Why Zen is not for me or: How I learned to stop worrying and love Takeshi Kitano

Love at first sight

For me, the hook was visual. When I was first discovering Japan I found myself falling in love with the ubiquitous “Zen aesthetic” that pops up in Google image results, tumblr searches, JAL adverts. It was the emptiness that got me: whether it was that of a stone garden, like the one at Ryoan-ji in northwest Kyoto, or the kind implied within objects like a tea bowl or ink painting, from the very beginning I was in love with what wasn’t there.

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The stone garden at Ryoan-ji (Source)

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