sunday post: arrangement
Sunday, March 10: Jake’s Sunday Post for this week is ARRANGEMENT.
I’ve been thinking about Asia lately, especially Korea and Japan, and how their cultures have the art of arrangement down to a tee. Here are some scenes from these two countries, showing arrangement at its finest.
Oedo Botania is an island in South Korea that’s been cultivated since 1963 by Korean couple Lee Changho and Choi Hosook; it’s the first island in Korea ever to be owned and developed by an individual. Every inch of this island is abloom with gardens and punctuated by statues. I walked along the pathways with hundreds of other Koreans who took boats from other locations in Geoje. I checked out the cactus garden, the Venus garden, the flower garden, the bamboo road, the Hope of the World garden, the Dreaming Heights, the Stairway to Heaven, and the Eden Garden. It was like a fairy-tale land bursting with beauty. The island itself was gorgeous with gardens, but the view of the surrounding ocean didn’t hurt it one bit. Most definitely, Korea does nature right!
Another country that knows how to do arrangement is Japan. Fushimi-inari-taisha Shrine was dedicated to the gods of rice and sake in the 8th century. As agriculture’s importance declined, deities were assigned to ensure prosperity in business. This is one of Japan’s most popular shrines, with these seemingly endless arcades of vermillion torii (shrine gates). The entire complex consists of 5 shrines and stretches over the wooded slopes of Inari-san. The 4km pathway up the mountain is lined with hundreds of red torii and stone foxes. The fox is believed to be the messenger of Inari, the god of cereals. Often a fox holds a key in its mouth that represents the key to the rice granary.
And elsewhere in Japan, other arrangements abound: of sand, rocks, food. Ryoan-ji, or Temple of the Peaceful Dragon is home to the famous and celebrated rock garden, the symbol of Kyoto, that draws tourists in droves to contemplate the emptiness between the rocks. It’s an oblong of meticulously raked sand with a formal collection of 15 strategically placed rocks on little beds of moss, apparently afloat in this sea of sand, and hugged by an earthen wall. The unknown creator of this garden left no explanation to its meaning, but tourists flock here to see this interesting but austere arrangement.
And finally, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, a beautiful arrangement of dipping sauces, a delight for the eye and the taste buds. 🙂