Grumpy Dumpty – Daruma paintings at Toji-in (等持院) in Kyoto

The first thing you see when after you take off your shoes at Toji-in temple is a huge daruma painting at the end of a long wooden corridor. The comical rendition of a seemingly grumpy Bhodidharma, with eyes wide open, surprises and and reliefs some of the heavy, solemn atmosphere one expects when entering a … Continue reading Grumpy Dumpty – Daruma paintings at Toji-in (等持院) in Kyoto

Day 90 – A very long day of gratitude – 感謝

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

Day 63 – Japanese tools: Jigote (地鏝 じごて)

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)

Day 73 – Making decisions and building gardens

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

Day 73 – Off to the 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.

Day 56 – Like a Lotus flower – Creating beauty from dirt

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

Day 51 – The joy of tree pruning in Kyoto

My favorite work in the garden - climbing & pruning trees. One needs muscles, brain, balance and courage. A work that is thrilling and relaxing at the same time. Yesterday was the first time I was allowed to climb a tree in Kodai-ji. Some of the branches we took of were the size of a young tree … Continue reading Day 51 – The joy of tree pruning in Kyoto