After a long flight with a stopover in Seoul last night, I very kindly received by a delegation from the people of Hirado Island. We ate together and drank until I was overcome jet lag. In the pouring rain, I searched my way to the apartment where I live in the coming months. It is situated atop a hill and has a beautiful view over the town.
This afternoon at half past one I had to make my debut with the mayor of the city. I was received like a queen, all officials of the City Hall stood to applaud.
On the first floor in the room of the mayor, Mr. Kuroda Naruhiko, was tending the press. While enjoying a cup of green tea and a pastry kind words were exchanged. Words of gratitude, hope and expectation.
After the formal part back to the hard reality, where can I find a job on the island, how do I get tools, and where can I get my materials?
We visited two shipyards. An old shipyard in the town of Hirado on the nomination is going to be demolished in the coming months I will use as a studio. An incredible romantic workplace to the harbor.
In another shipyard which is still in use, just outside the city, we advised of the possibility of welding equipment rental and I fished just before the darkness came a few pieces of rebar from a mountain of waste.
One place where my sculpture could go on to the Dutch factory. The first Dutch trading post in Japan in 1609 on the island of Hirado established by Jacques Specx, junior merchant in the service of the VOC. A factory is a small settlement from which trade was carried on. Often consisted of a factory a few warehouses with an office there. In this factory, the goods were inspected, weighed and packaged to make them suitable for long sea, salty sea air and protected from decay.
Hirado in two years has been working the warehouse of the Dutch trading post to rebuild. This morning I visited with Mr. Masayuki Machida, president of the Cultural Council in Hirado, the trading house. With an incredible precision and craftsmanship are underway to reconstruct the industrial heritage. In September 2011 they hope to be ready with the construction and equipment. It would be great if my picture could get a place in this historic building! And one more reason to September next year to return to Hirado to attend the opening .............
days of culture
Last Sunday when I arrived on the island was windy and wet, like a typhoon had passed. But since the sun is shining, warm but not too hot. Fine weather to update, but there is still no.
No electricity in my shop, no equipment. No shortage of iron on the island. Several shipyards and demolition material is used where available. I'm looking for rebar in various thicknesses. At various places I've been a bit strange to explain what a bus-often can be picked up. It takes some getting used to everyone dependent. I can not wait to get started. Patience is a virtue ............................................. ........
And today was no work on the island. A national holiday, the day of culture.
In "Hirado Bunka Center" all day presentations were given of the cultural life of what is happening in the city. Dance, music, tai chi and an exhibition of visual art. Nice to see how passionate the people cherish their cultural achievements and give the younger generation.
At this meeting I met Yoshio Koteda, he works for the tourist office and you can tell a lot about the history of the island. He suggested that at the end of the afternoon to Tabira, a village nearby, to come to harvest sweet potatoes. A cooperative of volunteers operates as a farmland, and it was time to harvest. A pleasant end of the day, with your hands in the clay to find the sweet potatoes that hundreds of years ago ended up in Japan from South America. We tasted the roasted potatoes and got a bag to take home, with the advice they diced to steam until tender. The inner man must be fed.
I have not met my downstairs neighbor. If I go out the door in the morning her car was gone, and when I get home at night she has not returned. An active old lady. Only when the TV sound to reach me, I know she is there again. Her three cats, I greet it every morning, but keep proper distance. The neighbor's dog barks when I pass, except this morning. The neighbor sat on the porch playing the flute, and the dog was too much impressed by his game.
Today I have seen much of the island, shipyards, steel recycling facilities and workshops. For me, the hotspots of the island.
In my search for iron in the van of Iso Moto, uphill downhill, I enjoyed the views. The waving grass, the red patches were neatly plowed earth and bushes rice dealers who hung out to dry on racks in the Sun And always with a sea view, who calmly bijligt.
I had a good catch today, a truck filled with lines of iron, where a three-dimensional drawing I am gonna build.
The fisherman on my way up met had a good day. We kept still and tried to communicate. But my Japanese is not much further as hello and thank you. But there it was all so delighted that I got off the drum that he carried with him was a warm sweet potato. Prepared in the traditional manner. Steamed.
the way of the flower
In Japan, you're never alone. There is always a device that is hosting a chat. When I filled my bath in the morning napping warns the lady in the thermostat time clock that I should shut off the tap. And at 5 PM will be on the streets announcement that it is nice to quickly go home, because the family waiting. There seem to be even toilet seats to talk to you. But I have not seen. Mine is preheated and is very pleasant.
