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Wywiad z Takashi Amano

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.
Więcej o samym akwarium przeczytasz tutaj oraz na jego oficjalnej stronie internetowej:


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.

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