A proud native of the Second City, producer Jenny Lawton joined Studio 360 in 2007. Since then, she's produced the show's American Icons specials on the Disney parks and I Love Lucy, lots of stories in the Aha Moments series, and a portrait of the Japanese tea ceremony from Kyoto. She also serves as the managing editor of studio360.org and coordinates the show's internship program. Jenny started recording interviews as a Watson Fellow in India and Spain, researching the origins of flamenco dance. She cut her teeth in journalism at Chicago Public Radio, where she filed stories on culture, politics, technology, and the environment for WBEZ as well as NPR's Morning Edition and PRI's The World, among other programs. Jenny was awarded a USC-Annenberg/NEA Arts Journalism Fellowship, and lectures about radio and sound design at NYU and her alma mater, Kenyon College.
Temple-hopping (or: the temples are hopping)
Saturday, November 15, 2008 - 12:38 PM
It's high season in Kyoto -- this weekend, the autumn colors are at their brightest and it seems like the whole country plus several others have converged on the city to take a look. Luckily, there are dozens of temples (probably a dozen 'major' ones alone) with gorgeous landscapes and plenty of leaves to go around. Locals are so serious about this stuff that they know which temples will be in full color to the day. On one such recommendation, I hit three temple complexes on the city's east side (at the base of the Higashimaya mountains), and 300 photos later (my bad) I was deliciously spent. The oranges and reds I saw today (and couldn't adequately capture on camera) make New England's leaves look tame -- particularly because they aren't set against the backdrop of 400-year old sculpted tile roofs and arched footbridges. It's as if the temple grounds were designed to highlight the beauty of the leaves' decay.
You're probably thinking, 'it's just leaves.' And initially, I was too. But I surprised myself with how moved I was by the colors, the shapes, and the way they effortlessly, asymmetrically, and somehow perfectly complimented each other. Beautiful, intimate, and fleeting: maybe I'm finally wrapping my head around the Japanese aesthetic wabi-sabi. To me, this felt more profound than what was going on inside the temples -- something that needed to be savored and revered.
- Jenny Lawton