In the four weeks that I live here I can follow a number of Japanese techniques. Setsuoko Furukawa was already waiting for me this afternoon in her home, built in traditional style, tatami mats on the floor and walls of wood and paper. She taught me how, according to the etiquette must enter a house. Your shoes off at the door, and in such a position that you drop on leave again the same can step. Well it is not easy to do that is elegant in my clumsy boots.
If a home altar, kneel here with you there, you fold your hands into a triangle on the floor, and bend your head.
Setsuko is my ikebana teacher and teaches me how 500 years under the old school of Ikenobo with some flowers in a vase nature can imagine. According to a fixed pattern is a bouquet made.
It's not like the Saturday market, buy a bunch of flowers, cut the bottom of the stalks and a bag of food into the water. The way of the flower is still very long.
Initiated by Ida Kleiterp, the other artist who shared my one month stay on the island, there was a meeting tonight in an old samurai house. They wanted a film that was made about her present. I had not prepared, and it is not my strongest side, praising myself. But development is in the resistance, in the things you just not very good at! So I was very glad I had my laptop with me and that I had downloaded before I left Picasa. Using a projector, the slide show I put together this morning projected on a screen, and I must admit that I'm pretty proud of myself. The cartoon is welcomed, and especially some women very much want to come when I'm working on the old shipyard. I told them that they are welcome.
at the East
Japan consists of four major islands and about 4000 small islands, grouped in a large arc shape. The distance from north to south is about 2800 km. Hirado is the most westerly point on the southern island of Kyushu. If you 4 hours by car driving east you end up in Usuki, a town in the easternmost tip of the island of Kyushu.
Every year in Usuki a bamboo lantern festival. On the trip east, I enjoyed the Japanese landscape. Compact mountains, mostly covered with pines. A single maple in autumn shades in between. In a very bad weather we have luxury cars on the highway, which regularly dove into a tunnel. If the smell of sulfur reached us, we knew we were passing a dormant volcano. The various smoke plumes between the ridges being here on.
Usuki is a beautifully preserved old town with many elements. The setting of this city and the thousands of candles in bamboo sticks, there was a wonderful atmosphere.
It reminded me of the annual festival, "Neighbors by candlelight." But this looked more refined.
Bamboo poles were carved drawings with colored or white paper pasted over by candles were lit. Spatial properties of bamboo poles, streets and staircases filled with lights, a plaza studded with light in different colors.
I let myself be carried along by the crowd, very disciplined, step by step, one after another took to street.
Because it had become very late last night I decided today we need to slow down. My refrigerator had to be restocked, and Sunday in Japan a good day to go shopping. In almost every storefront is a flyer 12xHolland. Which is nice, if I walk into a store almost everyone recognizes me from the photograph and the contact made quickly.
Near the harbor, I walked into a shop with pottery. A nice lady asked me to look around. While I have the old and new pottery wanted a closer look, her husband inside. He recognized me from the photo, greeted me very kindly and invited me along to across the street to walk.
The room we entered was furnished with windows. Proudly he stood still for each priv$@;F(J showcase its collection of ancient art. China, Korea, Indochina, Thailand, Japan and the Netherlands, every country has its own showcase.
I was very impressed with his collection, and he invited me over even a look. He himself stayed down, what was natural for me, someone has on the business.
When I came downstairs, I understood why he had remained discreet, he would not embarrass me. The showcases hundreds of works hung with erotic art. The colorful clothes are beautiful to the bodies draped with a focus on the sexual act. That in every detail, without any shame, on paper and ceramics was shown. I took plenty of time to see everything.
In the supermarket I caught myself that I had my shopping all kinds of mushrooms collected. Nice for the omelet at breakfast.
the beauty of decay
Futaba lease came one morning and one lasapparaar Diesel power delivery. The old shipyard has been completed two years of electricity.
The Agregaat 100 and 200 volts can deliver. That's exactly right. The chinese feast slijptolletje like 100 volts, and the welder must be supplied with 200 volts. I've never worked with a Agregaat. To avoid the diesel tank to get the sample, we placed as far away from my workplace. Operation is simple. A key to him and to turn a dial to him to carry up to 200 volts and 60 hertz.
I can use everything I find on the site. And everything is there. I have decorated my office with it. I made a table to work on, locking my tools in an old refrigerator and even found a bench when I get guests.
Unfortunately, the gentleman from the leasing company forgot the wire and the meter of the gas cylinder was found piece. We agreed that four hours later he would return to make everything working.
I used my time to further explore the site and was fascinated by the beauty of decay.
The salt from the sea late iron corrosion and peeling paint cans and boats. I took detailed photos of the decline.
