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Project Japan 6

We’ve both been very busy. Creative work started in earnest Friday and continued through until Saturday afternoon. Heather is working on a set of her ‘Pocket Remains’ pieces using Japanese ink and some of the nice paper we bought Thursday. I’ve got two pieces on the go: one a rather half-hearted collage thing, the other the film that Carl Boland and I will be performing live to in Kyoto on the 24 August. Fortunately this has been going very well and I’ve got (an admittedly very rough) 10 minutes of footage edited together as well as the bare bones of a soundtrack. Nice.

It hasn’t all been work. Saturday afternoon at the invitation of Rinako Otsuka we went down to see a “shrine festival” in the middle of town. At the end of the video you’ll see Rina find us amongst the crowd. A nice moment that—I’ll admit—brought a tear to my eye:

Having spoken to Rina since, my understanding of this is that each of the stores have their own shrine which the employees carry on a particular route through the centre of Sapporo each year, the idea being that they ask their ancestors and the relevant (unspecified) gods to ensure good fortune and prosperity throughout the coming year. The shrines themselves can weigh up to 1.5 tons, apparently: Rina’s shoulder was pretty heavily bruised the next day. What the Hell: we enjoyed ourselves!


After a spot of shopping we went to an opening at a gallery called the Contemporary Art Institute 02 (Cai2) for the artist who (as far as I know) has always been called Kio Griffith. We turned up slightly late and the artist “conversation” was already under way. Inevitably, I guess, we sat listening for an hour or so to two people speaking Japanese with the occasional English word like “communication” thrown in: strangely enjoyable actually (if high on entropy). I think what was interesting for me was watching two people talk together and not having the explicit meaning of the language as the main focus: paying attention instead to body language and the tonal aspects of the conversation.

Anyway, it turns out that Kio is half American and half Japanese and actually lives in LA. We had a really good chat afterwards and what a really nice guy. But get this: he has a Welsh grandfather and the roots on his father’s side of the family are in Swansea. Hence Griffith, silly! I think the phrase is: it’s a small world.


So. Having a great time! Just to wrap up here are a few tourist pics:

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