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Perspiration from holy water

How much did I sweat during this summer?  Perspiration helps to control the body temperature.  Ninety nine percent of the sweat is water.  Recently I encountered scenes in which the sweat was shinning.

Japan and the US team met at a Women’s World Cup final the other day.  By looking at drenching sweats from Nadeshiko-Japan’s uniform, I felt a tightening in my chest, and found myself close to tears.  Their daily sweating efforts and thrilling games, which made audience sweat in their palms, led them to a world champion.

The news brought hope and courage to the nation which had been somewhat depressed after the series of earthquakes and disaster after March 11th.  Their achievement is well-deserved for the National People's Honor Award. 

I saw the same kind of perspiration the other day as well.

I went to see Esmeralda, a ballet concert, in which a daughter of my friend performed.  About a year ago, she was called for the main cast, and the concert was the opportunity to show all the efforts she had made during the practices. 

The stage must have been so hot from the spots light.  She was at elevated mood and must felt pressures too.  Under those conditions, she finished dancing 2 hours marathon like performance.  Her smile at a curtain call was especially shinning beautifully. 

From point to point during the performance, her sweats appeared to me were like blessed sacred water for her yearlong effort and conquered the challenge. 

Observe the truth of the woods.

Recently, I went to a river after a long time.  I went deep in the mountain.  I could not see the sky because the greens glow so close together.  In such a place, the air is so fresh and I can deeply breaths to fill up my lung.

Away from the trail, there was a stream running in a whirl making a sound like a drumroll.  When I found a path to the stream, I slowly walked down to it while I held my ‘kit’ in my arms; a deck chair, a blanket, snacks, a tea pot, and a book.

There, you can see a little waterfall basin surrounded by small gravels.  The water falls down about 3 meters, and its sound absorbs every noise around to occupy my ears.  I reclined in a deckchair and spent my luxurious time.  When I looked up, various trees, big and small, stretched their foliages in their own distinct ways.

I never got bored looking at the handsome foliages for their unique shapes.  There was a tree grown beautifully on a big rock rather than on the earth, but rooted on it firmly.  A big branch laid in the river and backed up the water.  Still, the water flushed from the sides and I saw the power of the flow.  Facing at this wonderful nature, I could only describe this as beautiful at best.  Water, woods, and birds… they only do their truth without getting tired of doing so.

The wind which blew over the river is cooling.  Only within half an hour or so, I started to feel chill, and covered myself with a blanket.
Even the wind did its truth.  Those water, trees, birds, and wind keep the woods alive today, and also nurture them to grow even 10 or 50 years from now. 

Photo:Go Shigetomi

Water and diamond.

Water and diamond are very different materials. However, they bear an interesting relevancy.
As I have written in this blog a while ago, water can penetrate inside of objects, and change and transform them into different things.  On the other hand, the only object which does not include water inside is diamond.

High density of the diamond crystal is the main reason for the hardness.  I see an interesting contrast in the two.  Diamond symbolizes “eternity” while it does not allow water to penetrate, and water symbolizes “moment” which lies in the opposite state of the time compared to the diamond.

My profession is to cut diamonds.  When finished cutting, I put a diamond into a boiling hydrochloric acid in order to wash oil around it.  Even then, the diamond is not affected by the acid at all.

Water gives and maintains lives of all creatures, and its main component is carbon, which is the same to diamond.

Therefore, carbon is the radical nature of all the lives.  Also, the living activities of all the creatures can be done only in the water at the molecular level.  Both elements make a balance to support a life at the very end to each other.

This natural world is full of wonders.  Everything is related and connected.
Water does its truth.  Are human beings doing their truth?  What is their truth to start with?

A diamond in the rough.


Western fountain and Japanese Shishi-Odoshi

Almost all of cultures have nourished water art in its own ways.  It’s not a comparison between Western and Japanese culture, however, there is an interesting contrast.

Western culture keeps the water while Japanese let it flow.

You can see the difference in fountains in each culture.

During the Roman period, for example, they hold water back while constructing water supply system, and build gushing fountains and squares with gorgeous statues.  Those squares became the center of the city, and were necessary to form the cities.  You still can see those heritages at street corners of European cities.

On the contrast, water is something to let flow for Japanese people, and they thought of adding zest to it while it flows.  One of those works is called Shishi-Odoshi.  (  Originally, it was built in the river close to fields to scare away insects and small animals with its sound.  However, later it started to be applied to Japanese gardens and artistic houses. 

This Shishi-Odoshi has become something to symbolize Japanese culture.  The reason, I think, is that Shishi-Odoshi has a fine balance among time, space and sound, and it connects to people’s state of mind called Monono-Aware, the feeling which feels sympathy and empathy for the object and becomes profoundly moved by its elegance and charms.

The water flows into a piece of bamboo, and it gains weight little by little.  When reached a breaking point, it releases the tension and water in bursts and makes dry sound which breaks the quiet space.  Time passes away in vain.  However, this exquisitely- choreographed effect gives it something dynamic by creating the tense and release repeatedly. 

When I do not hear anything, I eagerly await for the next release.  I even enjoy the time to wait. 


