tools - and I begin to understand why.

Back in San Francisco – Continuing my Japanese training (self-conducted)

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.

Declared goal: Pack light

I will test-pack today. I started to aim for minimalism when I first moved to Japan in 2010. We cleared out our flat, so everything except for very few precious memories had to go. I freecycled a lot in preparation for the trip. Since then moving countries and homes kept me from accumulating a lot of … Continue reading Declared goal: Pack light

Learning by Copying – how I met my Mr. Miyagi

In December last year, I found myself in San Francisco's Japan Town, walking towards my car with a stack of Japanese garden plans under my arm. What had just happened? I did not know… 40 minutes earlier – I enter the office of Y-san. It instantly takes me back to Japan. Fluorescent lighting, old gift … Continue reading Learning by Copying – how I met my Mr. Miyagi

Sandboxing with polymeric sand

Polymeric sand - the setup

So I ordered this table top sand box – in order to better understand the spatial dimensions of Japanese gardens. I do not want to copy single Japanese garden in minute detail, but rather understand how the proportions and dimensions of the design work. I also use them to better understand the levels of an … Continue reading Sandboxing with polymeric sand