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Dr John Hawkins

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Japanese Architecture

Posted on 2012/03/04 09:48:13 (March 2012).

[Tuesday 28th February 2012]
Chie had arranged for us to go to a talk on Japanese Architecture by Dr. Teruaki Matsuzaki at the Japan Foundation. Despite a few obstacles - an accident on the tube meant I had to get a taxi instead, and only just made it in time; also we were sat at the back, next to a very loud fan, and couldn't hear very well - it was actually quite interesting.

In particular I was interested in his explanation of the Japanese concept of "ma" - that often the space between things is as important as the things themselves. This applies not only to architecture, but even to literature - and he said it's common for chunks to be deliberately left out of novels according to this principle. He also spent a while talking about Buddhist temples built in mountainous areas of Japan, and showed some really spectacular pictures of these. Would love to visit some of those some day. Of course Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima also got a mention as an outstanding example of how Japanese architecture interacts with the sea, which provoked a pleasing sense of pride in both of us.

After the talk we ummed and arred about dinner for a while, and eventually settled on going for a burrito at Benito's Hat on Goodge Street. I had really liked this place the first time I went, but having since had better burritos elsewhere I think I'm going off it now.

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