Penguin Environmental Design

Image of Beautiful “Noise”? – Happy Fourth of July!

Have you ever seen fireworks from where you cannot hear the noise they make? I did once. It was surreal. I wanted to shout “where is the sound?”. Japanese landscape often has wonderful quiet quality as I said in  “Image of Quietness and of Japanese Space“, our last blog. But it also includes images that must be accompanied by […]

Cat’s Eye View of Japanese Architecture vol.4 – Exploring on the Roofs

Japanese townscapes are often referred to as “roofscapes”. When you look at a town from a hill top or a castle, you only see the tiled roofs, either as a mass or as waving lines. But that is not how cats see the roofs. Cats love jumping over gaps and climbing  series of small height differences. Japanese […]

Longing for the Coming of Spring

What tells you the coming of spring? It really depends on person. I happened to see a robin near my house the other day. It definitely was a sign of spring coming. One of my favorites when I think of spring is Japanese apricot or Ume in Japanese (Prunus mume). Its flowers open up in […]

Sansui- Mountains and Water in Japanese Gardens

At our talk in April in New York, among a variety of questions we were happy to receive, there was an interesting one that could be called a linguestic question: “What does sansui (山水) mean? Does it mean nature or a garden?” In Japanese, san (山) means a mountain and sui (水) means water. Combined, […]

Kamo River – Water to divide life and death

In Japan,  people think that water sometimes becomes a border to divide two different worlds. Kamo River, which runs through Kyoto City, also used to be thought as the border to separate the world for the living from that for the dead. There was a crematory in the area called Toribeno. This area is located at […]

Japanese + Modern