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September 15, 2007

# 15 BEAUTY #
Myojo 2007.09

In the beginning of June, I went to Kyôto on a whim with four friends. Since it had been decided that I would appear in a dorama, I would become busy, so I wanted to go somewhere before that happened. And a friend of mine who is practically family invited me, saying, "How about going to Kyôto?" As to why Kyôto, I haven't been there since I was in kindergarten, and I can't even remember the last time I was there, so I thought I definitely have to go there again soon. And then everyone jumped at the chance to go, so even though we talked about this on a Saturday night, we took the last train to Kyôto on that very evening. I haven't done much travelling privately until now, to think that it could be that easy to realize such a plan, it feels like something university students would do. While I was still all excited about it, we arrived in Kyôto. At the train station, we took photos with the statue of a maiko [young geisha in training], then we took a taxi and told the driver to bring us to some place with tasty food, it turned into a totally chaotic journey. In other words, I travelled paths seldom tread upon. On the next day, we started our sightseeing tour in the morning. First was the Kiyomizudera. There's this saying, "to leap from the Kiyomizu platform", and I was so impressed that I was seeing this very platform. You certainly die immediately if you jump off it... I felt the truth of the saying with my whole body, so to commemorate it we all loudly sang "Sen no kaze ni natte". [Japanese version of the poem "I am a thousand winds that blow" which became a big hit this year.]

Next was the Ginkakuji. "Why isn't it silver!?" - though I'd decided not ask stupid questions like this, the elderly taxi driver who acted as our guide started talking about this on his own. "It's really a pity that Ashikaga died before he could cover the temple in silver, so now the Silver Pavillon isn't silver." If he had lived just a little bit longer, the Ginkaku would have sparkled silver and would occupy a bigger place in the spotlight... is what I thought, but then when I looked at the real thing, it occurred to me that the Ginkaku without its silver veneer might actually be more beautiful. "Boy, beauty is not restricted to things that shine." The Ginkaku seemed to tell me this. The grand garden of the Ginkakuji is also fantastic. Since it apparently owes its grandeur to the beautiful moss, the gardeners doing the cleaning pick up fallen leaves and garbage piece for piece by using some tools which look like moss chopsticks. It's because of the efforts of people who use these simple methods that this beauty is being preserved, is what I thought once more. It's really true that beauty depends on constant care. by the Kano sisters

Then, the main attraction, the Kinkakuji. Iyaaa, it's so amazing. Surrounded by untamed greenery, the Kinkaku truly stands out, majestically overlooking the waters of the lake. It's sparkles and glitter everywhere. It is something I want to see at least three times in my life. But it's really an accomplishment of Yoshimitsu to build something like this. He must have been a happy person to spend his last days at that place.

After this, we went to see the Suzumushidera, the Ryôanji, the Sanjusan Gendo and the Seimei Shrine, then we ate something and returned to Tokyo with the last train. Two really fulfilling days. In any case, it was a lot of fun, and it was beautiful.

The small island country of Japan has imported culture from the mainland and has raised it to fit its own nature, it has pursued its own beauty. In the former capital, all of these principles are gathered. The Ginkakuji is already a world cultural heritage site. During this journey, I felt that the beauty of Japan is second to none in the world, it has become something magnificent.

Several days after I had returned from Kyôto, I noticed that a weed was growing in a small opening in the doorframe. It was beautiful and admirable how it tried to flourish in such a small space, it warmed my heart and I watched over it. But someday, this weed disappeared. When I asked my parents, my father explained he had pulled it out because insects were coming in this way. A beautiful thing is beautiful in the eye of everyone who looks at it. For me who had believed in this, that was a shocking event.

But despite this, I still want to believe. A beautiful thing does not choose its beholder. And the heart who can think of it as beautiful, is something just beautiful itself.

Translated by riccichan

* Do not repost/retranslate w/o permission *

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