On my way out, I pass by a planter full of Coelogyne in full bloom.
Everyone knows that Coelogynes are a particularly beloved orchid genus of min (how can you pick an absolute favorite though, really?). Not the showiest, most varied, or most colorful genus, there’s still something about the simple and graceful form of Coelogyne that captivates me. So of course I had to get myself one in Japan, thinking that I would build up my collection slowly. I do so miss my Janine Banks, tomii, ochracea, et al. This Coelogyne Cosmo-Crista (Shinjuku No. 8) is quite a pretty, plain-looking little plant that brings me so much joy. While I don’t have the skill yet to grow them to their full glory, inflorescences overflowing their baskets, the dream and its pretty scent sparked my imagination and I set to work on this still life.
I’ve arrived unexpectedly at a shrine with the distinct feeling that I don’t have my 御朱印帳 to get a goshuin. Ah, wait, of course I do.
For just a few coins, many shrines and temples in Japan will stamp special shrine stamp books (goshuinchou), adding the date and some hand-drawn calligraphy, as proof of your visit. Every shrine and temple has its own design, and of course since the calligraphy is written by hand every person writes with their own style. In times bygone, these books served as something like proof of your devotion. When the priest was around, you would get your seal handwritten, but when he was away, you had to make do with a stamp. As the stamps became more beautiful and loved, they combined the stamp and calligraphy into what we see today. It’s certainly the inspiration for the ubiquitous modern day stamp rally, which you can’t escape in Japan. Proper goshuin collecting has exploded in popularity recently, and I’m happy to join the masses of Japanese women lining up for my little memento.
Living in Japan, I went to a LOT of shrines and temples. When there’s another one practically around every corner, it’s hard not to. But I didn’t start collecting shrine stamps until my last couple months and was of course hooked instantly. Not least of all because collecting proof you’ve visited this or that shrine or temple satisfies the collection-oriented mindset that a lifetime of casual RPG-playing has trained me for. I’m no completionist, but I do love the thrill of collecting. I won’t even admit to you how many books I’ve already filled. Forget taking a selfie or checking in on social media, it’s really all about #goshuinoritdidnthappen.
We’ve found it: the portal to another world.
As soon as I step inside the dream skips and halts, and I’m seeing it over and over, wondering where it leads,
going in but never coming out, like an endless void falling forever,
until my alarm jolts me back.
I searched far and wide and finally found that portal inside one of the few Tadao Ando buildings in Tokyo. Issey Miyake and Tadao Ando are one of my favorite duos, so 21_21 Design Sight holds a special place in my heart. It’s fun to keep an eye out for whacky and interesting exhibitions (there’s no permanent collection). My favorite so far was centered around that classic snack, Kinoko no yama. Still no word on where that portal leads, though.
Julien David top / Topshop dress / Haider Ackermann boots
I’m riding an empty train at dawn, watching the blue and misty world go by.
Scenes from the most beautiful train ride I’ve ever taken, watching dawn break from Toyama to Takayama.
It’s funny how suddenly you can find yourself accidentally reliving a dream. The sense of deja vu pushing at my consciousness brought this dream to the surface easily, and it made this silent and sleepy ride even better.
Of course you’ll have to trust me that the pictures don’t do it justice.