I don't have any pictures of the harrowed looks that dave and I were putting out at 5 o'clock, through sheer tiredness, or the faces of the girls in short tartan skirts as they passed me in my kilt later in the night, but yesterday was ultimately great fun and a satisfying end to our work. We took 4 hours to set up (much to the apparent dismay of our - all-be-them-paid - hosts) and then sat back with red bulls awaiting our public. In Japan, galleries are often rented for a week at a time and set up times are equally as short. Allowing 2 hours to set up is making a rather bold presumption that you have, say, 10 standard pictures to hang. 50 pieces later and without an inkling that the walls would be made of kevlar, saw us eventually finish early afternoon much to the relief of everyone. it was nice to see a few curious people wander in as we were finishing and look genuinely cheerful for having seen the work. I have to say it did look quite interesting on arrival - many, very colourful pieces . A decent crowd had appeared by 8 and I was glad to have quite a few positive comments about my power-line drawings.
Damp is not a word I often associate with Japan. Glasgow yes, Osaka no. Okay, so August here feels like the inside of a Ugandan greenhouse, but winter is generally the exact opposite - dry to the point of walls creaking. We kind of missed out on early autumn this year instead jumping rather abruptly into a late cold, grey and dreich time of it and not being the biggest fan of the local electric heat sources, I've eschewed the heaters so far but my bloody clothes aren't drying on their own. Yesterday I took the fast train through to Tokyo and it being 12.30, the lunch boxes were broken out immediately. Good looking people ate beautiful but healthy food on the fastest train in the world and I considered I might be coming out my recent Japan slump. Despite the train being full of scowling charcoal (possibly myself included), I was beside an ageing woman who reminded me of a child riding a train in that way that the very elderly do because there's a bloody good chance it'll be their last time. She continually pointed out the colours and (very) low lying mist, which were indeed a beautiful combination. She never tired of it and I wished that I would spare more time to do the same. It rather put things in perspective. I wanted to have a deep discussion with her about life but I settled for pinning her against the window, when her daughter went to the toilet, demanding laundry tips.
Posted by stupot at 07:39 PM Wednesday 22 Nov
A week on Tuesday is the opening of my first exhibition in Japan. Dave and I will be having a party that evening (28th) from 7pm - 9 so if you're in Umeda please come around. The drawings, paintings and photo's will be on show until December 3rd (jesus, it's almost December) so feel free to pop in any time should you have a minute.
The popular Mac v PC adverts have been shown, in their Japanese form, on TV recently. Usually the exotic honky is used by Japanese companies but then this is an American company and Japanese things are cool. The results are, well, the same adverts but in Japanese. As ever, TV is a helpful listening aid to those studying the language.
Posted by stupot at 07:56 PM Tuesday 14 Nov
There's that ritual, when you live in a foriegn land, that when someone visits or you go back to from where you came, that you get some motherland goods. These days I'm not too bothered but I always ask for a bottle of Isla malt and a cycling magazine. This time I added liquorice root to the list - as easy to find in Osaka as someone who likes the Chinese. I used to chew on these in Glasgow and now I'm back to having a stick hanging out my mouth most days (they're meant to be good for the kidneys and liver and for stopping smoking). I went to the accupuncturists the other day and when I stuck my tongue out for a general check I thought the doctor was going to keel over - he not knowing my tongue was caked in yellow from the liquorice sap. think he was about to tell me I had 3 days left.
As the cover suggests, this months copy of kansai scene magazine has more references to bikes than a French sports newspaper during July. Living in Kansai and being a bike freak myself, it probably comes as little surprise that I have an article inside. I've written a piece on road racing in Japan - something I had a lot of difficulty fathoming when I arrived here. The reason for the article is to hopefully alleviate some of the mist that surrounds the topic. The new look kansai scene has a neat layout by the ever talented mojoworks and as ever, the magazine has lots of helpful local listings all broken up by adverts designed by the local blind school.
Posted by stupot at 11:22 AM Sunday 12 Nov
We had a relaxing morning on the island before heading back to Okayama via the minimal ferry terminal, a tiny passenger ferry and another dirty wee ramen shop, where Fred got a lesson in how to make gyoza from one of the two old biddies running the place. We made Kyoto on the Nozomi in no time and were beside some very rich kids doing their daily homework routine on the 200km ride to Osaka. Fred and I were going to get their trainers off them, or at least their dinner money, but alas the shinkansen was too fast. We arrived in Higashiyama, just south of Gion, in the dark but the lanes were lit with that glow of a hundred years ago.