Sunday, August 12, 2012

In Search of a Soul & A Gift

Architects: Canadian Raymond Moriyama and American Dwight E. Holmes
With our visiting guests, Dwight and Mary Rose Holmes, we received an invitation to the office of architects: Moriyama and Teshima, in Toronto.
Raymond Moriyama warmly greets us and we are excorted to  his office.  Raymond is gentle, impeccably groomed, meticulously mannered, wise  and soft spoken.
Born in Vancouver and educated in Toronto and Montreal,  Moriyama is one of Canada's most respected architects.

The Canadian War Museum, in Ottawa, completed in 2005, was designed by Raymond.

The Canadian War Museum
When asked how it felt to be selected as the architect for this project, he responded:-

Exciting, challenging, arduous, spiritual, rewarding
These words only begin to describe how I feel about designing and realizing the new Canadian War Musem.  I struggled between happiness and frustration . In the process, memories of my forst foray into architecture, long ago at the age of twelve emerged from the deep crevices of my mind. Seeking solace from the degradations of life in an internment camp, I designed and secretly built a tree house on the side of Little Mountain, an elongated hill next to Slocan River in the shadow of the Rockies. However, my treehouse was not a museum but a sanctuary during wartime.

Sketch of Treehouse, 1942-43 designed by Raymond Moriyama


What led me to build a tree house?  After Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941, all twenty two thousand people of Japanese ancestry living in the coastal areas of British Columbia -mostly born in Canada- were rounded up as enemy aliens and shipped inland to various camps. My father refused to be separated from my pregnant mother and had a miscarriage and I lost the only brother I ever could have had. 

His company philosophy:

The Three L's

(used on each project to broaden our understanding of client, user and passive citizen needs and to address conflicts and important ideas),
1. Listen.  Listen carefully to others. It is said that if you listen well enough you will have no  questions to ask.
2. Learn. Strive to learn from others by listening well and by additional research.
3. Leadership. Lead with wisdom and an open heart, and work to earn leadership and respect in design.
My gift from Raymond Moriyana


Our meeting concluded all too quickly and he gifted me with a copy of his book.  "In Search of a Soul".  As  we drove away you could hear a "golden nail drop," we all were in total silence.  We wanted to remember this meeting in detail and in particular the wisdom and kindness imparted to us by this very special and rare man.
Image from book of the  Canadian War Museum


His book has touched my soul and has so many vitally important lessons on running a successful business in any field of design and perhaps life in general. 

Image from book - Cdn. War Museum


He refers the Bellai Brothers who completed the concrete work to perfection on the War Museum and the many skilled workers and suppliers on the job.  They are mentioned in his book as representatives of all the committed and skilled suppliers on the job.  For a comtemporary architect, encountering this kind of on-site enthusiasm and pride is rare.  " I felt elated by our relationship, propelled by the poem my father had given me, beautifully hand-scripted, at my high school graduation:

"Into God's temple of eterniity
Drive a nail of gold"

My father did not ask me to build the temple or even to consider designing it.  A gentle teacher, he was simply asking me to drive a single nail into God's temple of eternity, just one, but one forged of gold.



 End of Meeting

Back cover of "In Search of a Soul"


I cannot ask you, however, will be delighted if you tell me, how you have used or will use your single nail of gold.  I will kindly ask:  who you feel  has hammered in their golden nail and where?

I promptly went to the book store and ordered a copy of:  IN SEARCH OF A SOUL by Raymond Moriyama as a gift to my readers.  I wish I could send each of you a copy.  It is like none other.  The images look like spectacular abstract paintings and are actually mostly of the interior of the Canadian War Museum.  I have only briefly touched on the wisdom and beauty contained with this book.  This book is a most suitable gift to young people entering into the working world and for those of us who continue to learn.  It has sat on my coffee table since.
 

If you would like to be considered for the draw, please leave a comment.   I will randomly pick one
on August  24th at 2300 hrs GMT. All readers from all countries are eligible.









44 comments:

  1. What great advice in the 3 L's. Listen, Learn and Leadership. I wish I had a teacher who imparted that when I was young. I feel listening is becoming diluted...people are distracted all the time now. A great post. Although I haven;t seen the war museum, my husband and daughter saw it on their Ottawa trip.

