Zapraszamy do zapoznania się z treścią najnowszego wywiadu z Takashim Amano opublikowanym na łamach magazynu Aqua Journal(AJ) numer 234. Wywiad dostępny jest w języku angielskim i został przeprowadzony w ramach akcji promocyjnej największego akwarium roślinnego, jakie powstało w Lizbonie.
The Passion for “The Tropical Paradise”
Interview with Takashi Amano:
AJ: Congratulations on your creation of the world’s largest Nature Aquarium. How do you feel about it
Amano: I just feel relieved to complete this project because I was thinking that I was the only one
who can handle this 40m aquarium tank. I fulfilled my responsibility to create the very best layout
for the project. There will be a lot more challenges in maintenance, but now I simply feel relieved
that I have passed the baton to the Portuguese side.
AJ : How did you feel when you first saw the 40m tank with your eyes at Oceanário de Lisboa?
Amano: I have done a thorough simulation in my mind, so I believed that I could handle and do
anything that can happen in the production scene. I have enough experience that supports my belief
and I trust my adaptability.
AJ: There were various challenges in the driftwood prepared by Oceanário de Lisboa about its remained
buoyancy and whether the size is too small. How did you feel when you saw an
array of driftwood on the first day?
Amano: When I first saw the driftwood prepared by Oceanário de Lisboa, I felt, “I can make it with
these wood.” I just know that kind of sense by sight. Oceanário side has prepared plenty of driftwood
and I knew I could manage somehow. The approach of attaching stones to driftwood had been in my mind
as a solution to avoid the risk of wood floating out of substrate. Since it was my first time to use
this approach, I was also planning which wire to use to tie the rocks and stones around the wood
before coming to Portugal. Usually, there is no way we use floaty driftwood (grin). We didn’t know
the shapes and textures of driftwood until we saw the actual pieces. That was my concern but I’m
happy I have somehow managed it in the end.
AJ: It must be hard to place driftwood in the tank to construct the composition frame. You finally
used up all the driftwood prepared and made a fantastic layout composition on the spot in a short
period of time by using impromptu ideas. What were you conscious of?
Amano: I always make meticulous planning. On the night after the day’s session and in the morning
before starting the activities, I made simulation in every aspect, from work procedures to the time
allocation for each process. It was impossible for me to drive the team forward
unless I input every detail of the work in mind in advance. Through my experience of working with
various people in the world, I know people from each country have their own strengths and weaknesses,
which are different from those of Japanese. I always try to bring out their strengths and good points
as much as possible. Therefore, I actually prepared yellow and red cards so that everyone can work
equally under the same rules, though I was the only referee (laughter). Finally, none of the team was
sent off, because every one of them worked hard following my direction.
AJ: Most of the overseas staff joined the making of Nature Aquarium for the first time. I am pretty
sure they were surprised to see how fast the work progressed.
Amano: Speed is important for layout making. Basically, the speed of constructing composition frame
using stones and driftwood should be constant regardless if the tank is small or large. As this part
of the process speeds up, the layout will look more vibrant with dynamic flow. I never become
indecisive in layout making. I am perfectly confident of what I do; so I don’t go for a do-over.
AJ: After the layout making was completed, you said that the layout turned out 200% better than you
had imagined. What motivated you to create that magnificent work?
Amano: It’s hard to say what motivated me, but I had a strong sense of mission. I have been thinking
that this would be my lifetime project and I simply and wholeheartedly wanted to create something
great so that Oceanário de Lisboa would feel that it was a right choice that they invited me for the
layout making. I was simply glad to see all the aquarium staff feeling happy about the layout during
the party after the completion of the layout. This made me ultimately happy as I thought my mission
had been accomplished. As I mentioned earlier, this layout was created under various constraints and
accordingly, there were a lot of challenges. Yet, we solved these challenges quite well, actually
better than I expected. Before starting the layout making, I anticipated that I might not be able to
express the fine details of layout to my satisfaction due to the constraints and other various
conditions. But in the end, the layout turned out very magnificent with a sense of subtle
meticulousness. In every layout making, there are plenty of uncertainties which can be clarified only
after the production commences. For this project, I guess many things went well despite my
AJ: In this project, there were many things which did not go smoothly although you had spent more
than one year for the preparation. I believe that your sense of mission and passion was the greatest
source of power which led to this layout making a big success.
Amano: Yes, we faced a lot of problems. Some of these include a fact that we couldn’t get enough
epiphytic aquatic plants and asked for donations from all over Japan. Another one is that Wabi-kusa
was not produced as what I had instructed and we had to produce a large number of Wabi-Kusa urgently.
We were so worried that the Wabi-kusa might not have received enough sunlight. I had never lamented
the winter sky of Niigata until that time. Though we had many troubles constantly throughout the past
one year, the only thing in my mind was to bring this project to success and since I have accepted
the invitation to this project, it was my responsibility to create something great. Frankly speaking,
I was not sure if Oceanário de Lisboa was serious about this plan when I first received the offer
from them. Then, I went to Portugal to meet them and at that time, I finally found out that Oceanário
de Lisboa was seriously hoping to implement the project. However, I had a physical concern for a
while and almost turn down the offer. Yet, I have always been trying my very best to create an
outstanding layout to respond to Oceanário de Lisboa’s enthusiasm and to accomplish my own sense of
mission. Based on my belief to deliver an excellent work whatever the job offered, I never wanted to
compromise. As I told you earlier, I put priority on this project at all times and I always ran a
simulation of layout making in my mind. So, everything about layout making, including the design of
the details, was ready in mind and on top of it, I did meticulous preparation for this project. I
strongly believed that I was the only person who could do this job, so I was delighted that I created
a work for which I could say it’s 200% better than I had imagined.
AJ: You named this massive lifetime Nature Aquarium “The Tropical Paradise”. What ambition or
aspiration is contained in this title?
Amano: Frankly speaking, I didn’t really have a particular feeling about this title (laughter). When
I was a child, around 10 years old, I really enjoyed playing in nature and the place I used to play
at that time is the indelible scene of my childhood. But my beloved nature in my hometown has
drastically changed as the time progressed. I have stepped into untouched nature in the world, but
many of them have also changed and lost its beauty a few years later because of human intervention.
Since I know the good old days, I feel so sad to see the nature being ruined by human and at the same
time, I felt the fragility of nature. The paradise I had thoroughly enjoyed disappeared in these last
50 years. As a protest against it, or maybe as a penance to myself, I wanted to recreate beautiful
nature which allured me. This is what I want to express ultimately, not only with this massive 40m
tank but even with small tanks. I believe that how we develop our mind to pursue beautiful nature
determines the creation of environment where human being can live with nature in harmony and
prosperity … In order to create a beautiful layout which can touch peoples’ heart, we need to
elaborately express the magnificence and meticulousness of nature entirely in good balance. That is
how nature should be and we cannot make Nature Aquarium without knowing nature. Especially when
making a layout in a massive aquarium tank, we must do everything perfectly as the layout
demonstrates the full-scale nature. To me, it was easier to recreate the native natural environment
in a massive aquarium tank. In this 40m tank, the layout making was just like building a river and
therefore, I focused on the expressiveness of river. The layout is almost like one symphony telling a
story. It allures those who see it from shallow to deep waters, and from an open space to a lush
jungle. The world where not only the fish but a wide variety of life forms can survive together -
that is and will be the paradise I have been pursuing for. Truly beautiful landscape only lives in a
beautiful ecosystem. It is my great pleasure if this Nature Aquarium moves the people who see it and
conveys something to them.