Last winter view of Mt. Fuji from Mount Takao, before the spring haze sets in.
I want to apologize to everyone for not being around for such a long time. I mean to write every day, but recently I got involved with a huge project designing the international brochure for Keio Plaza Hotel. For those of you who don’t know what the Keio Plaza Hotel is, just try picturing yourself doing the brochure for the entire chain of the Ritz… and then having it be the first time to do such a big project. While it is exciting and certainly a lot of fun to be given basically free rein to come up with a completely new concept for the hotel (it’s hard imagining that I will be responsible in part for the image that the hotel projects to all international visitors who come to Tokyo and stay at the hotel!), and that I basically have a budget to make most graphic designers drool, I must say that the pressure is enough to whiten a few more areas of my goatee.
The first night after I met with the hotel public relations team and descended from the dizzying heights of the Imperial Suite (the hotel is one of the biggest and tallest buildings in Japan) down into the restaurants, passing some 1,450 rooms and 27 restaurants, my brain was so frazzled by the sheer complexity and numerousness of services and facilities that I went into a panic. I lay in bed awash with too many images and sensory overload, and with the looming tower of the hotel glaring down at me, demanding to know how I, this little blip of a graphic designer, would dare to presume to grasp the concept of such a giant entity. Somewhere around 3:00 in the morning I thought my sense of self was going to go nova, and I entertained the thought of just giving up, no matter the shame, embarrassment, and inconvenience I would cause to those I was working with.
But then it occurred to me, damn, this is just a silly little pamphlet, not the actual planning of the hotel itself! And then I thought, it is only a hotel, not some baby whose life was in my hands. Just a hotel.
And that’s when, for the first time in my life when facing what I imagined was a truly big personal crisis, I consciously seemed to wrap my mind around a concept that seemed bigger than I could grasp. I realized that that’s how ideas work and how a single mind could handle seemingly overwhelming situations if the mind itself is given enough leeway. I conjured up the image of my hand wrapping around the hotel and squeezing it down to size. And it worked! The moment the hotel became this little idea and the strength of the idea of simplicity stepped in, suddenly my whole body let go of the tension and I could feel myself breathing easier. Within ten minutes I was fast asleep, the exploratory half of my mind free to roam the cosmos of invention.
I hope I can learn a lesson from what happened and use it for how I deal with my life in general. Perhaps until now I’ve always imagined my life is being somehow much bigger than my spirit, but I wonder if what I can imagine and what my trail though the years actually is are not actually the same thing. It is certainly something to ponder.