Most visitors to Japan, and residents alike, are charmed by the serene beauty of traditional Japanese gardens. However, behind the seemingly effortless flow and intricate composition of the natural scenery hides labor of love.
We spoke with two foreigners who took traditional gardening apprenticeships in Japan. They started from scratch and learned the ropes over several years before getting into the “garden business” themselves.
Here are their stories.
Dominik Schmitz was born in Germany and raised in a small village in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. He came to Japan for the first time in 2003 to do a three-month internship in Kyoto in traditional Japanese garden culture.
“I vividly remember the first Japanese garden I saw in Kyoto. I was overwhelmed by the balanced beauty. Japanese gardens are man-made, yet they bring out the beauty of nature so impressively,” he recalls.
German artist and professor Heinrich Johann Radeloff, who had lived in Kyoto for 40 years, introduced Schmitz to Kyoto-based Ogawa Jihei, an 11th generation Japanese garden master at the Ueji company (Japanese) that has been in this business for 250 years.
“Without his mediation, this door would probably have remained closed to me because the traditional Japanese trust in en (chance and good connection),” Schmitz says.
Learning by doing
Click here to read more.
- External Link