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Project Japan 16

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The last couple of days in Sapporo were actually pretty hectic. Then – BANG – we’ve packed up and left and I’m writing this from a hotel room in Osaka. A bit like someone suddenly changing channels on the TV when you’re half way through a good film… So just a very quick review for completeness: I already feel like I’m in another world.

Sunday morning I spent video editing and then gave a presentation 1pm – 2pm on my films. The reaction to them has been incredibly positive and I had been asked lots of questions about my working methods. It was also an opportunity for us to give something back to the Tenjinyama residents and staff, and so proved to be a satisfying social event. Heather went out and bought cakes and soft drinks so a jolly time was had by one and all: nice to see some kids there too.

Sunday afternoon we had been invited to dinner by textile artist Yumiko Inagaki. She showed us her work space and some of her beautiful and lovingly produced pieces: she dyes her own thread, designs the patterns, and weaves using all sorts of materials including metal. These pictures simply do not do her work justice: there is a profound simplicity and honesty expressed in every nuance of colour, texture, and form:

Monday Yumiko travelled to Tenjinyama to see our exhibition before it was taken down. She arrived at 9:30am and by 10:30 sadly was gone, at which point our other friend Rinako Otsuka arrived with her parents. They had the full tour and were great company.

Rinako, Heather, and I then headed into town for lunch and an appointment with Yuki Yamamoto at Naebono Art Studio. This is an art collective based in an old canning factory near the railroad tracks in central Sapporo. There are six artists based in the complex and they have their own gallery, this currently hosting an exhibition of Mexican artists entitled Mexicaido: the link to Japan and Sapporo being none other than our new friend and LA resident Kio Griffith:

Yuki generously gave over most of his afternoon to us and proved a highly genial and amusing host as well as a hugely talented artist (with pretty decent English). He has an exhibition in Hamburg coming up and was hard at work on a series of abstract works that he imbues with an almost 3-dimensional surface through the clever use of translucent acrylics and an industrial sander:

This is an incredibly abbreviated account of our last two days in Sapporo, but it’ll have to do. By the time we’d finished our tour at Naebono with Yuki, the weather had broken and it was absolutely hammering down. It had been hot and humid the whole time we’d been in Sapporo and the sudden change seemed to foreshadow our equally sudden departure…

Last night—it already seems a lifetime ago—we packed and said our farewells. A last few goodbyes early this morning and we were on the road by 7:30am.


What a great time we’ve had! The people we’ve met in Sapporo have without a single exception been delightful, and we are especially grateful to Yumiko and Rinako for their generosity, kindness, and thoughfulness. The staff and residents at Tenjinyama Art Studio have been just great: a massive “thank you” to one and all.

I suspect I’ll still be processing all this for many months to come.

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