Wales and Japan
Ceibwr Bay—one of the many bays and inlets along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path in Wales is rather special.  Reached along a narrow road from the hamlet of Moylegrove the bay is flanked by high cliffs.  Formed over millions of years the cliff folds are evidence of how layers of rock have been bent and folded by powerful movements of the Earth’s crust.

This exposed face of Ordoviian rocks is, of course, unusual.  It is the kind of example that might find its way into a geography or geology text book.  And, for that matter, it surely has been sketched and painted for its raw beauty and photographed as a seldom-seen phenomena.  It is nothing short of inspirational.

Near Moylegrove is the town of Newport Pembrokeshire.  Although it shares its name with the large conurbation of Newport on the southern coast of Wales, that is where comparisons end.

This small town lies on the coast road and is much favoured as a summer retreat for families from all over the United Kingdom.  The mountains rising up behind the town are thought to have provided some of the monoliths for Stonehenge and there are many burial mounds as well as archeological remains of settlements.

Close to the centre of this attractive town is this stone-faced road-side house.  Perhaps my comparison of its facade with the cliff face at Ceibwr Bay is fanciable but there are certainly similarities.

Clearly there are some structural benefits to the way the stones have been laid but was this done by a mason based on years of experience or could the folded strata at Ceibwr Bay have been an inspiration.  Who knows.

Many traditional buildings in Wales are built of stone and do not have any decorative features on their exteriors.  They simple resist the elements.

The same can be said of traditional Japanese buildings.  Their character is of a structure to fend off the elements—rain, snow and wind while providing shade from the sun and enough ventilation to make the hot humid summer months more bearable.  Such buildings are empirical as well as expressions of pure logic shaped by the laws of nature.

It is the interiors of some traditional Japanese buildings occupied by the wealthy and nobel that display patterns and objects inspired by nature and the elements.

Tokikuni House, Noto Peninsula—Typical of how some traditional buildings in Japan are all roof.

Bill Tingey Photo © Copyright

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