Ten years ago this morning I rolled into Kyoto in a removal van after an all night drive from Tokyo. The cherry blossom was blooming then too. Many thanks to my JET sempai, Duncan Flett, who helped me to find a new place to live and who handed me the key to my new apartment on my arrival in the early hours of the morning. He also handed me a banana – rather kindly thinking I might be hungry after my trip. I will never forget that banana! Many thanks also to Mario Leto who did the driving that night! I have never regretted moving to this wonderful city.
To celebrate, here are two of my favorite Kyoto views, photographed today.
The view from Gojo bridge this morning – a short walk from where I live now.
And the view from the Imadegawa bridge at Demachiyanagi this evening. When I first moved to Kyoto I passed this view every day on my way to and from Japanese language school. After living and working in Shinjuku, this view of mountains, rivers and sky was really special. I think this is still my favorite area in Kyoto.
A special review today by our good friend Richard Donovan,
Taking photos in Joel Stewart’s painting studio in North Kyoto, I struggle to contain his upcoming exhibition’s signature artwork, Odyssey, within the frame. A horizontal painting comprised of six separate 40-centimeter-square images painted on both paper and canvas, all mounted onto wooden panels and joined together. It is a veritable visual haiku extending more than two meters. Continue reading →
A couple of weeks ago Mewby and I went up to Kitayama to hang out for an evening at Joel Stewart’s studio. We had a long chat about his life and experiences here in Japan, and about his art, and he asked us to help him choose a picture that he was going to submit for this year’s 京展 (Kyoten) at Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art. It was a very nice evening and later on he introduced us to Brown’s, a British style pub with great food, and a very cozy ambience – I’ll write more about that in a later post though. Joel had told us he would have an exhibition at the end of the year here in Kyoto, so prior to that we will do a full interview with him here on Deep Kyoto. However, in the meantime, I am happy to say that his piece has been selected for this year’s Kyoten!
Kyoten, if you don’t know, is the annual comprehensive art show organized by Kyoto City at Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art and this is its 80th year. They have western style painting, Japanese style painting, crafts, prints and calligraphy. Joel submitted a work that juxtaposes abstract work with a more concrete image – energizing both!
Here are the exhibition details:
Dates: July 3 (Wednesday) －July 19 (Friday) Place: Main Hall North 1F, The Large Exhibition Room, and all of the 2F rooms at Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art Open: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (admission until 4:30 p.m.) Location: Jingumichi in Okazaki, not far from Heianjingu Shrine. Here is a map.
And here we are being silly in front of one of Joel’s beautiful screens:
They don’t exhibit screens at Kyoten, so the work he has there is much smaller but if you are interested, you can read more about Joel’s five year folding screen installation project, “Crossroads” in his own account here: Crossroads: How to arrange 60 paintings in a Fushimi Warehouse
And also follow Joel’s page on Facebook here: Joel Stewart Art.
Hello all! I have returned from my travels, but have decided to take an extended break from all internet activities for the next month or so, in order to *get things done*. To that end, there will be no further posts either here or on Facebookfor the time being. I will however maintain a very limited service of Kyoto related links on Twitter. In the meantime, I will not be able to handle any Kyoto related queries, so for all those wondering where to see the very best cherry blossoms or where to find that textile shop they vaguely remember visiting in 1971, may I recommend this most excellent directory of information.
Deep Kyoto will resume full operations later this spring.
Last Friday I visited Urbanguild to see a trio of local dance legends: Bridget Scott, Heidi S. Durning and Rosa Yuki perform together for the first time. All the dancers now being in their fifties and Bridget having very recently turned fifty herself, they wanted to celebrate and see what would bloom and manifest from a collaboration. All of the dancers gave a spirited and colourful performance, but Bridget’s was particularly striking as she held 50 roses in front of her face like a dramatic mask. After the show I remarked on how much her personality seems to shift on stage into something more elemental, and she agreed saying that transformation was an essential part of dance. Altogether it was an enjoyable and imaginative show, and I look forward to seeing these three perform together again.
“Nikon Flower (Eternity in a Moment)” butoh performance and Shamisen Butoh Café “Tadaima” By Ima Tenko+Kiraza
Caitlin Coker writes,
Kiraza, a Kyoto-based butoh dance company, is known for portraying archetypes of Japanese culture with a punk-kitsch spin. Their performance at Nishijin Factory Garden presents the avant-garde dance form Butoh in an intimate theater, which was previously a Nishijin weaving factory. This nostalgic space retains its weaving loom and wooden pillars. In this space, accompanied by live shamisen, Kiraza`s white-painted bodies dance the perpetual flower- a dance of spark, emptiness and the eternal now.
Here are the details:
Dates & Times: October 22nd at 3pm and 7pm / October 23rd at 1pm and 5pm
Doors open 30 minutes before performance time.
The butoh performance will be followed by a shamisen café time. General Admission: 1,800 yen (2,200 door) Students: 1,500 yen (1,800 door)
The café is a separate price. Kimono Discount: 100 yen off if you wear a kimono
For tickets and additional information, please contact Ima Tenko at Tel/Fax: 075-525-4467 cell: 090-7098-2869 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Location:Nishijin Factory Garden
Kyoto-shi, Kamigyou-ku Jofukuji-dori Kamidachiuri-sagaru Ebisu-chou 663 Phone: 090-4198－8272 Access: 5 minute walk from Imadegawa－Jofukuji bus stop on routes # 201,
203, 59, 51. 10 minute walk from Senbon-Kamidachiuri bus stop on bus routes #206 and 46
Here is a map. For more information about tickets or directions, please contact Caitlin Coker at email@example.com.
Almost a week has passed since the disaster in Tohoku. I haven’t posted anything since then because it has been difficult to know what to say.
I still don’t know what to say and so will keep this short. There has been a lot of hysterical headlines about meltdowns in the foreign media and quite a bit of scaremongering online too. Here’s a link to expert opinion on what the current situation is at the nuclear plants in Fukushima and how it might pan out:
Basically the situation at the nuclear plants is serious but even in a “worst case scenario” people in Tokyo are NOT AT RISK. This is NOT going to be another Chernobyl.
So let’s all stay calm and sit tight and hopefully pretty soon those 50 brave souls in Fukushima trying to cool those reactors will get the situation under control. And when that’s done we can all focus on the necessary relief efforts up north. Japan is hurting right now and a lot of people are very traumatised, but the best thing we can do right now is keep on going. Deep Kyoto posts will continue as normal from tomorrow.
Not a great picture – but you get the idea. Urbanguild was PACKED! The atmosphere was fantastic. The bands were superb. I want to say a big thank you to the presenters (Kawagoe-san, Nishimoto-san and Murakawa-san), to Jen. L. Teeter for her translation skills, to Andy Couzens for his videos (awesome!), to Sean for making it happen, to the wonderful musicians and to all the people who came and danced and whooped and hollered and made it one of the best nights EVER.
Later I’ll post some videos and pictures of the night. (Look forward to it. It was sooo good!) Right now though I have to get down off this post-event high! Don’t forget to send your postcards, people!