Kyoto Journal 91 Feature

To ‘sustain’ essentially means to provide sustenance—which is almost by definition what our basic life support system, the natural world, does… or used to do. We are sustained by things we can’t necessarily name or accurately describe, all bound together by myriad tangled invisible interconnections of cause and effect...

cover: macoto murayama
right image: erik linton


Portland Japanese Garden

endless flows

"Sustainability isn’t about permanence, but about the endless flows within which living beings exist. These are not unchanging flows. Aging naturally is, I feel, the essence of sustainability. If human beings were never to get old, that would not be really living." — superstar architect Kengo Kuma talks to Thomas Daniell

pictured: the portland japanese garden extension by KKAA; photo by jeremy bitterman

reviving okinawan "spirit food"

"People really appreciated millet and served it to the gods as an expression of gratitude. But now that millet is gone from our culture, even the culture of prayer, that heart of giving and serving the gods, is gone as well." —Naoko Nakasone, proprietor of the Okinawan restaurant, Ukishima Garden, speaks to Ananya Mayukha

pictured: naoko nakasone
Millet Field
Chiiori - Alex Kerr

leave it, leave it

"It turns out that there is a slice of Japanese society who are deeply interested in nature and kominka [farmhouses] after all. It’s just that they hadn’t seen kominka that were sensitively restored with modern comforts. They lived in fear of mold, and cold, and darkness, and horrible toilets. Once they experience these houses, they can’t get enough." —Alex Kerr on what can be done to save the Japanese countryside

pictured: tenippou, a house renovated by the chiiori trust in tougenkyo village, iya valley

an american artist in kyoto

"The only art book artist Daniel Kelly could afford at City Lights Books was a paperback by Kyoto woodblock artist Tomikichiro Tokuriki...And as luck would have it, that slim paperback art book had the artist’s address and phone number printed in the back. This was the start of Kelly’s artistic future." — Leanne Ogasawara on the long-time Kyoto resident and artist Daniel Kelly