One of the most interesting things about Japan to me was its tacit silence. Don’t get me wrong- there was so much going on everywhere, but even in the hustle things were never as they seemed. So many things going on under the surface of such a meticulously constructed reality, that as an outsider, I was perpetually trying to figure out which parts of the whole act were real.

I have lived in a lot of places, and always traveled extensively on this planet so seamlessly that the notion of culture shock has always been alien to me. Japan made me notice this subtle clash more than ever before…

Ise had mesmerized me for years, since I sat and studied those temples, hand crafted and drew them over and over, studied their lines, their joints, and inhaled the solemn quietude that they seemed to exude.

I couldn’t make it to see the shrines in my one week of free time in Japan after the two week HOGI fellowship was over, but in the end, I really didn’t want to. I had had enough of the silence.

Nevertheless, when I went to the Nihonbashi district to see the old Mitsukoshi store I found Ise had come to me. They had a huge exhibition on the shrines, and had actual building parts on display. I had my fill, soaked it in, and never looked back.

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