The Land of Golden Ears of Rice: Japan

Along with Kojiki, Nihon Shoki also is the important historical scripture which tells us the beginning of Japan.  In Nihon Shoki, old Japan is mentioned as “Toyoashihara no Chiihoaki no Mizuho no Kuni”.  In the myth, the country was located between Takamagahara, high plain of heaven, and Yomi-no-kuni, a land of dead.  As contrasted to Takamagahara, where all the gods inhabited, the country was the place for human beings.  “Toyoashihara no Chiihoaki no Mizuho no Kuni” literally means “the place where reeds grow thickly and have bumper crop of rice forever”.  In order to have reedy and rich harvest of rice, water is the absolute requirement, and the name suggested that the country was rich with water. 

“Land of abundant water: Japan” was already created in a mythical time.  For an agricultural race, the water is necessary.  Therefore, it is natural that people started to pray to water, and the worship created the Water God.  Along with the Water God, Rice-paddy God and the Mountain God came along, and became objects of people’s worship.  Legendary creatures such as Kappa, snakes, and dragons, are regarded as messengers of Water God, and people worshiped them as well.  Dragons are still popular among young people nowadays.  They symbolize the flow of water and their movements signify vortex, swells, and pulses of water.  Dragon is regarded as an expression of life force which water possess.


Purified by a waterfall

Japanese mountains are very steep, and that unique landscape creates waterfalls in the middle of almost all the rivers.  Have you ever been into the waterfalls?

Depending on the height and amount of the water, it feels different.  However, even a small waterfall makes my neck falls forward slightly if I am in it.  Under a high waterfall, I feel the impact on my back and knees.  I need to plant my feet firmly on the basin to keep my body up. 

I am hit by the impacts or the power of the water which falls from the above. 

After four to five minutes in the waterfall, my body feels freezing and starts to shiver.  However, if I go out and take a rest for a while, I get the urge to go back there again.  I find that is so interesting.

Why does it feel so refreshing and fulfilling?  It even brings me back the power to renew my life from the inside. 

I remember my mother used to perform cold water ablutions from December to February every year for three months.   During winter, water in the well stays warm.  So she would keep the water in a basin over night and used the water next morning after removing the ice on the surface.  As a small child, I asked her why she did such a thing. 

It is no longer clear what she said precisely.  However, she mentioned about “karma” inside her which caused my elder brother’s poor health; he used to suffer from high fever almost every month when he was young.  She said the cold water ablution was to remove the Karma of hers.

I was not convinced, but I understood that was the way it went in my child's heart of hearts.  I grew up and realized that it was a purification ceremony.  I strongly felt that the water does penetrate deep in the body and has a power to eradicate the root of evil inside.


The spirit of the valley never dies.

“The spirit of the valley never dies.”
This is a sentence from a sacred scripture of Taoism.  They often use water as a metaphor which exemplifies the movements of Tao.  

The valley is a place where the water began to well up.  Therefore, it is a source of life and will never die.

Lately, it has become very popular to visit “power spots” among young people.  However, what makes the place to have “power”?  They say freaky, spelled, or grotesque atmosphere is more popular among those spots.

At one time, I often visited rivers and waterfalls seeking for negative ions.  That sounds more reasonable than visiting freaky spots. 

As a person who visited and played with rivers on a regular basis past 30 years, I would like to recommend the valley as the best “power spots”.

The rain falls on the mountains, and flows down following the slopes.  It goes deeper in the mud and stones, and leaf soils filter it.  It finally appears on the ground at valley with rich nutrients from the earth.  That is how the water at valley is full of fresh energy. 

I create my work at valleys.  After I spend three to four hours there, I feel so refreshed, and feel the energy welling up my body from inside.  During summer I often go to the valley for a nap in order to recharge the energy.  I put a deckchair in a current of the river; read books, drink coffee, eat a piece of cake, and take a nap there.  This is so simple; however, I feel so refreshed and fulfilled. 

I feel the water on my back and nice breeze blows over my body.  I would feel chilly even during the mid-summer.  Or, dip in the river with naked foot, and feel the water clinging around my ankles; I feel the power of rejuvenation.

I strongly recommend visiting valleys if you are interested in “power spot” for this summer.


Think about the water on the Day for Water.

The government designated August 1st as the “Day for Water” in 1977.  However, how many of us are aware of that?

We often hear people say not to waste water or keep the water clean.  Yet, it seems that they do not understand the real situation how serious the problem is.

At my past exhibitions, many people came to me and said followings;
“Well, there are plenty of water” or “the amount or water is far enough that it even cause torrential rains”.

We take water and air so granted and we do not see the shortage of those materials.

Imagine droplets in a water bottle in the middle of dry desert, or the water contaminated by radiation.  We may realize the importance of the water only when we face those extreme situations.

For the modern people like us, we only understand what we have right now.  Yet, we may be able to realize the importance of the water by comparing from the past.

The population of Japan has doubled in last 70 years.  At the same time, however, the amount of the water stays the same.  Calculated simple, it is obvious that we have less water per person.  Each person flashes at lavatory after a single use, takes a bath and changes the tab water, and does laundry individually… People in the past did not do so each and every time. 

Moreover, the use of industrial water has run up according the development even producing chemically contaminated water afterward.  We have far less “clean water.”

We can only engage in water-saving seriously by understanding followings: the number of people has gained but the amount of the water has stayed the same.

The earth is called “watery planet”.  However, it is predominantly seawater, and only 2.5% is fresh water which human beings can utilize.  Furthermore, if groundwater and glacier is set off, we can use only 0.01% of all the water on the earth.  Yet, the small amount of water has to support all the living things on the earth.