Summer Update

August 5th, 2019 16:13 by Ian Littlewood

Azaleas at unryu in june19

Back in Kyoto last month I took the opportunity to return to Renge-ji. Apart from anything else, I wanted to check the comment a reader from Frankfurt had made about the noise of traffic. As usual, the road to Ohara was quite busy and the sound is certainly audible in the temple, but I can’t say it really worried me. In a way I find that the background buzz of everyday life tends to reinforce one’s sense of seclusion from the world outside.

I also had the chance to get back to Unryu-in. It’s a favourite temple and one of the places I love best in Kyoto. The flower arrangements there are wonderful, but I don't have a picture that does them justice. Instead, I've posted one I took of the garden in June.

Since I got back I’ve read Naoko Abe’s book ‘Cherry’ Ingram about the Englishman who reintroduced the Taihaku variety of cherry tree to Japan after it had become extinct there. It’s a fascinating book, both for the story it tells and for the range of information it provides about the diversity of the cherry tree and the part it has played not only in the history of Japanese culture but also of Japanese politics. I wish I’d read it before my last trip in the blossom season.