Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Admiration of the moon.

I once visited the House of Light by James Turrell in Niigata. It was autumn, and the house was surrounded by susuki (Japanese pampas grass).

Although a work of art, you can stay in the House of Light overnight.

The night fell, and some delicious dishes were brought by the house staff. While my fellow travelers stayed inside chatting over glasses of sake, I wondered out to the large engawa and lay there.
It was full moon. The moonbeam was shining on everything, on the susuki, on me, on the trees. There was a gentle wind. The insects of the autumn were chirping sweet and consoling music.

I suddenly realized that it was a perfect setting for Tsukimi. The admiration of the moon, especially at autumn times, is deeply rooted in Japanese culture. I have been accustomed to such festivities since childhood, but I have never realized that there could be such a harmony of surrounding elements for the observation of the moon.

I also realized, with a pang of realization, that with the modernizations of Japan a perfect setting for moon admiration has become hard to come by. It was almost like a remorse. In Tokyo, and in many urbanized areas, it is no more possible to find a suitable environment for conducting one of the venerable expressions of Japanese aesthetics in appreciation of the lunar blessing.

As I pass through life, the moon seems to be represent things that have been lost, like a symbol of sweet regret.


kirainet said...

Yes, the Moon is something that does not change with time or space, is always there, no matter where you travel, no matter when you are.

I while ago I wrote this article about Tsukumi where I tried to capture and understand how important is for Japanese just contemplating the Moon, something simple but profound in meaning.

And this is the last picture of the Moon I took from Barcelona, the next day I took this picture I traveled back to Tokyo, looked to the sky, and there it was. For a moment I thought I did not traveled for 20 hours in a plane and I was still in Barcelona.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for the beautiful essay.
The moonlight brightened my heart.

砂山鉄夫(Tetsu Sunayama) said...

A little while ago, I could have sworn that I saw Fujiwarano Teika, the greatest Waka poet(1162-1241) was standing silently in this beautiful essay.

But,naw, I lost his figure again. In late autumn...

Natural2 said...

Recently, I thought about Matsuo Bashō. Then, I introduced him to my husband and we found his haiku.
One of them is about Gassan.
雲の峰いくつ崩れて月の山- Kumonomine ikutukuzurete tukinoyama.

My husband (who is non-Japanese)was really into the moment and he now want to travel there to see the moon.

Even though I agree with Mr. Mogi that so many things, especially nature beauty, were lost in the past years in Japan. Still I hope someday when we visit, we are able to fine the kind of the moon what Bashō was seeing.

We may have a chance if we do open heart to see like you did!