Shōji – Shadow and Light

A few years ago, I was working on the computer, the day was sunny and warm and I started wondering what I was doing sitting there, closed between four walls of a room. I turned the page to a travel site questioning what country I would have liked to visit, just in case. The answer came without thinking: Japan. I knew some friends there I could visit, I had never been to Japan, it was a good reason to go. I immediately booked a trip and went to surprise my friends. Finally, got to see and experience everything I had studied in books about the Japanese style, home décor, art, colors, and life.
(click on each picture to see it larger)

At the Nijo-jo Castle – Kyoto

I was intrigued by their uses of shadow and light for aesthetic purposes. In the western world, we are used to closing our homes with metal or wood doors, multiple locks, and security cameras. In japan is sufficient a shōji screen made of washi traditional Japanese paper (I am sure in large cities might be different).

At the tea ceremony house

I sat on a lot of tatamis, an art only Japanese people can do. The beauty of a tatami room comes from the enigma of shadow and the suffused light passing from the garden through a shōji screen. Indirect light is the key element that defines a tatami room whose walls are painted in muted neutral colors that don’t distract from the peaceful feeling created.

Home of a Samurai

Japanese highest aesthetic sense comes from living in nature and emotionally responding to its beauty.
They accept nature as it is, they work with what they have and embrace it. If there is a scarcity of natural light, the Japanese create intimacy in their interiors and mystery in corners. The ceilings are not particularly high to allow a resting place for the heart and have no central lights, only one or two lamps. There is a cosmic emptiness in Japanese homes, the silence of the emptiness is disarming for us westerners used as we are to noises.

Tea Ceremony House

What is the beauty of shadow and light in traditional Japanese homes? Homes in Japan are made of wood, the frequent showers of rain create a need to build large heaves to protect the wood and to keep the rain out. The light, therefore, enters the home horizontally and not from the top, it gets diffused through the shōji screen and shadows become prominent.

The entry to a Samurai House
A private home – Kyoto

Temple in Kyoto

“Beauty arises from our daily life”. I learned so much in the two weeks I was in Japan, their culture was an adjustment for me.

Contributing to the Thursday Door Challenge, organized by Dan Antion has enabled me to go down memory lane and relive those moments. Ciao,
Amazon Author’s Page

Copyright © 2022 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion consultant, author of 6 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking and travel.
Get a copy of her books here: Amazon and Barnes&Noble


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. robertawrites235681907
    Jun 20, 2022 @ 17:36:36

    Hi Valentina, thanks for this wonderful post. I only know about life in Japan through books and reading about it. It’s great to see your pictures.

    Liked by 1 person


  2. Teagan Riordain Geneviene
    Jun 16, 2022 @ 21:41:20

    A lovely post, Valentina. I’m so glad you got to go.
    Of course, I haven’t been able to travel for decades. However, when I was young, the one country that I really wanted to see was Japan. Thanks for bringing us along for this trip. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person


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