Saturday, 30 January 2010

It's nice that.

On Saturday, Iain and I took a jaunt to Naoshima, the arty island I visited back in September. I love Naoshima so much; it's dotted with little cafes run by twittering old ladies, arty spaces and good routes for a bicycle ride. Seeing inspiring things makes my head feel funny, I like it. Iain has a lovely new camera, so I've nabbed all of his pictures. For once, I can show you photographs that don't look like I am living in the 70s ee!

It was a sunny day so we rented some bicycles. Look at my purple one,isn't she lovely? Eee :-)

Bath house

We visited the Chichu Art Museum, which is an underground art gallery. The gallery assistants were dressed in such a way that they looked kind of robotic and sterile. It was kind of clinical, but in a curiously amusing way. I saw the most incredible installation by an artist called James Turrell. Ahh, it was truly amazing. James Turrell appropriates light and illusory methods in his work. This particular installation was really nice; Turrell had cut into the wall and flooded the space with a hazy, blue light in such a clever way that at first, I mistook the light for a blue wall. It turned out that you can actually enter the space/'wall'. When I turned around and saw Iain climb out of the hazy blue space and back down the steps, it looked like he was stepping into a picture. Ahh, it was so bizarre. Hmm, that was an awful (and needless?) ramble, but I thought it was so intriguing and intelligent. Ohh I want to know more about James Turrell.

Take a looky:

The other thing that I had been looking forward to seeing were the Art House Projects; six old village houses that have been converted into creative spaces. I saw lots of really nice work here too; photograph floors, bamboo flowers, neon numbers in water, having my senses unsettled in the dark room.

One of the houses had a giant statue of Liberty inside - gaudily beautiful eh?

I love the little tree.

Me, perusing woollen boy

Mm, I love this picture. I loved the cat too. :-)

We took a nice bicycle ride back to the ferry in the evening sunshine and had just enough time for more pictures and a visit to the Kusuma pumpkin. :-)

Hello :-)

On the way home...

Goodbye Sun.

Hello Moon.

Later on, we went to a club here in my Marugame. Lots of people were there and there was dancing!

English ones!

At Axis, I bumped into a guy called Ichiro who I had met a few months back. He is a hairdresser and spent six years living in Bethnal Green. We talked about Brick Lane and The Ten Bells. It made me think of home and all the things I love about London.

Yes,it was a perfect weekend.

Mmm, I don't quite know why the text and pictures are positioned in an odd way...

Other thoughts:
<3 running shoes have finally been purchased, and despite making me recoil every time I put them on, I have gone for a run three times this week. I especially like listening to The Magnetic Fields when I run.
<3 The things that Mitsuru Katsumoto makes are so nice.
<3 I know 100 Kanji now. I have decided to be be ambitious and take the level three (rather than the level below, as I had been intending) Japanese Language Proficiency Test in December.
<3 I want to go to South Korea and Vietnam so much.
<3I sat on the air con remote control and now my room is cold, owh.

bye bye


Tuesday, 26 January 2010

All that is lovely

I want to share the work of London based photographer Tim Walker with you. I love the pictures he makes oh so very much. He does a lot of of fashion photography but I like his other work more. Tim Walker makes my eyes light up.

This is my favourite one. I never tire of looking at it. I think there is an unusual kind of clarity in its oddness, as with all of the work he makes. Ohh, if only dresses could grow on trees...

This evening, I received the most amazing lesson plan I have ever seen. It read as follows: Theme: Sounds
Isabel: Make some sounds.
JTE: help students understand the sounds Isabel makes.

I don't quite know what to do next. So I suppose I will go to the lesson tomorrow and erm, make some sounds...


Sunday, 24 January 2010

Can the weekends please stop going so fast?

Given my penchant for letters, I was so happy to read that something like this exists. Mysterious Letters is a collaboration between two artists, Lenka Clayton and Michael Crowe. Last year, they sent a personal, handwritten letter to each of the four hundred and sixty seven households in the small Irish seaside town of Cushendall. No two letters were the same, the only commonality they shared was that they were positive in spirit. The artists hoped that such letters would encourage neighbourly discussion, which in turn would lead to community curiosity. This is the first chapter in an ongoing project; the artists eventual aim is to write a personal handwritten letter to every household in the world.

