JEFF NIMEH

The Four Seasons

If you visit Japan, you may be told that it is the only country that has four seasons.  On hearing this, you may claim the statement ridiculous. However, should you live here for a year or more, your doubt may well transition to belief.  For one, in Japan you learn to live 'within' each season. By this I mean your approach to heating and cooling yourself, and drying the things you wear, are dependent on the weather and season.  Laundry is line dried, and heating and cooling is done only within the room you occupy.  For the truly 'first world' country that Japan is, this is remarkable, and I believe much can be learned from this lifestyle approach.

Late November marks the peak of Autumn in Kyoto, and everyone takes time to savor the subtlety of the natural surroundings.  Landscaping is curated in a way that almost forces the viewer to observe an individual tree, flower, or leaf, instead of in clusters.  In early Autumn this year I didn't even notice the leaf color change.  I was looking for something more spectacular I think, one which characterizes the Autumn in the northeastern United States.  There is a different natural aesthetic in Japan that can go unnoticed if you don't remove your glasses.

The first image below shows a ginkgo leaf fully transformed to Autumn-gold coloration.  It is set in a ceramic piece I own by Kyoto ceramic artist, Shouhei Fujita.  (The ceramic is actually a water dropper, but for this image, I inverted it as a vase.)  The following three images show the details of a porcelain jar I recently completed.  This piece highlights 24K gold accents along with cobalt-blue porcelain inlay.  I love the look of 22 karat and 24 karat gold metal (jewelry), from which this gold surface was inspired.  Porcelain and gold will again be the themes of next week's blog entry.  See you then...