Photo: my imperfect bowl at breakfast, Ryokan Yakutatei, Kirishima, Kagoshima.

In the ancient world of Chinese Tang porcelain making, transluence of the material is an art form and the highest level of craft excellence. Porcelain was a craft perfected by Chinese and introduced to the rest of the world.

Enter the Japanese philosophical concept of wabi sabi to balance this sense of perfectionism.

Appreciating the simple raw beauty of the imperfect. How the Japanese can become such masters of excellence is the balance of seeing the beauty in the imperfect and the simple.


Traveler, your footprints
are the only road, nothing else.
Traveler, there is no road;
you make your own path as you walk.
As you walk, you make your own road,
and when you look back
you see the path
you will never travel again.
Traveler, there is no road;
only a ship’s wake on the sea.

Antonio Machado (Spain, 1875-1939), translation by Mary G. Berg and Dennis Maloney, source Poetry Foundation
[Traveler, your footprints] is published in There Is No Road, 2003, White Pine Press


[Traveler, your footprints]

Mark Savickas’s keynote

A man was carrying his backpack and ran into a kind person who offered him a ride on his truck.

In the truck, the man would not let down his backpack. When asked, the man replied. “Sir, you are so kind to give me a lift, how can I burden you by imposing my backpack on you?