Aquabase and Wabi-Sabi culture Since we know the Nature Aquarium by Takashi Amano’s work, we were delighted with the softness and harmony of their work. Undoubtedly, our inspiration always came from his wonderful photos that illustrate his books, Aqua Journal’s articles and the worldwide aquascaping sites. However, we try to print in our layouts the visual identity and the main features of the Nature Aquarium, but the result was always very different from what we expected. Our works, although well executed with healthy and beautiful plants, were lacked with the natural harmony and balance, it were too perfect, neat, well designed … Our layouts were very beautiful but only to Western standards. In 2008 we invested our savings and decided to meet the “Empire of the Rising Sun” (Japan), homeland of the Nature Aquarium and for the first time participate in the festivities of the NA Party and the ceremony of the IAPLC. They were amazing days in Japan, assimilating an ancient culture, very different from ours. Meet the ADA Gallery, Master Amano, and have the opportunity to mingle with worldwide aquascapers were indescribable experiences. Back in Brazil, were several months of enchantment and excitement with what was learned and experienced.
In the following years we are trying to put into practice what we learned in Japan and always connected to the culture and the teachings of the master Amano. With that, our jobs were improving, developing, but still had not printed the genes of Nature Aquarium, because therefore despite the extreme dedication to our work they were still very hermetic, with well-defined clumps, no “Nagare”, no priorities … the works were beautiful but did not express a natural atmosphere.. So we started to look for inspiration in nature and try to see it differently.
We the Westerners have a culture that demands and collects results, goals, deadlines. It is the culture of results and obvious things, very logical. How to inspire in Nature with this kind of thinking? How do you feel, being moved only look at life with logical eyes? It was then that we began to ask ourselves, why our dear Japanese friends had so much sensitivity printed in their work and we do not? So, we finally understood how the Eastern culture expressed and then, we begin to discover the path that leads to Wabi-Sabi culture, or the “art of imperfection”.
With that our jobs were improving, we were able to print some characteristics of Nature Aquarium in our layouts and the greater proof of this were the outstanding results in IAPLC, where we managed to win a Plate with 18th position of Luca Galarraga in the 2011 edition of the competition . In 2012 another scheduled trip to Japan to participate in the IAPLC festivities and the ADA Seminar mainly, but ironically, this year just was not taught the seminar and in his place, the ADA staff scheduled a trip to know the autumnal landscapes of Japanese area like Aizu region and Urabandai. It was the first time that the ADA has organized such a trip and we can say from experience that it was a wonderful trip. We could observe the spectacle of autumn colors through the jungles of Japanese “Bandai Asahi National Park”, the “Nakatsugawa Valley” region and “Hibara Lake”. Besides the pleasant company of the participants and competent team of ADA, everything went perfectly well and we will never forget the richness and detail that we can saw.
On this trip we got to know scenarios, feel sensations and experience the culture Wabi-Sabi intensely. Across Japan, but more precisely in Kyoto, a simple walk on the sidewalks is a real class in simplicity, humility, balance and harmony. For us Westerners, the profusion of detail and richness of sentiments expressed in each floral arrangement in each stone step, in every home, are significantly important for our learning and for setting the Wabi-Sabi style in our mind.
Most constructions use rocks, stones, wood, iron and glass in its most natural form, with simple finishes that value the appearance of the original materials, unlike our culture that worships colors, textures and appearances are artificial, almost exactly hide or seek makeup to look natural materials. The respect for nature whether in parks, gardens or temples, but mostly in small potted bonsai, kokedamas and arrangements that are exposed to outside of the houses embellishing the facade and our souls.
Visiting holy sites, ancient places, where the time is siding with the persistence and respect for the Japanese people is one of the most remarkable experiences of our entire lives.
Experience the power of rock gardens like those of Ryoan-ji temple, see forests of bamboo, the imposing castles, lakes, carps, temples and pagodas and understand that everything is there for many years, much longer than the existence our own country is at least spectacular. The arts are issued on this country naturally, as if everything were a result of divine inspiration or the result of a work of extreme sensitivity and whim.
We can see this in ceramics, sweets, wooden artifacts, iron stuffs, crafts made with natural fibers, bamboo, etc… Everything is the result of feeling, soul, and sensitivity as Wabi-Sabi is there for millennium in Japanese culture, everything is wonderfully flawed. Minimum details of a country and a people that worships simplicity, humility and put in everything that they create, respect for nature, dedication and sense, showing to westward that to reproduce nature is learn it to understand it.
The Wabi-Sabi style is to look with your own eyes and feel with your heart and live simply. We hope that every visit to Japan we can assimilate more and more the Japanese ancient culture, the culture of patience and contemplation. Hopefully the Wabi-sabi style is incorporated and assimilated by the Brazilians so we can improving our concepts and harmonize ourselves with nature. All things are imperfect, all things are incomplete, and nothing is eternal. The beauty of Wabi-Sabi is what has the marks of time the humble and simple beauty.
The beauty of all that is not conventional materials still hold itself to its nature, the beauty of the changing seasons, the dry leaves on the
ground. May we live as the young man “Sen no Rikyu” and understand that human action on the world should be so delicate that it does not prevent the true nature of things. An old teapot, green moss covering the stones of the path, the rustic towel fabric, the natural wooden bench in the garden, a single flower loose on the vase… this is Wabi-Sabi.
The Art of Imperfection is seeing life with the tranquility of one who knows that the pursuit of perfection is ephemeral, because perfection belongs to an imaginary world, a human world.