Let the Light Enter

Shoji Flower 障子 の花

There is a house on an old street in Urayasu.  The house dates back to the late 19th century and luckily the city of Urayasu has seen the benefit in preserving the home as portal back to Urayasu’s own past.

All of the wood in the home is well burnished to a golden mahogany hue.  The home shows its age just as the rings in a tree’s trunk do.  All sharp edges have been smoothed over as countless hands have slid the shoji (障子) to let in the light and air over the decades.

This day in I as wandered around the home with my students I was struck by this one small corner’s glow.  The light was softly diffused by a patch working of  a flower over a spot of torn paper.  The light was my conduit to Japan’s past that has vanished from daily life.

A time before electricity and gas in the home.  A time in which the only light in the home was that that filtered though the washi (和紙) paper, or by small oil lit lamps.  In this tiny corner of a house that time has forgotten on a street that is rapidly vanishing I glimpsed Japan’s past as the light illuminated a corner of my soul.

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