Going to Tohoku, Sendai

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

I went to Sendai, the center of Tohoku and where I used to live. I was very happy to catch up with some of my friends there.

One of my friends lost her house in the tsunami. But she was lucky. All of her family members are all right. Two other friends I met were affected in some way too but they have houses to live in and their families are all right, too.

Superficially, Sendai looks the same or even more impressive than before but people’s mind set seems to have changed. They became more family-, friend- or community-oriented. They had been too busy to ask each other how they are doing but now they are more supportive of each other.

Tokyo is too crowded and everything is centered on it. Japan should change. I think would better if more people spread outside Tokyo and each main city in each region maintained its own character, culture and center of gravity. It would be more interesting. Thanks to internet, working in the countryside isn’t as difficult as it used to be I guess.

I think it’s crazy how so many people working in Tokyo have had difficulties in going home because of earthquakes or typhoons. People should live nearer to their schools or workplaces as it’s safer and more productive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was also happy to drink rice wine from Yamagata called “ Jyuyondai, which  means  “14th generation. They don’t produce much so it is only available in special places. I love its sharp and crystal clear taste. I also missed this seafood called “ hoya “. Many people in other areas don’t know and haven’t tasted it. It looks kind of scary but it tastes really good. It goes very well with rice wine. I went to a Japanese a type of pub known as an “ Izakaya “ with my friends and was surprised to see the great variety of foods and volume of the portions served.

 

Let’s go to Tohoku in autumn.

 

Going to Kamakura and Hayama

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

I went to Kamakura for this exhibition. One of my friends from high school days, Yukiko Kasahara, is a sculptor. This exhibition was for her partner, Sanpei Takata, who is a painter as well as a ceramicist. He started with paintings but his ceramics are beautiful, too.

I was impressed with some tea ceremony utensils and flower vases.

After viewing his work, we visited their house in Hayama. They have their studios and living place there. I discovered that they have a tea room in their rather western style house and understood why he makes things for tea ceremonies.

His mother is a tea ceremony teacher and he used to practice with her when he was small. I really like their place with enough space for guests to relax. They bought this building second hand and renovated it by themselves. Only three minute walk away is the beach.

Mr. Takata gives ceramicmaking lesson in their studio and anyone can learn or experience how to make their own ceramics.

We also had a happy coincidence at the gallery in Kamakura. We ran into two ladies who went to the same high school as us. They were also invited for the party.

We all had a great time, listening to Yumiko who has just come back from the 200th anniversary festival for Liszt in Spain. She played the piano at the festival and enjoyed traveling afterwards. Another interesting coincidence is that one of the ladies we ran into works for the Hungarian embassy (Liszt was from Hungary). Yumiko’s husband, Mr. Egami is also a sculptor who has worked with Yukiko. Mr. Egami worked for Taro Okamoto. I am a great fan of Taro Okamoto. I’d like to hear more about Taro Okamoto next time.

Four of us attended the same high school in Sendai so our topic naturally went to the Tohoku disaster. One of us who is a dentist talked about their volunteer work in the affected area. They had a very sad and tough job to do: identify people by their teeth. But it helped many of their bereaved relatives very much. My artistic friends and I felt a kind of helpless in this case. Yukiko told me that she is always thinking how she can contribute to the affected people but I think she does or has already contributed to society by creating something beautiful.