Section = 005_6


“But the environment is not about ideals. It was a great failing of the twentieth century to think of the environment as an object that could be replaced.” (Ohno, in Maki, 2000a:36)

“but a transient abode” (Ashihara, 1989:59)

This Shinto-Buddhist Tokyo gardening
Shinto because a cyclical, ad hoc, non-hierarchical, decentralized, fragmented, HARMONY of the earth (from Shelton, 1999:153,155; Smith, 1978:48).
Buddhist because impermanent, dynamic, growing decaying. All things arising and passing away in the constant coexistence of opposite states (concrete/dirt, life/death, control/freedom, fast/slow, commerce/gifts) (from Shelton, 1999:157; Smith, 1978:48; also Lin 2007:117, Ashihara, 1989:18, 24; Kurokawa, 1991:chpt10), designed to be viewed close up (Ashihara, 1989:90 discussing Buddhist architecture[1])

finds strength in submission, beauty in irregularity[2] – touching lightly on the land, admitting the elements and succumbing to time – and (much like the city itself) possesses an inherent flexibility for multidirectional and infinite growth (Shelton, 1999:159, 164) – ephemeral, bubbles forming, floating, vanishing and reforming[3] imbued with personality of place (Jinnai, 1995: 18). Noncommittal[4]. Gestalten[5]. The city can be created, perceived and understood as an additive texture in which preference is given to the parts in a network (patchwork? POTSCAPE?) of “independent” places (Bognar, 1985:67 in Shelton, 1999:46) where multifarious urban and agricultural phenomena sit, stand on and burrow over and into their particular patches with remarkable visual and functional autonomy (Shelton, 1999:46) and built objects blur and often disappear (Ashihara, 1989:57) while retaining vivid presence.

[1] See also Kurokawa (1991:chpt5) – description of Katsura Detached Palace (and Bruno Taut’s simplistic evaluation of it).

[2] Ashihara (1989:86)

[3] From the early thirteenth century Hojoki describing the houses of the capital and their residents (in Smith, 1978:48; see Kamo no Chomei (in refs)).

[4] A singular, fluid quality similar to the layout of the Japanese house where space is not clearly bedroom or living room or dining room (it may be all three) – which has possibly influenced noncommittal behaviour and ambigious Japanese thinking (Ashihara, 1989:13).

[5] Ashihara (1989:18) citing F.G. Winter’s discussion of Gestalt psychology – fluid, impermanent.