Story 5. Pond

This flower vessel is a reproduces of a “Pond”.

The elements composing the “Pond” have been minimized to the extreme.
When I simplify the image of my “Pond” to its utmost simplicity, only the “water surface” and the “moon” floating on that surface remain.  This flower vessel creates the space of the moon floating on the water surface.

On that water surface, there is a space as if time has come to a complete standstill—no waves, no wind, just tranquility. Flowers are arranged there.
It feels quiet, undisturbed, a transparent moment.

In the previous work “Dimension,” I considered the fusion of boundaries, and in “Inside,” I thought about the separation of space. This work captures the water surface stretched over the flower vessel as a “boundary.”

Within a square frame, there’s a circular hole, filled with water. Inside that, a white cylinder is positioned. This cylinder is submerged in the water, yet it should also resemble the moon reflected on the water surface.

Origin of the idea:

An interesting anecdote was introduced at the beginning of the book “Thinking about art from the age of 13” (Author: Yukiho Suenaga)

A 4-year-old boy observing Monet’s painting “Water Lilies” in an art museum. When asked by a nearby curator for his thoughts, the boy responded, “There’s a frog.”

Water Lilies (Agapanthus), c. 1915–26. Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926).
Photo by The Cleveland Museum of Art on Unsplash

The curator, aware that there was no frog depicted in “Water Lilies,” asked, “Where is it?”

The boy answered, “It’s underwater right now.”

This episode explains the essence of ” the way of looking at things.” The boy saw “Water Lilies” in his own unique way and found his own answer.

After reading this episode, I wondered what happened to that frog. Where did it go?

The boy imagined the frog from the leaves floating on the pond in the painting, or perhaps he actually saw it. And maybe that frog started moving and went somewhere.

How far does this series of “images” continue? Or did it stop, forgotten and vanished from his mind? Or does the “image” continue to wander somewhere? For example, in the mind of someone who heard or read this episode, is the frog still swimming underwater?

The boundary between what is seen and what is imagined:

When you ponder these thoughts, you feel like countless worlds are born from a single painting, a single story. If there’s a trigger for images to expand, it might be the moment the frog jumps into the water. From there, countless possibilities emerge.

The “water surface” reflects light like a mirror, displaying the world, and it conceals what’s beneath it. Alternatively, it can become transparent, revealing what lies below the surface.

The boundary between air-filled space and the space of water, the water surface as a boundary, carries significant meaning so as physically.

Movement of water surface and flow of time

Imagine Basho Matsuo’s famous haiku,
“The old pond; A frog jumps in_ The sound of the water.”

Basho may not have seen the frog or even the pond.

He was in a quiet thicket, sitting alone, calming his heart when suddenly, a water drop sound nearby caught his attention. This sound conjured an image of ripples spreading across the water’s surface in his mind.

And maybe, up until that point, it had been silent and still, as if time had frozen. In the silence of the stagnant water surface, accompanied by the sound of the water drop sound ripples spread across the entire pond.

The water surface seems to be the boundary between the “halt of time” and the “passage of time.”

Why do frogs jump into ponds?

When you perceive the water surface as a “boundary,” the answer to why the frog jumped into the pond becomes clear.

“Because it wanted to go to another world.”
(Of course, in reality, it might be due to dry skin or food issue.)

Perhaps Basho heard the sound during a dark time—definitely at night! (This is purely my imagination.)

The frog jumped into the pond with the intention of reaching the round moon reflected on the water’s surface. It might have wanted to meet the moon’s rabbit, dance together like in “Choju giga,” or simply visit the beautiful round moon. It was an illusion, but it was the “beautiful world that seemed within reach” or the “world below the unknown water surface.” So, it leaped into that world.

It aimed to cross the boundary.

A frog in a well does not know the ocean, still leaping towards the moon. My understanding of the world is just a small part. But who cares about that? Let’s give it a try! The frog might not have reached the moon, but a different world surely expanded beneath the water.

Why do humans aim for the moon?


A grand, ambitious, and difficult goal to achieve is called a “moonshot.” If accomplished, it brings significant impact. Some might perceive it negatively as an impractical, vague goal, but fundamentally, it’s a positive notion, like saying, “Let’s set our sights on a moonshot!”

People make wishes upon the sky, stars, and moon.

Also, the goal of reaching the moon is often used as a synonym for ambitious goals.

In essence, looking at the sky, the stars, and the moon is associated with hope and aspirations.

The meaning held by the water surface as a boundary

The water surface can serve as a mirror reflecting your current self or as a mirror reflecting stars or moon as another world or hope. If you perceive the water surface as the “destination to leap into,” then it becomes the latter, “hope.”

Seeing an illusory image of hope on the water’s surface and diving in.

The foreground of the water is reality.
The other side of the water surface is an unclear future.

This moment you’re in and the unknown ahead.

The boundary is the water surface.

Quietly gazing at the moon.
This flower vessel was designed to create such a space.

Ingenuity of shape

In ikebana, typically, efforts are made to hide the “kenzan” (needle holder). This Pond water basin is composed of two parts. By sandwiching the stems of the flowers between the inner circular part and the transparent outer frame, flowers can be arranged without using a kenzan. 

* A flower container with a wide, shallow shape, like a plate or tray, is called a “suiban” or “suibon”

© 2021