Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Mountains and pylons

The Japanese architect Sei Takeyama believes that the ability of the Japanese to narrow their focus has led to some of the environmental destruction of recent years. Rather than see a full landscape vista, he thinks that the Japanese prefer to focus on some small area of perfection – as in a haiku or garden. As Alex Kerr explains in his book Lost Japan (1993): “I recently gave a talk to the Junior Chamber of Commerce in the town of Kameoka, where I live. When I remarked that looking out from the highway one could easily count over sixty giant utility pylons towering over the surrounding mountains, my audience was shocked. Not one of them had ever noticed these pylons.” Is this fair? After all, there are pylons everywhere, although Kerr believes more effort is made to conceal them in countries like Switzerland with a tradition of wider landscape views. Even as a partial explanation, the narrowness of vision idea seems a bit too neat to be plausible, but it is an interesting thought.

No comments: