日光vs.月光 Sunlight vs. Moonlight

2010.04.25: 日米関係Culture Shock


偶然、私が今、読んでいる本にその話題がちょうど出ました。Simon Mayという作家のAtomic Sushiと言う本。彼が10年前ぐらいにUKから来て、東大で一年間で哲学を教えた時に欧米と日本の文化や物の見方の違いの話。



Yesterday's topic was about our lighting fixtures here at Kamesei Ryokan, how we are hoping to upgrade from fluorescent to LED lights. In addition, I am hoping to upgrade our types of lighting in order to enhance the relaxing mood of our inn.
For example, our guest rooms typically have one ceiling mounted fixture with round flourescent tubes, and a straight flourescent tube lighting the tokonoma alcove.
Is this the best way to provide lighting for the guestrooms? Even our boss here (my mother-in-law) complains that the one ceiling fixture doesn't provide enough light -- the guests can't see what they're eating. The lighting pro that came yesterday mentioned that Japan's lighting level standards have changed. New construction nowadays would provide more light in these types of rooms.

Just by coincidence, the book I'm reading now discussed that very subject. The book is "Atomic Sushi" by Simon May. He came from the UK about 10 years ago to teach philosophy at Tokyo U. for a year, and he wrote this book based on the differences in Western and Japanese thinking and world view.
Regarding interior decorating, he commented:

*Western rooms tend to be bright and colorful. Windows are positioned as to allow sunlight to reach every nook and cranny. Walls and shelves are covered with decorations and "objects" that express the taste and interests of the owners, personifying the room.
*Japanese rooms on the other hand are usually more reserved and shadows play as much of a role as light does. Sunlight doesn't come in directly, but is filtered through the rice paper of the shoji screens. The texture of the rice paper screens and the straw tatami mats would be lost in harsher light, but come alive with softer light, like that of moonbeams.

In other words, Western rooms are meant for sunlight, and Japanese rooms for moonlight. Interesting ideas. I would add that traditional Japanese rooms are enhanced by candlelight, too.

As we upgrade the lighting here at Kamesei, I want to use it as much as possible to enhance the inherent calming aspects. The lighting expert gave us some tips: Use warmer colored light bulbs, and the lower the better. I intend to use his ideas to use downlights to light the walls, bringing the focal point of the lighting down closer to the floor. And use spotlights in the tokonoma to focus light on the wall hanging and the object placed at the bottom of the alcove.

It'll be fun to play with some of these ideas.

For more on "Atomic Sushi"の詳しくはこちら

Old style lighting -- How can this be improved?


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