I experienced more kindness, attentiveness, and courtesy in Japan than anywhere else I have ever traveled. It is difficult for me to make any comparisons with Japan and other cultures since it seems so completely unique unto itself. Another world, almost dreamlike.
The attention to detail is part of their art of living and compared to the general distractedness and laziness I experience here in the U.S., being in Japan is another universe. Small expressions of beauty and harmony can be seen in the shops, restaurants and even their bathrooms. The Japanese population appears to have a kindred spirit with flowers in particular. Often in the most industrial of areas or back alleyways; I often saw pots of flowers and bonsai trees decorating the curbsides. They have a cultural habit of spending time on the weekends visiting the tranquil and harmonious gardens of Buddhist and Shinto temples and shrines.
I often imagine, in going to Japan I am walking through a Torii Gate, the spiritual structure that marks the entrance to the thousands of shrines, and temples throughout Japan. To me, it seems to be the portal between the outer and inner worlds. I enter the world of a garden as if I am also entering a deeper place within myself, where the harmony and an artistry of the garden is an interior as well as exterior place.
Here are some of my photographs for your enjoyment!