By ordering a car from Futaba, the wire and the pressure gauge nabezorgd. But when installing the wire proved an essential part of the welder is still lacking. Tomorrow at 10 hours, the gentleman from the rental for the third time to make everything working.
growth and prosperity
There is a Staff winds since Monday, it gets colder here. Also on the site is in heat. I draw as many layers as possible about each other. The pain in my head and throat, I ignore.
On the yard I have everything working now. Under the watchful eye of five men this morning, I tested the grinder and welder. I had my first workbench rust to improve the flow guide. Remco Vrolijk took some photos of the splashing. Remco is the only Dutchman on the island and has been working three years at the town of Hirado as international relations coordinator.
He speaks fluent Japanese and my translator in complex situations. As this afternoon during my second lesson Ikebana, a technique that comes from Buddhism. While assembling the bouquet and happily I ask my teacher Setsuoka likes that I'm so curious. She patiently answered all my questions with the slogan, if you let others come to fruition, you'll grow them too.
Children are so imaginative. This morning at 9:30 I was greeted by 26 students of Tabira Higashi elementary school. In a garden center I had the whole stock of thin wire bought in all colors. Beautiful materials for children. The assignment was to fantasy animals. Half hours were 26 children concentrating hard to build wire figures.
It took little effort to children aged 7 to 9 years to stimulate the imagination. The twinkle in their eyes told me that they enjoyed the assignment. And when I put them in a can all choose a dutch butter candy left on the pretext that such a dutch treat additional stimulate the imagination, they were unstoppable.
After a half hour work was concentrated on the desk of the teacher's collection of animals shown. Many zoo here would have been jealous.
post of the neighbor
My daily morning ritual, a hot bath and a cup of coffee with hot milk was shattered this morning. The gas was on. Out of necessity I called in to the downstairs neighbor. She showed me into her house, ran around in d'r kitchen, and made me green tea and a breakfast.
Eventually she took place at the table opposite me and painted two sheets full of Japanese characters. From top to bottom and from right to left. I took the letter and asked to Remco receive the message of my neighbor to decipher.
The neighbor apologized, but would really like to join me for breakfast and evening meal together. She was a woman alone and needed some comfort. She wanted me to have a look at Japanese cuisine what if I give Italian recipes for her.
On the way home from my shop I walked into the hall and asked Remco a response to the letter to write in the style that I like that they cook for me one night and another night I'll cook for her . In a plastic bag hung me this message just to her doorknob with a bouquet of what I meekreeg Setsuoka and today's newspaper that the journalist of the newspaper Nagasaki came to give me the site, with an article about me on the front page.
Especially in the morning to get them out. If they just get off the bus. In groups of 10, hat or cap, bag on the back, the camera within reach, the tourist.
Hirado tourism has much to offer. A castle, temples and a church, and a historical museum. Matsuura The Historical Museum is housed in a villa of the Matsuura clan. A family of warriors and traders, which for centuries was the boss in Hirado until mid century the feudal system was introduced and Hirado was annexed by the prefecture of Nagasaki.
The museum houses a number of old pieces that are worth a look are worth. I was particularly impressed with the collection of butterflies. I have no idea if these butterflies are now extinct, I would walk up them on my like to meet. They make a timeless impression on me. A rolled print of a signed story I found very funny. But what would it be, signed a fairy tale for children? In any case, a distant ancestor of the manga, the Japanese comics.
My view is growing. And I'm growing with it. I decide myself tonight once again going to treat a night out. Near the port last week I saw a nice restaurant. While I still live fish in the aquarium photographed the cook came running out and asked me to come. Two nice guests in the kitchen, a colorful restaurant and within a large pond with fish. Pretty easy, no problems with the menu. I note just a beautiful fish. I still stop quickly a book by Haruki Murakami short stories in my bag. Only dinner is still a bit bare. If I can find no connection with other guests may accompany Haruki me while eating.
a good day for the dead
Between the Buddhist temple, the Shinto shrine and the Catholic church are the dead of the city to rest. Japan has three major philosophical, Shinto ism, Buddhism and Confucianism. None of these three religions has one God. This can be both Shinto and Buddhist. This is also practical. Shinto ism is mainly concerned with life and Buddhism with death. Shinto ism attempts through the cleansing, both physically and mentally, man in harmony with nature, life. And Buddhism is based on the philosophy that life is suffering, sickness, bodily decay and death as a consequence.
Each family in Japan goes to his own Buddhist temple. They support the monk and his family financially and therefore secured the services of a beautiful funeral. The monk comes home for the ceremony, or what is increasingly the case, the ceremony takes place at the funeral.
