Dahlias in Tokyo | Blaise
One month in Tokyo. Instead of reflecting on just one element or one experience... I want to reflect on moments that have caused my heart to melt, hair on my arm to rise… moments that have and kept me on my toes. Please enjoy these few pictures from our travels.
On Sunday, October 29th -- Keelyn and I found ourselves handing over two shiny ¥500 coins to see Ueno Park's Autumn Dahlia Garden. We thought it was "A beautiful day to see some flowers..." From the picture above, it's needless to say that the Dahlia Garden aren't just "some" flowers. From the bulb to the blossom, they are a work of art, a craft, a mastery. Although we were both unable to understand the botanical descriptions and only understood this exhibit on surface level, we saw how the community regarded and respected the flowers.
From the gardeners, on their knees, tending to each flower, to observers, young and old, giving each flower time and attention; I was inspired by the care and admiration.
Upon reflection, I began to question: How can you be patient enough to watch a flower grow? How much effort do you need to dedicate to this flower? How can you encourage others to appreciate just a mere stem? Do the attendants enjoy the process of growing the flower as much as seeing the flower blossom? What if there are a sea of flowers? How do you know what flower to focus on? Is it just by luck or coincidence that an attendant pays attention to one or the other.
Although it was unfortunate that I wasn’t able to communicate my questions to the attendants, it allowed me to reflect on my group’s developing project.
For months, my group and I have been trying to "work" on our project, a documentary about Japanese long-distance running. During our time here, I have started to feel what Chandler describes as, “the burden of expectation,” or a build-up of anxiety stemming from gradual, sometimes stagnate progress. As a group that is learning the proper way to communicate with another culture, to interview, to balance budgets, to understand varying personalities – it deems a daunting task to create a documentary. How can you sustain patience, conceptualize, care for such a substantial proposal? Sometimes, I see myself on a treadmill- trying to pump out emails, interviews, and get "results." As a result, the priorities begin to pressurize, and I fail to produce.
After I visited the Ueno Garden I saw our project in a new light. What if we "tended" to the project instead of “worked” on it? Although this analogy is simple, the reflection and the time spent capturing these pictures has allowed me to breathe a little bit more… settle in. It has allowed me to see this project more as a process of growth, rather than the immediate presentation a bouquet of flowers.