Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The (very) local Wakoshi Chuo 2-9 summer festival

Yup. This is the street where I live. As every year, mid July brings its summer festival (matsuri). Matsuri are events related to the shinto tradition and every shrine in Japan holds at least one matsuri festival every year. Usually during summer / autumn. 
There is no shrine is this area of Wakoshi but the locals decided that this was no reason for not having a matsuri :-)) Of course this is as local as it gets, literally involving one single street. It is mostly organised for kids as this is the middle and the highlight of their summer vacation.

This is the portable shrine (mikoshi) carried by the kids, ready for the parade. The mikoshi parade usually starts and ends at the main shrine, but in this case it just went from down-the-street to up-the-street, guarded by the firefighter squad of Wakoshi. Of our street. You get the picture :-))

So much for carrying the mikoshi, kids! Isn't that rather being pulled while standing on it? :-))

Yea OK, there's a little bit of work there. Good girls.

After this utterly exhausting 120m long parade, it's time for a well deserved chilled beer soda, all set up in somebody's garden.

And of course a beloved classic of the Japanese summer: watermelon. I was kindly offered a piece as well even though I was only paparazziying about. Thank you neighbours!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

On the importance of cleaning your ears

The Shibuya Hikarie 8/ Gallery complex is hosting a show featuring the winners of the Contemporary Chanoyu Awards 2014, a competition focusing on the design of contemporary utensils for the traditional japanese tea ceremony.

Standing proud in the middle of the gallery among the beautiful ceramics, this piece blew my mind.
It took 6 months, 40 people, and the genius of the designer to come up with this room for tea ceremony entirely made of cotton buds.

And the thing is, I could entirely picture myself attending a tea ceremony in this room. Tea ceremony follows a very strict protocol, and the setting for it is very important. The room needs to make you feel calm and relaxed, with little distractive elements (no loud decoration), and a sense a harmony ought to come through it. This cotton bud construction is a brilliant contemporary revisitation of an old tradition. Cotton is cosy, warm, non aggressive. The repetitive pattern within a perfect square is balanced and meditative. The colour white dispenses the element of purity and zen.

This must be one of my favourite snapshots ever. Standing in a tea ceremony room made of cotton buds, me with my Tough Love t-shirt, and the master with a bundle of cotton buds in his hands. Love it!

Price tag for this beauty: 3.000.000 Yen (22.000 Euros, 30.0000$)

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Image Makers at 21-21Design Sight - Photographer Hal, Jean-Paul Goude, David Lynch, Noritaka Takehana

The Image Makers show at 21-21Design Sight (Tokyo Midtown) was one of my favourite exhibitions so far this year. All-Star line up with Photographer Hal, Jean-Paul Goude, David Lynch and Noritake Takehana.

Photographer Hal is certainly one of a kind. I just had to buy his book 'Flesh Love'. Here is what he says about this work:

"When you embrace your lover, sometimes you wish to melt right into them.
To realise this wish, I've been photographing couples in small, or even cramped spaces like motels and bathtubs. As my work became more and more intense, I've noticed that communication is indispensable.
This time, I reached the point of photographing couples in vacuum-sealed packs. In a set I have constructed in my own kitchen […]
After the couple get in the vacuum pack, I suck the air out with a vacuum cleaner until there's none left. This gives me ten seconds to take the shot […]
I've been in there myself, and the fear I felt was overwhelming. As the shooting continues over multiple takes, the pressure of the vacuum seal grows stronger. At the same time, the two bodies start to communicate, and wether through unevenness of limbs or the curve of joints they begin to draw a shape of what they want to express"

More pictures from Photographer Hal here.

Jean-Paul Goude was also very well represented with several of his major pieces. Who doesn't remember his famous shot of Grace Jones. The series entitled Morphological Improvements is just stunning (those are all about 2X1m large shots. Very impressive).

I quite like David Lynch's movies but I had no idea he was such a multi-faceted artist. There is a whole universe of photography and lithography by David Lynch I was never aware of. 

And the shoes…. The Shoes! OMG. Those are by designer Noritaka Takehana, and I have to say I was in awe in front of them. Heelless shoes. The picture doesn't do justice to the quality of his work, but I can tell you all of those were absolutely fabulous. They had a replica of the black ones one could try on but my feet were too big :-(( damn….

Well this was a wonderful show, it's going to be hard to top that!

Shameless Self-Promotion Thursday (2) - New items on The Bookworm's Lunch Etsy shop

A set of 5 unique hand-drawn postcards [Fleurs des Champs] now available, you can find them here.

* I am looking at them now and… hmmm… before someone points it out, those little black thingies are not meant to be spermy people floating around. They're just lines. With little heads :-))

** Send me something for your Shameless Self-Promotion Thursday! (marie.wintzer@gmail.com)

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Jujo (Tokyo)

Jujo Christ Church ("Cathedral")

Ripped poster for onnagata show (male actors impersonating women in kabuki theatre)

Poster board

Maybe a so called maid café but I'm not entirely sure. A maid-something at least...

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Weaving images

Black and white geisha with city lights

Friday, 11 July 2014

Between Kappabashi and Ueno (2)

Abandoned shop / house like there are many in that area.

A mini shrine hidden in a backstreet, with fox deities (Kitsune).


Octopus matters (or it is?) in Ueno park.

Soft ice in Ueno park.