Back to the land of the living. Kimiko Mori calling me. Or I want to give a workshop with colored wire at a festival. At a quarter to three she waits on me at the information center at the harbor. Sunday rest, they know they are not in Japan.
Thirds of the population of Japan, about 83 million people are followers of the Shinto ism. This movement has its roots in animism. Central to the Shinto ism is the concept of kami. Everything is pure owns kami. and is eligible for worship. This may be the spirit of an ancestor, the sun, but also a phenomenon such as growth or fertility. The ritual is performed at the altar or in a Shinto shrine. The entrance to a Shinto shrine is formed by a Torij. Closer to the shrine is a braided rope of straw indicating the residence of the kami, flanked by two statues of dogs, foxes or lions that guard the site. Many visitors come to the shrine for a future prediction. They attract a wooden stick from a bus over and the song they wrote to the priest who handed them a written prediction. If the forecast is favorable pe near the shrine hung.
Yesterday I walked with my soul under my arm today with a box of fruit. Sawako, a lady who was present during my slide presentation I would like to meet with two of her friends. We agreed with the hot source in the center, where you can take a foot bath. The water from the hot spring was exceptionally hot today. We made some jokes with men in that age and took a bath after we dried our feet roodverbrandde I took them to my temporary workplace. I let them see my work, started the generator, turned the bottle open in the belief that they wanted to see me at work. But that did not. The three friends wanted me very much like a gift to offer a large box of fruit, whose name I have forgotten but which taste like peach. Just as sweet, but the bite is stronger. I was surprised! I told them that their great timing was.Dat yesterday I felt a little lonely, and suddenly there before me were just three girls with a gift. She smiled and told me about their special covenant. One lady bred roses, some two hundred different species, the other lady was an artist in composing a bouquet and Sawako photographed the flowers. I let them know that I loved them so close trio formed in art as in friendship.
Eventually I found out that they like my slide series wanted to see again. I invited them to come to my apartment because it was my labtop. But busy, busy, busy, like all Japanese. That did not happen today. We made the appointment next week I'm coming with my laptop and then the roses, bouquets and photos can be enjoyed.
fresh as a kiss
The neighbor takes it big. She turned troops. Until late at night I hear the clink below me pots and pans. Food Scents penetrate into my bedroom. I decide just to have breakfast because I did not want to disappoint.
In the communication between people, a lot can go wrong. Words fail or are just unnecessary. Dissonance in tone, a false allusion, too superficial.
In contact with my neighbor plays all of no importance. I will enjoy her food, and a smile works wonders. Besides what gifts I decide my labtop to take it down. Pictures of me and my family, my environment and my work will a fuller picture of who I am.
It is all different. Not only the neighbor welcomed me, but five women, who made me into the kitchen to the task. I like the squid into strips. Under the tap with a knife I Pulk the blue eyes out. One woman explains to me that the squid is as fresh as a kiss, and to demonstrate what she means I get a big kiss on my cheek.
When all preparations have been crouching we sit. We fill with rice leaves, seaweed, raw fish, cucumber and radish, roll it up and dip it in soy sauce. The big advantage is that this dish with your fingers to eat. No hassle with chopsticks. The ladies chat and I enjoy. They very much want my slide-show series. Compliments are like a warm shower. The neighbor, who is 75 and runs a business with 12 employees, believes that my work in Japan could be a commercial success. I smile.
Next week I cook for the ladies.
If someone on the street suddenly a very deep bow will make you know that an important person comes along. A doctor or a notary. The higher one's status, the deeper the bow.
In business life is the first thing you do your business card exchange. With two hands grab your ticket, making a low bow and submit your details. In the same way you get a ticket back. My wallet bulges already quite out of the networks.
To get along with people very friendly and polite. In public, they will never raise their voices.
Order and cleanliness is also very much appreciated. In homes, schools and temples do you pull off your shoes and slippers on. At the two schools this week where I gave workshops in the afternoon the children a hot lunch. But before they are allowed outside to play they must first clean the whole school. On their knees, with a wet cloth, the children crawl on the floor all the corridors and classrooms to scrub. Gardens of raking, neatly trimmed hedges and dead flowers are removed from the plant.
The work discipline is high. They work from morning to late evening, is always on time, and they are trying to sweeten the mood with a joke. Housewives run on their heels to the supermarket shopping for dinner in store. I wonder if Japanese people take the time to relax. And how stress, worries and problems processing. When is their dark side up. Night in their dreams?