Letters are my pleasure treasure. I like so many things about them; I like the friendliness of letters. I think that there is something quite beautiful about seeing one's handwriting for the first time. It feels quite intimate these days to be able to recognize somebody's handwriting. Yes, I like this project so much. <3 You can have a peek at the rest of the letters here
It even made the national news. Lookie
Some peoples' reactions did sadden me a bit though. Surely there is nothing more lovely than a letter in the post? I think I would feel more intrigued than frightened.


Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Home, I am home.

I am back in Marugame after having had the best Christmas with my family. I have such lovely memories of our time together; meeting in Hiroshima station,Christmas Day on Miyajima, green tea icecream,the useless taxi drivers of Tokyo, green lycra wearing 'sexy beasts' in Yoyogi Park, taking hours to find a way out of Tokyo subway stations,coffee,more coffee,getting lost, laughing until my stomach hurt,long train journies,teasing Dad,lots of good food,being together. I love you so much Mum, Dad and Oliver! You mean everything to me! I will write about our travels and put up some pictures very soon but for now, look at our family portrait aaahhhh!

I was a little apprehensive about returning to Marugame after travelling so much during the Christmas holiday. I find such happiness through travelling and I can't wait to do more with the people I care about here in Kagawa. After spending a couple of days on my own in Tokyo after my family went home, I felt a strange kind of feeling that really confirmed that I am beginning to feel at home here; I wanted to go back to Marugame. To see my little blue bicycle,my tiny apartment, and my friends here in my town. I cut my Tokyo jaunt a little short and took the nicest journey home on the Shinkansen. I listened to an album called World of Echo by Arthur Russell (which is full of amazing sounds) and stared out of the window for the whole time as the train passed by rugged coastlines, little towns and large mountains covered with snow, and beautiful forests.I want to do it again sometime. With somebody else. I wanted to talk to someone about what I was seeing but alas, there were no English speakers anywhere in sight and the man sitting beside me seemed to be more taken by the games on his phone rather than what was outside...incidentally, he did not lift his eyes from the phone for the entire five hour train journey. What a shame.

I am so happy to be back. My heart belongs to the city but I am probably never going to have the opportunity to live in such a community as this again.I have turned over a new leaf and I am going to learn to love my little town and its accompanying community. When I first came here, I made the mistake of comparing my life here to the life I lived back in London. I realise that I can find happiness (albeit different kinds) in both. The first thing I did on my return was go on a long bike ride and take a walk to the top of the castle. Later I met some of my friends for ramen and we talked about dinner parties,cycle rides to sweet shops and having all night parties across the bridge in Okayama. I feel so content to be here now and excited about all the happy memories I will make this year.

I saw lots of art in Tokyo when I did the Harajuku art walk. This man's life and work intrigues me; there was an exhibition of his work at the Tokyo Museum of Modern Art. Kiyoshi Yamashita 山下清 was famous for being both an artist and a wanderer. He used the "chigiri-e" method of sticking torn pieces of coloured paper together to depict scenery he saw on his travels, both in Japan and Europe . I like his work; it is warm and clear. I want to know more about Kiyoshi Yamashita and Japanese art and design.


Nagaoka no hanabi

Fishing at Kanamachi

Other things; I have become quite taken with the idea of eggs for breakfast. Eggs for breakfast with jasmine tea.
I like the click, click, clicking of knitting with bamboo needles.
I have been reunited with my shoes of joy(or rather shoe, the left got separated from the right somewhere between London and Asia four very long months ago). I am looking forward to wearing them in the summer time - they are silly and lovely.

Other stuffs:
<3I have been listening to lots of music by a Japanese folky group from the 1970s called Happy End, Glaciers, and having a Magnetic Fields epiphany.
<3 I can't stop reading the Lonely Planet Japan...

Happy New Year :-)