    Thank you for a post full of wisdom today.

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    1. Hello Chania

      Thank you for comment. I do agree that people are listening less and conversations are constantly interrupted, unnecessarily. The Canadian War Museum is a powerful experience. I need to return now that I have met Raymond Moriyana and will view it with a more keen eye.

      Have a great week

      Helen xx

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  2. What a post, his book sounds really interesting but this ""Into God's temple of eterniity
    Drive a nail of gold" is worthy of an embroidered cushion, if only I could do such a thing, I think the lack of this is what cases many of my black dog days, I really have never achieved anything or been good at anything.

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    1. Hello Tabitha

      What a great suggestion that "someone" embroider these words on a cushion. I could just see it, possibly a rich velvet or brocade cushion with gold lettering and guilded tassels.
      Your talent for writing in such an amusing fashion brings joy to your many followers and I feel this is golden. It is to me. So please continue to dip your golden nib in ink.

      Helen xx

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  3. Hello Helen:
    What a wonderful encounter. That it should happen to someone as yourself comes as no surprise, nor that in the aftermath of such an experience you should use the meeting with Raymond Moriyama to reflect on his philosophy of life in relation to your own as well as the lives of others. This, dear Helen, says so much of the person who you are and is, of course, just one of the many qualities you possess which we so much admire.

    The Canadian War Museum looks to be a most interesting building. Its very shape and colour are suggestive of instruments of war, a U-boat or, indeed, any submarine comes to mind and the way in which it hugs the ground reminds one of a soldier in combat advancing across a desolate battlefield.

    That you have chosen to give away an additional copy of 'In Search of a Soul' speaks volumes of your thoughtfulness and generosity and how wonderful it would be if such a book were to go to a young person starting out. We were privileged and fortunate enough previously to win the wonderful calendar, which we so much treasure. Please do not include us in this draw.

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    1. Dearest Jane and Lance

      It was indeed a wonderful encounter as you state. Thank you for your generous words. I am blushing. You are more than kind.

      Your observations on the War Museum are very interesting and I am sure Raymond Moriyana would be pleased to hear this. I know both of you would absolutely love his company too, as you would that of Dwight Holmes.

      I am delighted to give a copy of the book away and only wish I could sit around with you and review it, over a cappucino. It is the type of book where one says, did you see this?

      Thank you for your generosity in declining the book, in favour of it going to another younger person. I shall respect your decision.
      Wishing you a week of joy
      Helen xx

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    1. I agree. The book is clear and simple in its wisdom

      Wishing you a great week

      Helen xx

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  5. What a delightful person. I love the quote his father shared with him.
    Karen

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    1. Hello Kare

      He is indeed delightful and memorable. I met an architect this week who spoke of meeting Raymond at a funeral recently and she said she remembers every word he spoke to her. His father sounded like a very special man too.

      Have a glorious week

      Helenxx

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  6. Other people can be so inspiring, and it sounds as if you just met a fine example. That is a brilliant quote. Alas I have no nail of gold myself, but there are many lovely bloggers ( of whom you and the lovely Tabs are just two) who brighten other peoples lives even if only for a few moments and whether you think it or not, you all add your own little rivet of gold.

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    1. Hello

      I had a perfect sentence ready to type and then I looked at your image by Sulky Kitten and immediately giggled and lost my trail of thought. I love this image. It is kind, does not take itself seriously and yet says I can't believe you are typing this nonsense. Where was I? yes,
      Raymond Moriyana is truly unique. His vocabulary is rich without unneccessary words (definitely not Irish). I love Tabs and she makes me smile and laugh. Thank you for putting me in the same sentence as the Tabs, I am honoured.
      Your last post on the Spice Girls was an incredible piece of writing. Thank you for stopping by and wishing you a week of joy

      Helen xx

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  7. Such an inspiring post about a giant of a man. What a lovely experience you had of meeting and talking with him. Encounters such as these are a gift and I thank you for sharing it with your readers, Helen.
    Have a wonderful week.

