For as long as I can remember, I have slept on tatami mats whenever I am in Taiwan. When my parents modeled our home over a decade ago, my mother decided to install a washitsu instead of another “regular” bedroom. Complete with tatami flooring, sliding doors, and oriental decorations, this has been my bedroom as a child and now during my visits.
My recent fascination is subtle textures and patterns. From lacy lingerie to tiled flooring to various window bar designs, the mundane patterned textures can be so gorgeous. Therefore, when I moved into the washitsu on Thursday, I was captivated by the detailed straw strips, the decorative cloth lining, and the overall puzzled layouts of tatami.
In fact, arranging tatami mats is a rather layered exercise. Because of the fixed rectangular shape of the mats, the possible arrangements are numerous for each room and even more for an entire floor plan. Additionally, certain traditional rules (auspicious “T” arrangements and ominous grid patterns) complicate tatami fitting to create nearly infinite designs. Thus, tatami creates many alternate galaxies tied together by a few constants of shape and traditions. A visual representation of synchronicity.
Tatami arrangement is truly a mesmerizing art.
Kami-sama no Iu Toori by Etsuko Yakushimaru
Indeed, the beauty is exemplified by the ending sequence of The Tatami Galaxy/ Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei (四畳半神話大系). Perhaps one of my favorite sequences ever, it employs a variety of exquisite textures, pleasant retro pallete, and exciting animation to create a stunning experience. I absolutely love it.
Also, the ending song, in addition to Arakawa Under the Bridge OP and others, solidifies Etsuko Yakushimaru as one of my favorite Japanese singer.