2012.03.18: Takumi (Artisan)
Today Taeko-san took me to an exhibition featuring local crafts located in an old sake brewery. I should have taken pictures of the outside of the building, but I was too excited to go inside. As you'll see below, Okazaki might not be a big city by Japanese standards (around 370,000 people), but the city is home to many talented people. I really wished Abby was here today, because this is exactly what I want to show her about Japan. Maybe there will be another exhibition when she gets here.
The above picture is of the second floor showcase room, but let's go back downstairs to where craftsmen were giving demonstrations.
This man is making rousoku, or Japanese candles. The technique he is using has been around for around five hundred years, and he is one of only twenty masters still doing so today.
This man is carving out a hanko, or stamp. In Japan, hanko are often used by people and businesses as a type of signature or identification on official documents. The one he's working on here is a custom order for a customer. He (like his father, whom I hope to meet before I leave Japan again) also carves pictures into the stamps (as below) to make art prints.
Several workshops for children were going on downstairs, including writing calligraphy with giant brushes. Here's some of the results. From left to right: "fun," "amazing," "desperate" or "frantic" (do-or-die!), and "shout."
This is kiri-e, a type of artwork made by cutting out shapes in layers of paper. If you look closely, you can see the technique adds a slight sense of depth to the image.
This is a taiko, or Japanese drum. I'm not sure if this one has a special name since it's definitely on the small end of the scale, if it's even called a taiko since its not made of wood, but it looks cool. Hey, I can't know everything.
This one would be called an ōdaiko (big taiko), since, well, it's a big taiko. I think it's at least four feet across. So, big. Really big.
Here's a close-up shot of the back of the ōdaiko to get a sense of the craftsmanship that went into it.
Too cute! I was this close to buying this. If they were dogs I would have.
This sculpture was made from local stone. Since the rings are interlocked, I suppose it was carved from a single rock. I thought it was clever, and it reminds me of something I saw at a sculpture park in St. Louis.
Below are two more photos I thought were worth sharing: