Sunday, 6 November 2016

Japan, an insprational holiday.

My hubby and I both celebrated a milestone birthday this year and our 15 year wedding anniversary, so instead of a party we decided to treat ourselves to a fantastic holiday. It has taken me a little while to digest the trip and also other life events have got in the way, but here we go.

 We started in China, Richard's choice, and then spent 9 days in Japan. It has always been a dream of mine to visit, I love Japanese art and design, I'm also attracted to the ethos and approach to life of the people.
I was not disappointed, everything was so efficient and well thought out. Arriving at Tokyo Station one of the biggest in the world was amazing, despite thousands of people there was no aggression, no litter and no threat, unlike the feelings I get when I travel to London.
Even the pavements were beautiful each district having its own emblem on occasional stones.

I felt at home almost immediately, and oh so much to see. Tokyo is not a walkable city, it is vast and each area has its own characteristics some ultra modern, others traditional. Fantastic shop displays, eccentric cafes and sublime temples to name a few.

We travelled on to Mount Fuji, unfortunately shrouded in mist, to stay at a traditional rayokan inn. We dressed in kimono, slept on futons and had the most exquisite meal in our room. I could have stayed for ever.

Next the bullet train to Kyoto, another mix of the ancient and modern, with some of the loveliest temples and old architecture.

I also found a wonderful fabric shop called Nomura Tailor and my first branch of Tokyu Hands, a totally brilliant lifestyle, arts and crafts store. I poured over all 5 floors, my hubby is very patient, squealing with delight at the diversity of the products. The Japanese have a wonderful appreciation for hand made.  The store also  have their own cafĂ© too where I indulged my new passion for anything with green, matcha,tea. Yummy

Reluctantly we left Kyoto, on a bullet train, to Hiroshima. It was somewhere I felt I needed to visit even though  I was slightly dreading what I might find. Yes the atomic bomb sites are deeply moving but the city is friendly, lively and just wonderful. A real life affirming experience. Beautiful carp swam in the moat of the castle and this gorgeous butterfly landed close by, I took it as I sign I was meant to be here.

So what did I bring back from Japan, apart from books and beautiful fabrics, more importantly  I had reaffirmed something about myself and my work. I have always been attracted to the preciseness of Japanese art the clean lines,  elegance and the sometimes eccentricity. In my work I love to be very neat with definite lines, a feeling of quality but I also like to be quirky. I discovered chirimen fabric, a supple crepe with gorgeous texture and colour , it is used to create kimono braids and decorations. This has already found its way into my work with my new Japanese Monarchs. I am currently creating a new sketchbook and my ideas are brimming over.

I hope you get the sense of how much I love this country, its kind, polite people and its endless sources of artistic inspiration. I cannot wait to return and spend more time in this place where I instantly felt at home.