Spreading the charms of Japan to the world from Fukui




Kotori Kawashima / Solo Exhibition


Arts and crafts

川島小鳥展 境界線で遊ぶ

I went to see the photo exhibition of Kotori Kawashima, “Play on the Borderline” which is currently being held at Kanazu Forest of Creation in Fukui.


I am intrigued by the photography as media with “direct eyes” in which the people who see the photographs can feel what the photographer saw and felt.


川島小鳥展 境界線で遊ぶ

This coming Saturday, February 26th, Kotori Kawashima will hold a panel discussion and a workshop. I would like to hear the words from a photographer.



Speaking of hearing the words from someone, the first part of a poem of Shuntaro Tanikawa was exhibited in the venue with a photograph and those words stuck with me.



The Oldest and Largest Bonsai Exhibition of Ume (plum) Trees with Blossoms in Japan


Arts and crafts

Nagahama Bonsai Exhibition of Ume (plum) Trees with Blossoms has been started since 1952, and it’s the 66th time this year. About 90 bonsai pots out of 300 are displayed in the traditional Japanese room and some of them are as tall as about 3 meters. There are also old ones which are about 400 years old. There are many visitors every year coming to see these amazing plum trees.


This year’s exhibition is held from January 7th until March 12th at Keiunkan in Naghama City, Shiga Prefecture. Keiunkan is an 8-minute walk from Nagahama train station.

As soon as you walk into the building, you can see the displayed beautiful plum trees in a traditional Japanese room filled with so much fragrant smell (they smell flowery). Not only you can enjoy looking at the plum trees, you can also enjoy the atmosphere which let you feel Japan. This time of the year in Japan is very cold, so I recommend you to dress warmly if you visit.


The video was taken at Nagahama Bonsai Exhibition of Ume (plum) Trees with Blossoms last year.



“Exhibition from Reims Museum” at Fukui Fine Art Museum


Arts and crafts

I went to the museum for the first time in a while to see the “Exhibition from Reims Museum” which I had been looking forward to.


Reims is an old city in the Champagne region of northern France.
Reims Museum in the center of the city was opened in 1913 with articles
donated by billionaires who made their fortunes by Champagne.


The reason why I had been looking forward to the exhibition is because I’ve been to
Reims before. I wanted to visit Champagne maisons and made a little side trip there
from Paris. On the way to Reims, vineyards extending in rolling hills can be seen.
The sunny scenery was not only just beautiful but also it made me realized once again that France was an agricultural country.


The vineyards in Champagne


As for Champagne maisons where I wanted to visit, I went to Moet et Chandon and
PIPER-HEIDSIECK. Both companies have a good tour of the brewing process and you can learn about that.


Reims is a quiet city where a World Heritage site, Notre Dame Cathedral presents
dignified appearance. In Reims, there was a relaxed atmosphere, the food at a restaurant was good and its garcon was nice so they were good memories of the trip.


By the way, the exhibition’s highlight is Tsuguharu Fujita’s paintings.
Reims is a city associated with him. Because in Reims, he was baptized,
became Leonard Foujita and he built a chapel which he had always dreamed in his late life.


70 paintings including Fujita are on display in the “Exhibition from Reims Museum”.
I like landscape paintings called the Barbizon School and my favorite out of this
exhibition is “Woman reading a book in the shade of a tree beside the river” by Camil Corot.


The exhibition is open until December 25th (Sun).
December is a busy time though, as the end of the year approaches, why don’t you feel an elegant atmosphere viewing rare French paintings which you cannot see that often? (H.S)

Special Exhibition “The Budda statues of Fukui Prefecture”


Arts and crafts

The exhibition has been held in Fukui City History Museum since last month.
I saw it once personally and twice for coverage.
There are a total of 34 statues and all of them are specially displayed from temples
in northern region of Fukui Prefecture.
I was impressed that there were such many historical Buddha statues remain here in Fukui.


“Kokuzo Bosatsu” The oldest extant wooden Buddha statue in Fukui,
which was made in Heian Period.(in the 9th century) owned by Jingudo Temple, Echizen City.


“Seishi Bosatsu” owned by Seishido Temple, Sabae City. A memorable statue in Kamakura Period(in the 13th century), which has eyes made of crystal inserted at the restoration.
So its face looks painfully for some reason but if you look it from diagonally behind,
you can see its original face’s beauty.


“Shokannon” in Heian Period(the 11th century) owned by Saikoji Temple, Sakai City.
Althouth it might be hard to see in the photo, it puts its right foot forward a bit.
Because it is said that Kannon is the Buddha who rescues people from pain all over the place,
and the right foot seems to move, which expresses that it is going to help you now.


As I looked the Buddha statues several times, I became feel closer to them.
I not only felt comforted, but also I felt peaceful as if I was wrapped up in selfless love.


Whether you are in interested in Buddha statues or not, why don’t you visit this exhibition?
It will run until November 23rd. (H.S)


*I took the photos with special permission.

Pottery Making in Midsummer


Arts and crafts

I visited an Echizen-yaki pottery artist, Kenji Kasatsuji at his studio.

When I visited him, he was in the middle of making a pottery.

He was sweating so much while he kept putting clay on top of another

and blending them with his fingertips.

After that, he repeated the process of tapping the clay with a wooden paddle.

Even though he was not planning to bake the one he was making that day

because it was for a trial one, his careful and diligent work looked as if

he was making an actual product.

I was amazed by his professionalism.


He was forming with coils to make a large trial pottery.

From his face, you can see sweat kept coming out.


This was finished only up to a fourth part and it will get taller.


It went up to around 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) that day,

and the outside of the studio was in the full glare of the sun.