did you know that
human beings are made
of stardust?

– Dr. Haruo Saji, Astrophysicist and NASA researcher


In order of appearance:
The Lady = Kana Shimizu
Land of Volcano = Japan
Power Men = Government
House of Negative Energy = Nuclear plant
Spirit of Seismic Sea Wave = Tsunami
Ancient Capital = Kyoto
The Peaceful People = Hopi Tribe
The New People = European settlers
The Largest Land = Russia
Kingdom of Flatland Border = Denmark
Wise Man of the Stars = Astrophysicist Dr. Haruo Saji


An old house that she fell in love with was caringly repurposed to be a vessel for her unique vision of life. The front of the house holds magical objects and flowing robes. At the back of the house is a café that nourishes everyone who tastes its heavenly treats, cultivated from earth with care  and prepared with love and kind intention.

Here, time seems to have stopped. Nostalgia permeates this unusual space and creates a longing for something and somewhere that is difficult to grasp. Where are we? Quiet and gentle poetry pervade every corner. The Lady’s special energy makes those who enter feel cocooned and safe.

But there was a path that came before all this. Every story has meaning. Every story embodies the many moments that have transpired and epiphanies that have unfolded in some distant land. Every story is about pieces coming together and connecting to one another. There was a path that came before all this.


The Lady in the northern part of the Land of Volcano was always rebelling against the Power Men to bring down the House of Negative Energy. It poisons Mother Earth and claimed countless lives before. She dreamt of a different future where her children and those she loves would be safe.

One day, The Lady’s heart started to feel a strange pain, as if a knife were piercing it. She sensed that something big would happen soon. Her heart was very heavy.

Oddly, on the wedding day of her beloved friend, a vision came to her. She closed her eyes to offer a prayer. Suddenly, the world became dark. A big rock, resembling an ominous dark mountain, came rolling down to her. A voice thundered, “Stay awake!”

Then one day, the Spirit of Seismic Sea Wave arrived with fury and took everything away. Nature had a message: Rid the land of Negative Energy as it will poison your land one day.

Land of Volcano = Japan
Power Men = Government
House of Negative Energy = Nuclear plant
Spirit of Seismic Sea Wave = Tsunami


The Lady and her family fled the North and went to the West to escape the disaster. They created their home in the Ancient Capital. Despite disappointments, anger, and sadness, her heart began to slowly heal through the beauty that surrounded her. It reminded her that she is of the Land of Volcano and realized how precious that is. She gave thanks to her ancestors who made this land so sublime.

She also began to regain her strength because there arrived a beautiful prayer of healing from the other side of Earth from The Peaceful People. They sent this prayer to the suffering people of the Land of Volcano, the earth, and all life. They knew. Because they, too, had suffered the poisoning of their land. They knew, because they had a prophesy from their ancestors: If humankind digs into the land that holds Mother Earth’s heart, disaster will befall us.

A long time ago, The New People took away the land of The Peaceful People, ignoring the ancient prophesy’s plea to leave the soil in peace. They dug up the sacred land in search for something as precious as gold. Alas, what they found was precious Negative Energy which transformed one day into a gourd of ashes that poured onto the people of the Land of Volcano.

The chief of The Peaceful People gifted these words:
“...there is a path to follow that allows for us to move through this time of change. Walk gently upon our earth with respect for her and all life. A return to connecting our heart with the heart of the path to the future…” *

Moved and empowered by this message, The Lady journeyed to their land to honor them and to say sorry. The lady felt connected to The Peaceful People because of their deep connection to the earth and a similar story they had mutually lived. When the lady and a crowd she gathered arrived to the village, they brought rain. The Peaceful People were happy and said: “The women from the Land of Volcano brought rain with them. This is a big sign.”

The Peaceful People took care of them and revealed very secret places in their land. Great prophesy for human kind were shared, many stories were told, and many beautiful days were passed altogether.

The lady realized that it is not just Negative Energy which brings suffering. It is also our ego and everything that is shaped by it. Everything is connected. When the lady returned to the Land of Volcano, her feelings slowly started to change. She realized that rebelling against the Power Men was not the answer nor the only way.

The Ancient Capital = Kyoto
Land of Volcano = Japan
The Peaceful People = Hopi Tribe
The New People = European settlers
Negative Energy = Nuclear energy
Power Men = Government
(*) Excerpt from an original letter written by
Kikmongwi (Village Chief), Lee Wayne Lomayestewa of the Village of Sungopavi, Hopi Nation. March 17, 2011.


One path leads to another. And, other journeys unfolded.

A search for humans and flowers in The Largest Land turned her attention there. It was in great turmoil then. Yet, a strong inner voice told her to go and see. Something about The Largest Land magnetized her. Despite hardship and suffering, its people remained strong and resilient. Perhaps she felt connected to this resiliency, with all that happened with her people.

