Sejima Kazuyo was born in Ibaraki, Japan in 1956. After graduating from Japan Women’s University in 1981 with a master’s degree in Architecture, she joined the firm Toyo Ito and Associates. Six years later, Kazuyo opened her own practice and became known for her sleek, modernistic designs. One of her first hires was Nishizawa Ryue, a student who had worked with her at Toyo Ito. Together, they went on to establish the Tokyo-based architectural firm, SANAA.
SANAA has since designed a number of innovative building in Japan and around the world, including the Rolex Learning Center in Switzerland; the Toledo Museum of Art’s Glass Pavilion in Ohio, the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York; the Serpentine Pavilion in London; The Christian Dior Building in Tokyo; and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa.
In 2015, the 2010 Pritzker Prize laureates broke ground on a multipurpose building and landscape project for Grace Farms in New Canaan, Connecticut.
One of my favorite things about living in Connecticut is being surrounded by nature. Despite being a pretty urbanized state, there is plenty of untouched land filled with rolling hills, woodlands and water. While most of the latter comprises of modest waterfalls, there is a dramatic series of cascades in Litchfield Country that are the exception.
“Cherry blossoms in spring, they mean everything…” coos the Night Beds’ Winston Yellen on the sixth track of Country Sleep. A truer line could never be sung for Japan. Here, cherry blossoms are spring.
From the first bloom in Okinawa in February, the forecast is predicted and tracked as it heads to the mainland and then spreads north. The arrival of the pink and white popcorn balls are eagerly awaited; sakura is the unofficial national flower of Japan and has been revered in art, culture and poetry for centuries.
But spring came late to Miyazaki this year; the weather is not nearly as warm as it should be and the blossoms were slow to open, with a bout of rain causing them to fall before they reached their full potential. Streets and parks are still covered with a dusting of pink snow, reminding, perhaps more than usual, of the beauty of transience.
I spent three different days tracking their progress in Saito City, along with the rapeseed that is in full bloom.
Since moving to Miyazaki, I have spent many a weekend visiting friends in the city of Hyuga. Located in the northern part of the prefecture, the port is a hub of economic and industrial activity. It is also a popular surfing spot and famous for its natural beauty.
I spent a day exploring some of Hyuga’s most popular attractions, all of which are free of charge but offer priceless views of the breathtaking scenery.