Monday, March 31, 2008

Japanese Gardens

For some reason, I've lately become obsessed with Japanese gardens. I'm not a big Japanophile (sure they make cute toys and great electronic products, but why the sell-out to the West?) I guess I love what Japan used to be, before Commodore Perry. I love the Japanese principles of gardening, and the incredible beauty they can create.

The Japanese Gardens in Portland (inside Washington Park) are the most beautiful I've ever seen. They've been called the most perfect outside of Japan, but I don't know how one judges something like that. I do know that I saw every shade of green that could ever be conceived, and that when the sun flashed from behind a cloud, every shade of green changed once again. It's a serene, self-reflective space, with a blessed ban on cell phones and loud conversation. The gardens were installed in 1963, but because of the way things grow in Portland, they look like they've been there for centuries.

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