On the Surface: Japan

Sara Portesan

“It’s been four months and I’ve still only just scratched the surface of Japanese culture.” “Every time one question is answered, another surfaces.” “Japan is more than what it looks like on the surface.” Blah blah blah.

What is this surface? Can a country have a surface? How is it made? What’s it used for? How do you clean it?

Let us look at some surfaces in Japan, just for fun.


A man hole cover.


(The woman who lives in this house went in as I was taking the picture and gave me a funny look. Awkward…)


(Worn down map on wall? Maybe?)



Best wall in my area. I wish I could paint like this.





Kamogawa River- Along the way from Shijo station to the National Kyoto Art Museum



Tree bark at the Imperial Palace



River by my house. It’s a beautiful, but sad river. You will always find a heron in it, but also a lot of trash. The streets are so clean here; I don’t understand the rivers.



Lastly, paper

Yup. All paper.

So what can you tell about Japan from the surfaces I chose? Hmm. Perhaps I will keep looking.