Sunday, May 20, 2007

Old Japan slides - Part VI

Canadian artist friend Shera

Shera Street is an artist-photographer-energy healer who lives on Galiano Island in B.C., Canada. We met when i was living in a guest house for gaijin and teaching in the Kyoto-Osaka area. Shera had come to spend 6 months in Asia. It was through Shera that I learned to make handbound Japanese style journals with sewn and glued bindings. And the beautifully vibrant watercolor scenes Shera painted from her daily Kyoto outings planted a seed in me for future watercolor portrayals of what I see around me. Shera also got me started with watercolors by cutting off tiny tiny corners of her Winsor & Newton halfpans and writing me a list of the 5 to 7 colors that can be mixed to make any colors. For years I dabbled, literally, just making a line or a splotch on a piece of paper, that's all. Eventually, all my looking at things and line- and splotch-making merged. Thank you, Shera.


Kutsuyasan (shoe stores) were some of my favorite mise (stores) in Japan, along with miso, mochi, and pickle stores, paper stores, noodle makers, tea sellers, and tofu makers. In the kutsuyasan, i loved seeing the variety of sandals and especially the wooden geta and bamboo or straw-soled zori. The click-clack sound of geta is music to my ears.

waiting for cue

At Kamigamo Jinja in Kyoto. The percussion player is waiting for his cue to strike the taiko (drum) during a Shinto ritual.

open-mouthed wonder - お花見

Elders in Japan enjoying cherry blossoms. I liked seeing their open-mouth, open-eyed delight.

sweet maker

In Japan, I liked to watch the conveyor belt machines that spewed out blobs of sweet red bean paste (anko), stamped manju (pancake like biscuits) with kanji, and that kneaded or cut noodles, etc. Generally, i like non mechanized food production, but these machines fascinated me. The sweet maker's outfit was rather like a nurse's uniform in the USA back in the days when nurses wore such white uniforms.


This mise (shop) near where I lived in Kita-Ku, Kyoto, was more of a bento box seller than a sushiyasan. I picked up inarizushi and other delicacies here for moonviewing at the local temples and gardens on full moon nights.

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