Monday, March 31, 2014

THE RYUGUDEN RYOKAN HAKONE.......

I've long heard tales of the Japanese country 'inns' but this was way beyond my wildest dreams and I found it absolutely sublime!
All of our rooms overlooked the lake with majestic cedar trees and awesome Mt. Fuji appearing just as in all the woodblock prints we've always loved!
The sitting area you see in the distance had a heated floor!  Note the tatami floor mats (shoes left at the entrance).  This is what's on your footsies in the room & there are special slippers you pad about in elsewhere.

Each room had an alcove with stunningly beautiful original calligraphic work.  I'll have to ask Tom what mine says.

The awesome view.....
Yes, that giant snow cone is Mt. Fuji!
Dinner was great fun....stimulating conversation and fascinating dishes.....




Breakfast was equally awesome.....and I especially loved the fish!

The red chair was brought in for yours truly as it took two strong men to get me up from the 'Japanese style' of sitting!
  I stayed in one day and had the 'special' privilege of breakfast in my room.


It was great fun to make pots, and pots, and more pots of the heavenly green tea.....
And watch Japanese melodramas, cute stuff and occasionally CNN.
But the most amazing show was a TED talk....(Love TED talks)....this fellow apparently is the Yo Yo Master of the world!
I also got to witness the process for cleaning the rooms and I will tell you it does indeed take a village!  First a man comes in wearing a crisp white shirt, black pants (no shoes remember?) and proceeds to collect all the trash.  Exit man.  Enter second man (same outfit) and he makes up the futon or in my case....the bed!  Exit 2nd man.  Following is a succession of young women....the 1st vacuumed every inch of the room.....the 2nd dusted every single spot in the room and the 3rd got the bathroom detail.  I was mesmerized!

Introduction

There is no avoiding the pull of the internet, the blogs, the YouTube imaginings. It's as if we're all 'On the Road' with Jack Kerouac each in our own world of meanderings. When we tell someone to 'get a life' it might be a bit difficult when you're dragged into other people's 24/7.

I've come to realize two foundational principals, there are no accidents and everyone has a purpose. More and more I'm desiring everyone to come into a full realization of their purpose as we all find our way on this little jewel of a planet.

For me, as a professional 'Western style artist', I stumbled into Chinese Brush Painting after a trip in 1980 to Monet's home/garden. Seeing all of his collection of Japanese woodblock prints was an ahh haa moment for me and when I returned to the States I started painting in the Chinese manner and never looked back. The first year was extremely painful for me as I felt that I should be able to master the technique since I was a 'trained' artist. Not a chance ... that just gets in your way.

Now, after teaching close to 3,000 students and having my book 'The Ch'i of the Brush' published by Watson Guptill, I can say that every one of my students does better their first day than I did my first year! Why? Because I insist that they leave their critical parent outside and just enjoy the journey, respecting the work that they do. I never let anyone throw anything away because that just ingrains frustration and defeat.

We really only begin to learn when we stop and figure out how to 'save' a painting. It works every time.I am so proud of my students, their receptivity and eagerness to express themselves is a continuing blessing for me.So, back to finding your purpose. Perhaps it starts with realizing 'it's not about me'. It so easy to want our needs met and to filter everything thru this attitude. When we realize that we're here to be of benefit to every life that we touch the universe really provides the ways and means.

The best part is that it's really exciting to not have yourself on your mind all the time!I'm re-reading a wonderful book about authenticity and in my next meandering I'll tell you about it. In the meantime I'd love to hear about your journey and am here to answer any and all questions about Chinese Brush Painting.