Meiji Jingu. Being horribly jetlagged, I arrived very early in the morning before the large crowds that soon followed. Meiji jingu is a Shinto shrine that embodies the spirit of Emperor Meiji who worked tirelessly to modernize Japan in the late 19th century. The grounds are a large, deep forest that I never would have associated with Tokyo. I hope never to forget the place.
The tree to the left is the sacred camphor tree around which many small prayer tablets called “ema” are hung. Somehow the priests convey the requests to the spirits. The tree itself is a force of nature and I can think of only a couple of other trees that awed me so—a mountainside of quaking aspen in the summer sun and the California redwoods when I was twelve.
The paints are something new. Following Nikira’s suggestion, I bought a set of Shin gansai “watercolor” paints. The box suggests that they are for sumi painting. Their opacity is higher than comparable Western paints and even though they have modern watercolor binders, I felt that they flowed a bit slower which I prefer. Several of the colors are gorgeous, especially the deep blues. What did not come through in the scan is that the light ochre color in the trees is actually the gold that came with the set. It also sparkles through the green areas and helps catch the feeling of the rising sun.