One day, while researching The Largest Land, she encountered beautiful images in motion that triggered an epiphany. In its Capital, an old man stepped onto a bus in the morning. People had grey, tired faces. He suddenly started to recite a poem by a beloved son and Poet of The Largest Land. That poem, such a beautiful poem, slowly breathed life and energy into the downtrodden people on the bus. Everybody knew this poem.

Even the women with sad long countenances slowly raised their faces and a sparkle glistened in their eyes. The women started to recite the poems together. By the end, everyone on the bus joined in to recite the poem together. Their faces became bright.

“This beautiful thing that was happening – that is the essence of beauty in living energy. Just as seeing a flower bloom trembles the heart, all beauty is so simple. That’s the truth. And that’s how living energy is present in everything and is everywhere.”

With this epiphany illuminating her heart, the lady journeyed to The Largest Land to find that beauty, to see beyond its grim portrayals, to see its everyday people and how they transcend their hardships. To her, people of this land were like flowers. A flower can be crushed by a human foot. But it blooms again the year after. She realized that human beings are like flowers. Hence, words flowed out from her pen onto paper.

The Largest Land = Russia
Capital = Moscow
Poet = Pushkin

Hearing about a kingdom in northern Earth who banned the House of Negative Energy perked The Lady’s curiosity. She wondered what happens there; she wondered what could be learned from a society where people can choose. She wished to share this wisdom with her people. Thus, she journeyed to the Kingdom of Flatland Border to see and to put words to paper.

On one of her journeys there, she encountered a magical garden created by Flower Woman. Having a vision that flowers are stars on Earth, the woman planted many roots and herbs onto a barren land. And called it Stardust Garden. The lady, entranced by its beauty, stepped into the garden and touched a big oak tree. Suddenly, tears poured out of her because everything was so beautiful.

At that moment, she just remembered what the Wise Man of the Stars once told her. “Did you know that human beings are made of stardust?” At that moment, she realized what he meant!

The Flower Woman saw flowers as stardust. The Lady saw humans as flowers. Alas, the pieces connected, and she cried, “How beautiful this is! If I have a place, maybe I will call it ‘Stardust’! A place where I could express myself and share with others the beauty that I see.”

Kingdom of Flatland Border = Denmark
Wise Man of the Stars = Astrophysicist Dr. Haruo Saji


After these transformative journeys, she realized that there is another way. Instead of rebelling against something, show people what is beautiful. When people see what is beautiful, they will protect it. She wanted to make a change that way.

But there is a bigger philosophy behind all that she collected for people to see, touch and taste. “Everything – even a little rock, a spoon, a tiny cake – has a frequency that is alive. If you find and see beauty in tiny little things, they start to sparkle.” Every single thing has its own story because they are made by hands of people with gentle and good hearts. That makes them have frequency, shine and sparkle, and connect to each other.

She thought, we can change how we see the world. It’s a tiny switch we can make, to find energy in things. If we find that, our world completely changes so it sparkles. We can make our own Eden in our imagination. She wanted Stardust to be a place where people can find frequencies as delicate as a little butterfly that makes air through the batting of its wings .

The Lady believes that imagination is one of the great things we have. “I don’t want to say anything. I don't want to say that we are this, that we believe in this or that. I just want people to feel things. If people come into this place and feel something, and see that things have life, I will be happy. Kami is everywhere: in a stone, a piece of wood, people’s hearts, in a flower, in the moon and stars. Each is important, and they all connect to one another. If we have imagination, we can see kami everywhere. Life becomes colorful!” For her, Stardust is the alchemy of imagination and energy.

Some people come by and ask, “We’re looking for Stardust. Are you Stardust?” And The Lady naughtily replies, “Yes, we are Stardust. But you are stardust, too!” Laughter fills the space and, suddenly, something sparkles.

Kana Shimizu
is the creator of Kyoto-based Stardust, a gallery-boutique and café in a beautiful machiya dating over 80 years old, where there used to be weaving machines and weavers at work. While staying at a ecovillage during her travel to Denmark, she encountered a garden named Stardust. Moved and inspired by the garden, she made a connection between her previous travel to Russia in search of the keywords “humans and flowers.” The pieces of the puzzle came together. Hence, in 2015, she christened her new space in the namesake of the garden. Kana envisioned a place “where people who visit and those who work there would be happy, and the fragments of the stars inside of them would shine just by being there.”

Mona Kim is the Founder and Curator of Moowon magazine. As the Creative Director of award-winning multidisciplinary design studio, Mona Kim Projects, she has been conceiving public space experiences and large-scale experiential projects for global brands and cultural institutions. Her museum and exhibition design for the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, World Expo, Museum of Tomorrow (Museu do Amanhã), and UNESCO-sponsored projects, gave her the opportunity to document and be exposed to some of the most distinctive examples of social realities and cultural expressions. She had co-curated world issues such as endangered languages, cultural diversity, sustainability, climate change and anthropocene. The Moowon project is an extension of this background. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, WWD(Women's Wear Daily), The Creative Review, and in publications by Gestalten and The Art Institute of Chicago.