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Japan 206A

We’ve been here now for about two and a half weeks. We leave a week tomorrow. Heather has been blogging furiously so I guess we all know what she’s been up to, right? Printmaking at Atelier Outotsu mostly: even though we’re no longer resident there Heather will still be working in the studios until the last minute (I suspect). She’s also had a couple of days (including today) working with her Arts in Health contact Yutaka Moriguchi (a well-known artist in Japan). No days off for Heather!

Things have been a little more, uh, open-ended for me, but I’ve still managed to get a lot done. Here’s what I’ve been up to, part one:

Tuesday 23 July
Arrive Kansai Airport, Osaka. Go directly to Atelier Outotsu. Well, not directly: via Kobe actually!

Wednesday 24
Taken by Atelier Outotsu director Ritsuwo Kanno to their exhibition at Nishinomiya City Hometown Museum. See here. We get the full tour of the Atelier in the afternoon and in the evening we stroll up to Imadzu to eat and do some shopping.

Thursday 25
We went together up to Kyoto to Art Spot Korin to meet Masahiro Kawanaka and make last-minute arrangements for the show. I bought a ceramic by Yusaku Suzuki from the (then) current show.

Friday 26
We met our friend Matthew Fasone—a US artist currently resident in Japan—and went down to Suminoekoen to see his studio. Matthew and I have been planning a collaborative work since we met last year, and this is all part of the planning.

Back to Umeda for more detailed planning over drinks and sushi, and then back to Outotsu for a show-and-tell session with Kanno-san, Kaoru Higashi (the other director of Atelier Outotsu), and a handful of the atelier’s members. Good fun!

Saturday 27
A typhoon is passing over Kyushu and the south-western peninsula of Honshu and so Saturday morning it is hammering down with rain. I go for a run down to what on Google Maps looks like a resort area on the coast—Koshien Hama Seaside Park—but it’s all quite desolate, surrounded by shipyards, working docks, and with an expressway more-or-less running over the beach. (Apparently the only “proper” beach around here is a 25-minute train ride away, past Kobe to Suma.)

The rain clears in the afternoon and we’re straight back up to to 35ºC. I go exploring/taking photos whilst Heather gets down to some serious print work.

Sunday 28
I go into town and take the Metro down to Namba. From there I walk to Denden Town. Lots of anime, manga, and games shops/parlours/galleries. Funky.

Atelier Outotsu have a barbecue up on the roof that evening to celebrate the end of their big show at Nishinomiya City Hometown Museum and of course we’re invited. What a lovely bunch: all very talented, all very friendly. Fortunately enough party-goers with good English to compensate for our virtually non-existent Japanese.

Monday 29
To Kyoto. Meet Masa and Matthew at Art Spot Korin. Put show up.

Tuesday 30
Up to Kyoto again. Heather has a few tweaks to do to the show and later in the afternoon we’ve arranged to meet the owners of the gallery, Kanama Muratsu and his wife Yoriko. See here.

Wednesday 31
Baking hot as usual. Really humid. Time to climb a mountain. OK, only a very small mountain but I did reach the top of Kabutoyama Forest Park.

Hugely enjoyable. I tried filming some ants but that didn’t really work out too well—all video deleted since—but on the walk back I managed a quick freehand shot of a bird feeding its chicks (in a nest on someone’s front porch basically). TBC.

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