I was on a two week guided tour of Japan two years ago. The trip of a lifetime. I have to go back one day. The Japanese have an incredible estethic eye. You can just point your camera and click and you get amazing pictures.
Like this gold palace on a quiet fall morning, with a perfect mirror image.
Among the many things that fascinated me, was the appreciation people had for the crafts.
We were so lucky to be able to participate in a 150 year old tea ceremony, as the only foreigners. We were told how to behave, and the ritual for receiving the cup and how to drink the tea. Yes, there were rules for all of it:) The last part of the ceremony was to sit and appreciate our cups; all different, all handmade and some of them very old. Looking around, even not understanding the language, you could see the ladies in their finery showing each other the cups and just enjoying the craftmanship.
Our guide told us that this was a part of their culture - and she put it down into three simple words: enjoying the moment. They are always so busy, but they manage to stop, even if it is just for a short minute, and just enjoy a beautiful sight. Like just stopping and looking at the rain. Or sitting down and enjoying the first snow. Just for a brief minute. Then you are off to do your job.
I started thinking about our busy lives, and how we never do that. So returning back to Norway, into heavy rain..... I stopped for a minute and just looked. I hate rain, as it always is cold and makes everything grey, but for the first time in my life I saw that there were beauty in rain, too. And in the first snow - though I hate that, too:) Though I lapse constantly, now and then it is so enriching to really look and see - like the marina I drive past every morning. How the moon, in the winter, and the sun in the summer, puts different colour on the sea.
And I really adhered to the momentary enjoyment when we visited a craft center and was shown the latest fall fashion in kimonos! I could stare at them for hours.
Visiting a temple a few days later, we came in the middle of a ceremony for seven year old girls (I think they were seven) as they were presented in the temple. All in these perfect little copies of kimonos. I thought this mother and daughter were just beautiful together.
I found this book: Quilting with Japanese fabrics, by Kitty Pippin when I returned home. This quilts has been haunting me ever since. One of these days I will make my own version of it to commemorate my trip to Japan.