A stone lantern stands a lonely sentinel silently lighting the path
for wayward travelers, pilgrims and seekers rich with moss and the patina of ages how long has it guarded this woodland path and who lights it?
At Shugakuin Imperial Villa in Kyoto, Japan. At the pinnacle of the upper garden and grounds lies a simple pavilion structure of multiple rooms where emperor Gomizuno could view the panoramic views. Construction began in 1655 and Shugakuin remains one of the finest displays of shakkei (the Japanese garden art of “borrowing scenery”) to be found. Here at the Emperor’s Pavillion you see the extensive use of tatani mats. Note the elevated platform where the Emperor would sit. The paper windows let in light at different times of day and these large “lift out” windows let in the summer breeze.
“We cross the bridge, and are transported back to a long ago age. Soot still clings to the stones and I cannot help but wonder if somewhere blood stains linger. The blemish of war wraps itself around the very stones and spirits call from the long empty battlements. Make no mistake, this is no fairy tale castle, this is Castle Edinburgh ancient stronghold and defender of the nation.”
Suzhou was once at the center of the Chineses silk trade. Today, it is much more celebrated for it’s art, delicate gardens, thousand year old temples, and of course romantic water towns and canals. It is these that have earned it the name “Venice of the East.” A thoroughly charming city all modernized but still holding on to it’s 2,500 years of history and architecture.
And a plus, a traditional gondolier song by what may well be one of the finest voices of our age.