Few words capture the character of Tokyo better than ‘contrast’.
Looking at the sky in Asakusa on Saturday I could see a nearly full moon, sandwiched between the five-story pagoda of Tokyo’s oldest temple, Senso-ji, and the Tokyo Skytree.
Rebuilt after destruction in World War II, it stands on the original 7th Century site as a symbol of rebirth and peace to the Japanese people.
The dynamic range (the contrast ratio, or, the difference in colour and brightness) beteween Senso-ji and wider Tokyo is high.
Enshrining the most compassionate of the many Buddhas ‘Bodhisattva Kannon’, this place of worship is visited by over 30 million people each year.
In one of the most densely-populated urban landscapes on our planet, space has been preserved in both the city and its denizens’ lives for works of beauty. The architecture, the fabrics, the wonderful colours and minute details create a stunning contrast between urban life, and something simpler, and perhaps more important.
Visual acuity, or our ability to resolve two separate points (ie detecting differences in contrast), is crucial for both understanding of and success in our lives.
For me, visiting Senso-ji obviated the need for deliberate separateness of, contrast between, and the devotion of space for two distinct facets of my life.