February 21st, 2010
Jijinsai = Ground-breaking ceremony.
There can be no better way to start construction than with a ceremony to wish the endeavor good luck.
It is surreal to be asking for good luck from the spirits in a parking lot, with the temporary shrine set over a numbered space, and a truck parked to one side, but the god-spirits of Japan are not elitist that way. And the ceremony itself is great. A kind of reverse catharsis – not clearing the tension but building it up.
Actually now that I think on it, it is fascinating that houses and parking lots sit perfectly content side-by-side. That is not even an artifact of urban life, nor something that is limited to Tokyo, but a possibility for any site anywhere in Japan. I have written about it in academic papers, but never made the connection with our architectural work. It is a symbol of the amount of flexibility and freedom available to us here as architects and planners. It also makes for an interesting set of photographs.