Change of season

As I rode my bicycle along the bank of Tsurumi River , once again feeling so amazed that seasons change, and each season has its own plants that knows to grow and bloom at exact same season in a year. The cosmos is in full bloom now, its bright flowers and delicate stems and leaves. I feel so free and gleeful when I see the host of Japanese pampas grass flowing in the wind. Fading deep greens, various shades of earthy yellow and brown. I am wearing long sleeves and full length pants. Just a couple of months ago, it was so hot, the river reflecting the colors of summer sky and tall bright green grass and summer flowers, the view so very different from today.

In the last entry, I’ve written about the tide of change in Japan. It merged with what I read today by Soichiro Honda from his autobiography, which said that what goes up, will come down. Everything changes, and in terms of economical situation, high price means the price is preparing to come donw, and low price means the price is about to go up. Just like bamboo has nodes that breaks up tree trunk into parts and that’s what make them strong in wind and in snow, a company will have nodes that is formed when a period of growth is stagnated. That node is the time a company takes to improve itself when the economy is down, time is tough. Without these nodes, a company will break when faced with strong wind, heavy snow. Honda says in his book, that tough time is what refines a company, forces it to become better at what it does. So the season changes. It is inevitable. Those of us who were fortunate to have experienced these changes know. And things never stays the same. As my young but wise friend Yuki is fond of saying, we descend the valley, climb the mountain. As we face many challenges, valleys become deeper, mountains higher. So it is in Japan, that we thought we were still descending the valley, that it was still deeper. Perhaps it continues to be so with some people, some company. But somehow, we seem to be on a climb again.

At least for me, I no longer feel fearful of not knowing how far we will go down. I feel so exhilerated everytime I hear Sakakida-san answering older Japanese middle managers sympathetic “Oh, it must be so tough for an independent architect like you to make the ends meet”, with “No! This is the best time for young independent people, because we can win projects on competition! During bubble eras, companies had enough money to pay expensive fees for mediocre designs. Now, companies want good design, and they can’t afford to pay the kind of money they used to. So they offer equal chances to everyone, asking less about the age and experience.” How can you lose with such talent, such attitude?

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