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    1. Hello Sanda

      The word "giant" is a very good description of Raymond Moriyana. It was truly a wonderful surprise to meet the man behind buildings I have greatly admired and then to find someone so spiritual and whole was more than expected.
      Wishing you a week of joy

      Helen xx

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  8. What an interesting and inspiring post! The story behind the War Museum is very moving and the book sounds wonderful!

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    1. Hello Jen

      Thank you for your kind words. It is a museum well worth visiting and also has a tremendous art collection. The book is an absolute treasure and the images within just beautiful.
      Helen xx

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  9. Helen, this is such a personal, beautifully-felt post. Now, I feel like I have a book and a (Kahn's) cake from your heart. This experience, the memory of your father's words which have guided a part of your inner evolution feel so similar to what I posted about this week.

    I feel the lovely weight of this synchronicity.

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    1. Hello Suze

      Thank you for your compliment. Some day we must share a slice of Kahn's cake. My apologies for not writing more clearly Suze, "Into God's temple of eternity, Drive a nail of gold" are the words of a poem handwritten by Raymond Moriyana's father and given to Raymond at his high school graduation.

      I loved your post of this week.

      Helen xx

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  10. Helen, What wonderful lessons you and Mr. Moriyama have shared. As I prepare to leave to work in my classroom today I will be thinking of the three L's. I believe they are as relevant in the classroom as in the business office. I so enjoyed reading this inspiring post. Thank you!

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    1. Hello Bonnie
      Thank you for taking the time to write prior to attending your classroom. I agree with you when you say the three L's are relevant in all facets of learning for all ages. There is lots of wisdom in the book.

      Wishing you a joyful week

      Helen xx

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  11. Hi Helen, this is a wonderfully uplifting post - it really made my day to read it. Your father's words are so poetic. I am not sure what I am doing would qualify as "a golden nail", but I am strongly motivated by the idea of creating a body of artistic work that I can look back on and be proud of, and changing careers to something where I feel like I am helping others in some small way. Thank you so much for writing this! It is so inspiring.

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    1. Hello Louise

      Why thank you for your compliment. My apologies for being unclear Louise on my post. The father's words of wisdom
      "Into God's temple of eternity
      Drive a nail of gold
      are the words of Raymond Moriyana's father.(not my father's).
      I believe your blog and your journey of learning is golden.
      Perhaps some are given several golden nails and this is how you are using them. Should we try and use a golden nail daily? We could go on!

      Have a wonderful week

      Helen xx

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  12. Thank you so much for visiting my blog. Your blog is beautiful, and this is an interesting post. This looks like a wonderful book.

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    1. Hello Jenny

      Welcome to my blog and thank you for this kind compliment.
      I love the book "In Search of a Soul" and each time I pick it up I see something new.
      Wishing you a joyful weekend

      Helen xx

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  13. I would be thrilled to have this book...I know I would enjoy reading it! Thanks for the inspiring post and your thoughtfulness! Hugs!

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    1. Hello Diane

      Thanks for stopping in. I know you would love this book and the story behind it. To read of how some, despite horrific experiences, build a life of meaning truly inspires.

      Helen xx

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  14. It sounds like a very interesting book! I hope you enjoy your visit to Youghal next month:) It is a lovely part of the country!
    ~Anne

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    1. Hello Anne

      It is indeed a fascinating book and Raymond Moriyana continues to create and inspire.
      Thank you for your good wishes and we are indeed looking forward to Youghal and the South West.

      Helen xx

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  15. My dearest Helen, thank you so much for your recommendation and sharing the wisdom of the three Ls. I must write this down in my "literary scrapbook". Quotes - I love oral tradition of handing down one's wisdom or knowledge or philosophy. That's how I was taught by my grandparents. It's a very narrative education. But one has to write things down while you remember it! Otherwise, one tends to forget. Hope you have a wonderful weekend. Best wishes, ASD x

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    1. Dearest ASD

      I know you would love spending time with Raymond Moriyana, who has the wisdom and kindness you often express when speaking of your grandparents. You have prompted me to to start a "Literary scrapbook" and so important to document this wisdom.

