Perhaps one of the most fascinating aspects of teaching was seeing the color combinations that the students put together for their exercises. There is
different color sensibility and it is not all taupes like you see used in many Japanese quilts.
There are wild combinations of melon oranges, sherbet yellows, and kiwi greens. Yes, you see the stark black, gray, red combinations. But you see so many more colors sets- many of which are somewhat jarring at first. Lots of hot pinks with yellows. This is especially true of the signage on buildings downtown. Even some of the building facades scream with color.
|Near the Ginza in Tokyo|
|Famous Shibuya crossing|
Color is accentuated with the many moving billboards, animated signs, and news feeds that give the city its exciting edge- but can also cause eye strain after too much sight seeing. And every store window is filled to the brim with wild packaging- some tasteful and some looking like a scene out of Lost in Translation.
At some point your eyes just need to rest.
|Wasabi kit kats and cracker packaging|
|An assortment of sweets|
|Moss garden in Tokyo|
|Inari Shrine in Arashimaya near Kyoto|
And that is where the gardens come in. The predominant color in the gardens and shrines is green, but then it is punctuated with wild reds and oranges. I think that the shrines are visual havens from the urban chaos which you really need. The Shinjuku Gyoen in the middle of Tokyo is a relief from the endless stimuli in the urban centers.
But even in the gardens the outside world is not far away. This ferris wheel is visible from miles around. And it is constantly turning and changing colors.