Some words about Japanese culture

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Old and new

Japanese love the old and also the new. Kyoto still has many old temples and houses and is getting more popular with many visitors all over the world, even with Japanese. On the other hand, lots of skyscraper apartments and office buildings are still now under construction.

They love the freshness of the new and the tasteful of the old.

Traditional Japanese architecture is mainly consisted of wood, bamboo and strew. Modern architecture is, in the contrary, made of reinforcing steel, concrete and glass. The former is getting tasteful as time goes by; but, the latter poor.

Trees are still alive even after they are cut down. The cut down trees are getting strong about twenty percents for two hundred or three. Any trees are not the same. Even the same species is different up to the region, and the east-side or north-side of the same mountain. The surfaces of cut trees are getting tasteful as time goes by and they are polished every day. The surfaces sometimes get scars and spots, but such faults turn the depth. But poor maintenance makes the trees quickly go bad and die. Trees, exposed to poor draft, much rain and wind, are quickly being damaged. It is just like human being.

The artificial material like concrete and reinforced steel are going bad as soon as they are made. CO2 in the air makes concrete change from alkaline into neutral and then the reinforcing steel, covered with concrete, are beginning to get rusty. Getting rusty brings the high pressure of concrete, and then the surface of concrete gets cracked. On the other hand, the rusting and reinforcing steels, the bone of the building, quickly make the building weak. It is just like brittle-bone disease. As time goes by, these materials get shabby because of the dead and equal material. The time-passing make them just go bad, not turn tasteful.

The fascination of wooden building is the profound brought by the combination of the process of time and the daily maintenance; the fascination of modern architecture is the cleanliness and uniformity supported by the high technology. The passing-time get the former get tasteful and the latter go bad.


  • At 10/31/2007 11:45 AM, Blogger Princess Haiku said…

    Wood breathes. There is nothing I love like a beautiful oak or maple floors. I see images on old wooden floors of all the footsteps that have ever walked on them. They absorb time and place. I think of beautiful old theaters and dancers on wood floors. Well.. I am getting into a poetic drift...

    Most people prefer carpet which I think is not possible to keep clean and which needs to be continually replaced. This is not good for the environment.


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