      Wishing you a weekend of joy

      Helen xx

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  16. This sounds absolutely fascinating Helen and I think my husband would find it particularly interesting so I would love to be included in the draw.

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    1. Hello LindyLou

      It is a book to treasure. I love the book and it proudly sits on my coffee table. The images are thought provoking and so much wisdom and lessons are included.

      Hope your weekend is marvelous

      Helen xx

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  17. Dear Helen,
    I would love to participate here! I think the wisdom of the 3 L´s might be applicated in everyone´s life if you have to deal with others and in any business-life. Very interesting indeed!
    Thank you very much for both your mails with I did read recently. I´m sorry for this late answer, since I do not read very often my Gmail-account. But I did indeed close the comment-section on my blog for some time, since I received some nasty spam and messages from unknown people lately.
    All the best to you, hope you´re well,
    Marjolijn

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    1. Hello Marjolijn

      So lovely to hear from you again. I have missed commenting on your beautiful blog. Sorry to hear of the spam and unwelcome messages.

      I am delighted to include you in the giveaway. It is a beautiful book and has so much contained within it's covers.

      Thank you for asking, we are keeping really well and loving every minute of a beautiful summer

      Helenxx

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  18. Helen dear - this is a very touching post. You are a very wise woman! I have written down the 3 Ls - one should not forget about them. Thanks for your lovely comments and your youtube hint. Have a fabulous weekend - I am looking forward to your next post! Christa

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    1. Hello Christa

      Thank you for reading this post and I am delightful you found it of interest. There are many wonderful lessons in the book, like the 3L's. So simply but performed by very few.
      I will look forward to reading your next post on Ireland.

      Helen xx

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  19. Oh Helen count me in on this book, the golden nail that I would drive in would be the nail driven into living life soulfully and thanking God for the strength to live it with passion and honoring every blessing given.
    The real art is in living Helen and you my friend are living it well with life and history on your side.

    Thank you for your beautiful visit and comment that encourages my artful passion to create, and learn.
    Xox
    Dore

    Ps. The other link to your site when I click onto it it takes me to a Verizon page and not your site may want to check that out on your profile page.

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    1. Hello Dore
      Thank you for your kind words. It was a most memorable day meeting Raymond Moriyana and he is very much a part of history. He is working on a project in Saudi Arabia which is very environmentally friends and ground breaking.

      Your art always moves me and I find it and your blog very inspiring.

      I will check on the link you referred to and many thanks

      Helen xx

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  20. Ahhhh.....Helen, do you know out of all the passions I have for the arts, that ARCHITECTURE was my first and foremost adventure to explore? As a young girl however, I was dissuaded from pursuing this field of study for PHYSICS was a part of the curriculum and somehow, certain people in my world didn't think it was for me....

    I love this post. Building, no matter what the project, has so many life lessons to it. AND....thank you for coming to visit my post. I KNEW you would love that fabulous painting of the orange sunset. I never liked orange, but set against my favorite shade of aqua, I suddenly have NEW EYES....

    Anita

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    1. Hello Anita

      I am sure you would have been an excellent architect. You certainly have the art and scale mastered.
      You are so right when you say building has many life lessons and great architects have such vision.

      Have a great weekend

      Helen xx

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  21. A lovely read, a poignant post. Thanks Helen and thanks so much for coming over and wishing son a Happy Birthday :)

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    1. Thank you for visiting and for your words of encouragement.
      Looking forward to future visits

      Helen xx

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  22. I'm too late for the drawing but, still, want to tell you what a beautiful post this is! I have to ruminate about the concept of 'the golden nail' for a while. It's a lovely allegory!

    xxo

    btw, I was so happy to add you into my bloglist of 'friends on the journey with me' at the bottom of my photojournal. It makes perfect sense to me! Brilliant idea! ;) =] I'm afraid that I just don't pay attention to that part of it all like I should. I really, really need to do some bloggy housekeeping! One of these days...=]

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  23. Building a secret tree house on a mountain side? You're just fresh out of a romance novel! The closest I've ever got to that is falling from my access platform doing some DIY tree surgery on a hill in Devon.

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