CONTRIBUTED BY STACI HAWLEY
Imagine you are sipping tea in a perfectly manicured garden, with combed rocks, a few bonsai trees and the perfect amount of silent shade. It may be one of those details about Japan that you will want to replicate in your garden when you get stateside. It took me a while to notice this piece of the Japanese architecture, because like all things Japanese, it complements its surroundings while providing a useful purpose. In Japan, rain chains or “kusari doi” have been a step up from the usual rain gutter pipe or drain. It originated hundreds of years ago as a “stylish” spout to guide rainwater into large pots for gardening and household purposes.
I took this photo of a rain chain in Beitou Hot Springs in Taipei, Taiwain. Among popular chain styles is the kiku chain, inspired by the chrysanthemum flower. This has special importance in the Japanese garden for it is the official crest and symbol of the Japanese imperial family. There is also a scalloped square chain which has a box-like shape featuring scalloped tops and bottoms, and different styles of interlocking chains. Because of the variations in shape, density, direction of water flow and size of rain chains, each chain will sound different while channeling water. Some will be softly soothing like a bubbling brook while others as dramatic as a waterfall. So if you want to add a little feng-shui to your life, I found them at the Navy Fleet Gift Shop on Lester for about 150.00.