7000 Wonders

7000 Wonders

ArticleKey#6: JapaneseGarden

Edward Porper

Edward Porper

2 min read

English grammar would strongly disapprove of this entry's title - and yet… When it comes to expressions like “Japanese sidewalks or /trains/trees/ cars”, and such, the former word is an adjective indicating that the following noun is either located in Japan, or made there. However, a vast majority of “Japanese gardens” are scattered all over the world outside of Japan, and all their ingredients - be it ponds, fish, flowers or simple plants - are completely domestic. Using “Japanese” as an adjective to describe them would therefore be not only confusing, but also outright wrong. In other words, “JapaneseGarden” is more of a “trademark” - an essentially proper name identifying a unique concept. The picture above helps to explain that concept.

The picture proper consists of four basic elements: gravel, stones, shrubs and what looks like brown soil. Each element is carefully manicured - gravel is painstakingly raked to make an impression of a billowing sea, stones are cut to size and placed strategically, while shrubs trimmed and shaped to provide a harmonious background - and, combined, they create a picture that lets one's imagination run wild, and delights the tastebuds of one's soul. Dancing ships, exotic fruit, and the famous statues of Rapa Nui (Easter Island) are all hidden among the stones or beneath the gravel. Whoever designed that masterpiece, the designer's thought reached the most profound depths of philosophy, and it soared to dizzy heights of sheer beauty - yet, nothing but the simplest, most mundane materials were used. Exactly that seems to be the “Japanese” part of the above-mentioned “trademark” - the uncanny ability to find the sublime in the seemingly mundane, and the deep, intuitive understanding that sometimes/often less is more.