Saturday, May 22, 2010

Japanese Flavor-The Portland Japanese Garden

Some landscape samples and bonsai pics from the Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon. The garden, built nearly fifty years ago, exhibits much of the symbolism found in Japanese mythology, which is rooted largely in Animism. Everywhere you look, there are stones, azaleas, pathways and arbors, all placed in a manner that direct the eye towards a hidden shape or area of the garden previously unnoticed. This is a common theme in Japanese Gardens. It is a way of reminding the viewer of the naked reality that the universe we live in is alive and thinking and intelligent and full of hidden knowledge, meaning, and purpose. It is a feeling that every tree, boulder, or clearing of perfect rich green moss is the home of some attentive spirit, or watchful deity. A stone may lean in a way that seems to be the result of chance alone, but upon further inspection, it becomes clear that it is full of purpose, namely that of guiding the eye upwards towards an acutely placed Maple or Pine tree, and thus carrying the eye, and ones mind, toward heaven and stillness. That every object is sacred and alive, and perhaps even has a name and a specific duty, is the theme of a true Japanese garden. In fact, this animistic mantra is carried throughout nearly every aspect of Japanese culture, from comic books to animation to cooking utensils, the layout of temple structures and even breakfast cereal.

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