February 13, 2018

Kites and flights and snow!

Last week I had the opportunity to join a lovely group of ladies for some Japanese kite making. When we arrived at this tiny kite shop located in the old main street near Nagoya castle, we were led through a curtain to the back and up the stairs to a large room. Boxes and boxes of kites lined the walls and some tables with supplies were set up in the center of the room.

Sensei kindly showed us hot to spread out the dollop of glue on the wooden board and how to assemble the kite and apply the glue. We had to pay close attention to the order of placement of the bamboo supports and of course it all needed to be done きちんと(neatly).

Next came the tough part, attaching the wires, getting down the knots was particularly difficult but we all managed in the end. When they were finished they still needed to dry over night so unfortunately we didn't get to fly them yet.

In Japan this past weekend was a holiday weekend, which meant hubby had some time off! So we packed up our skis and hoped on a plane to Sapporo, Hokkaido for the annual snow festival.

The snow sculptures on Odori were awe inspiring, not just because of their sheer size but also because the level of detail was out of this world! We first viewed al of them by daylight but made sure to come back in the evening to see them all lit up, they even had some with 3D mapping which was wonderful!

On Saturday we went to Niseko to do some skiing, unfortunately there was a lot of snow and fog so the visibility was quite minimal, the snow however, was amazing and the onsen afterwards felt heavenly. On our way back we stopped in Otaru where they had a beautiful snow lantern festival where hundreds of candles were floating on the canal and lining the street. It was absolutely stunning and an amazing seafood dinner in the tiniest of restaurants was definitely the perfect way to end the day!

On Sunday we explored Sapporo visiting the two additional sites of the snow festival as wel as some temples, an awesome fish market and of course the Sapporo beer museum.

In the evening we visited the Chocolate factory which actually looked like how you would want a chocolate factory to look and the beautiful light displays definitely added to there magic!

We ended the evening with an awesomely Japanese 3d projection show on a snowy field. Awesomeness!

January 28, 2018

A wonderful art filled week

Aaah, what a wonderful art filled week that was! Since my Japanese class was rescheduled to Thursday last week, I had a chance to join some friends on a trip to a local museum and tea house on Tuesday. We visited the Furukawa Art Museum where they had a beautiful exhibition about the jour seasons of Japan. I particularly enjoyed the vibrant colors and beautiful lines and was fascinated by the painting techniques used. It was very interesting to see the different traditional ways of presenting the artworks, instead of a frame the paintings are mounted using a combination of fabrics to create hanging scrolls or room divider screens.

At about three minutes walk from the museum there is a traditional Japanese tea house, which is part of the museum. The tea house is huge for Japanese standards and includes several exhibition rooms as well as a beautiful hidden garden. We enjoyed walking around the garden and exhibition rooms before settling down for the traditional matcha and sweets which was served in beautiful matcha bowls which were created by different pottery artists.

Pictured were not allowed inside the museum and tea house but I will share some pics from the beautiful garden below.

On Friday we had our first Yamato-e class of the year! As my painting was almost finished I was very eager to get back to it. I managed to finish it most of the way, except for some very special gold dust techniques which sensei will teach me about in the next class. I did already pick my next painting, which will include more of the gold dust, just so I can get a bit of extra practice with this new technique!

At the end of the week we were surprised by a beautiful blanket of snow here in Nagoya, which made for some nice views from my studio window! It also made snuggling up in my warm, cozy little studio extra enticing, I managed to finish one of the pieces I was working on and get a second one most of the way there. I expect this week I will be able to finish that second one and hopefully get a good start on the third!