Monday, November 2, 2015


The most famous temples in Kyoto, including Ginkakuji, are packed with visitors. Ginkakuji is best known for its raised sand garden, carefully tended by a crew of maintenance gardeners every three days. We were lucky on the day we visited to see this group of men and one woman at work raking, scooping and patting the sand to perfection.

It would be lovely to have these gardens to yourself to draw and paint but I settled for a miniature shrine down a slightly quieter path, away from the main attractions. As I stood and very quickly sketched and painted this little scene, taxi drivers with groups of 4 school kids each, moved through the garden. It must have been nice for those kids and the taxi drivers as well, to be in small groups rather than the typical group of 40 following a flag and a guide. These small groups of kids were having lively conversations and the local taxi drivers were enjoying sharing their knowledge and insights too. The driver near me encouraged his young charges to practice their English with me. Turns out one of the little boys was fluent in English. He'd spent several years living in North Carolina with his family. He and I enjoyed a fleeting shared experience of having been the kid who'd lived in a foreign country.

No comments:

Post a Comment