Ie sake rice wine brewed for centuries in Japan. In Hirado is also a brewery. Tanigawa is the owner and explains to me how by fermenting rice and water, an alcoholic product. First, the skin of the rice grain removed, and then the core of the rice grain crops, soaked and steamed. Getting steamed rice koji and yeast is added. Koji is a mold that breaks down starch from the rice and sugar sales. Sugar and alcohol yeast do occur. After three weeks, the liquid part of the paste can be pressed and will be bottled.
Until the early twentieth century, sake brewed in wooden barrels, which were subsequently replaced by steel tank with enamel. After filtering and bottling water is added, finally allowing the alcohol content of 20% is reduced to approximately 16%. Rice wine need not be long in the keg. It is a very young wine. After half year, ie in the bottle. Sake can be cold, at room temperature or hot drink. Tanigawa I recommend the wine is delicious as a dessert wine can be drunk cold. I skip on the dessert. The sake, cold from the fridge tastes delicious. Kampai!
The Dutch alphabet has 26 letters. As we string words and sentences to each other.
In Japan, children learn at primary school 800 characters. In high school there once to 1200 characters. Are you going to study philosophy at university then you still have about 20,000 characters in your vocabulary you want to communicate on an abstract level.
The Japanese characters, kanji, are works of art in itself. RuchiroTateishi has made his profession, like his father, in a few brush strokes of a character ink on paper. As an art form. He signs them with a red stamp that he has cut.
Ruchiro does his utmost to put myself in a couple of evenings to learn how a kanji, the rules are for that purpose, to put on paper. But as simple as that yet. The characters are composed of lines and the order in which each character is written down. The writing direction of a line, usually from left to right and from top to bottom according to set rules are followed. The pressure that is exerted on the brush determines the thickness of the line.
It takes a lot of trouble getting the characters right to express because I bothered by all the rules. Thought is in my way. But Ruchiro patiently and fills one sheet after another rice paper with lines of ink.
Ruchiro Last night, my teacher Shodo, my name in Japanese characters converted. We're going to make a stamp. The teacher is strict but fair. Time and again I have a small square of paper the three Japanese characters that form my name rehearse. Until they bind to and express the mood. Mirror this draft in ink on a stone block drawn. With a small stone chisel bit by bit, I follow the lines so that relief occurs. The lines will cut the stamp the white color of the paper hold the rest of the red color of the stamp ink. The result is stunning. I am now the proud owner of a stamp. In the future I sign my work on paper with these authentic signature. And for the presentation of my pictures next Friday, the stamp is very helpful.
The last day to fly to the island and are full of workshops, dinners and preparations for the presentation. Little time for my journal. Tomorrow morning at 11 hours, the presentation in the park at the harbor. Just hope it stays dry. Trading house for Holland, I made a picture with the title "the warehouse". It gives the feel of the warehouse when it was still in operation, the workers, the goods, the building. But in abstract form. For the mayor, I made a wire sculpture in gratitude for the hospitality and in memory of my workshops in several schools that I gave, entitled "animal fantasy". 10 photos titled "the beauty of decay", or as they say here in Japan, Sabi, complement my presentation. Detailed pictures of corroding iron, flaking paint cans and pitted salt. The atmosphere of my temporary job at the shipyard.
For 11 hours this morning's presentation was opened by the children of the kindergarten "ai no sono" (the garden of love). She clearly enjoyed the beat in quadruple time on the Japanese drum. After the revelation gave the mayor, subject to no art connoisseur, a sharp analysis of my work, and spoke words. He recognized the statue "the store" quite clear the atmosphere of working people versjouwden goods, and hoped it would get a nice spot in the Dutch trading house. In the picture with the title "animal fantasy" which he saw a dragon in Japan symbolizes luck and protection. And at the detailed pictures of the decay, he spoke of surprised that so much beauty Hirado possession. Where residents of Hirado usually ignore is noted and recorded by an artist from the Netherlands.
Bowls full of food and bottles of liquor to leave some easier to digest. Last night at the Cultural Centre was a farewell party. In a recent speech, I thanked the volunteers for all the help and attention. They gave me the feeling at home on this island. Gifts were exchanged. The pictures of the exhibition, with the back of my own stamp, were divided, and I also got a pile of gifts.
I left for one hour from the pier and left Hirado, the island one month where I have lived and worked. It is an incredible experience. I have a bit of Japan from the inside to understand. Japan-Netherlands The lines were laid, and I hope that in future the band will be stronger. All impressions let me now just settle. It will fix a lot of food for inspiration. But first I am a tour through Japan. After this peaceful island seems to me a nice contrast to modern big cities like Tokyo and Kyoto to visit. To do a bit more complete picture.
My diary ends here. I hope I'm able to bring you a bit of traveling.