↑ "Genki (Lively) for Japan"
Trips to Japan are very invigorating for my artist's mind. Since my Japanese heritage, culture, and history are the muse for my work, it's important for me to go back from time-to-time so I don't get isolated and forgetful... like someone who is observing these things from far off. I must record my inspirations (often just moods or feelings) because they are even more fleeting than cherry blossoms, and they seem to dissipate into thin air as soon as I leave Japan!
By the bye, I bought this fantastic kimono photography book at Book Off at the unbeatable price of ¥105 (a little more than $1) and it happens to perfectly capture many of the moods I'm trying to convey below. So I'll use photos from the book to illustrate my memories. Let it be known that the photos from this magazine are not my own. (The others are.)
The things I noticed this time in Japan were small things. Mundane things. Things that no-one really thinks about, but I find resonate deeply in my mind somehow. Things like the sound of my feet on the tatami. A hollow sort of thumping sound that makes me think of summer, sweating like crazy, taking a nap on the tatami, hearing the sound of furin (wind chime), drinking an icy cold lamune (lime soda.) Getting ready to go to the fireworks festival. Or just lying there, being lazy and enjoying every cool breeze that comes along.
The way that every single little odd-shaped crevice between/in front of buildings is filled with cheap plastic planters of amazing colorful flowers. They are all manicured so neatly. No rubbish on the ground. Just tidy colors enjoying the sunlight or shade.
Bamboo groves. They are deliciously quiet and dark only a few feet in. I guess the bamboo leaves on the forest floor absorb sound. The rustle of the leaves shaking in the wind. Swaying. Light green, dark green. The marked stalks. Thick and shiny.
The dizzying variety of plants everywhere. Flowers. Hot pink. And of course, plum and cherry blossoms in the spring.
Those yellow power line covers. "とまれ (stop)" on the ground. Tiny circle-stamped pavement.
Yellow bumpy-blocks for the blind.
Crevices between tightly-packed buildings. Teensy sidewalks. Ornate manhole covers. Evenly-spaced cutout patterns in cinder-block walls.
The dark stains of rain having come down over and over again.
Power lines everywhere. Telephone wires. Pipes on old concrete buildings. It seems sort of excessive, but the lines are knit together with vines, plants, tree branches, twigs, grass.
How fiercely Japanese love their tradition and culture. Even though they sometimes claim to like Western culture better, underneath every Japanese is super proud of all that history, that unique elegance. How young people these days wish they knew how to wear kimono. How anyone is proud to explain tradition or history to someone who doesn't know.
Sorry if this entry was boring or made no sense. But I had to write it down before I forgot. I forget so easily.
I just need to live there.