Moon gazing

It is late September and in Japan this week the festival of Tsukimi will celebrate the harvest moon. I wish I could be there.

Japan leaves its mark on you. Earlier this year I saw the cherry blossom in Kyoto and walked through spectacular mountain scenery, but my abiding memory is of the last day of my trip, in Osaka, when the weather suddenly turned from warm sunshine to torrential rain. It could have been a sad way to leave; my friend and I had been rained off from our plans and gone in search of the city art gallery which is in the middle of a park, but it turned out to be closed and the rain kept beating down. We ran for shelter towards the park exit and spotted a smalwooden summer house, where we waited out the deluge as the rain just got worse, drumming on the roof and making Zen circles of drops in the lake below. We were in the most exquisite and quintessential Japanese gardens, no-one else there except for a very wet heron. It was cold and soggy and a bit ridiculous to be sitting there in the downpour but yet for all that it was the most delightful afternoon in one of the most beautiful places I have ever been in, and the memory has captured my imagination. 

I also keep thinking of the Moon Viewing rooms I saw, and the Japanese custom of gathering to celebrate and admire the full moon. I love the idea of having a special place with windows on all sides for the best view of the moon. The ripples on the lake and the image of the full moon keep recurring as themes and I’m musing on the idea of a companion piece to the cherry blossom installation and film, this time with paper cut spiral ripples and a film of the rain on the water intercut with footage of the moon. Trying to figure out how it will work – but perhaps I will wait til the end of the week and do what the Japanese would do for inspiration, seeking insight under the light of the full moon.


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