Showing posts from May, 2016

To Tougei (or to Mingei)

Japan has an ancient tradition of making pottery, that goes way back into the mists of millennia.... OK, I'll stop there. Over the past couple of years I have had the pleasure of learning traditional pottery, tougei (陶芸, lit. pottery art, ceramic art). My teacher is in Tokorozawa and has a couple of kilns, including a nobori-gama that I hope we will use one day - it's wooden fire gives the most interesting hues without using glazes. I also make my own stuff here at home in Hanno, which I fire at a friend's place in Ogama, Chichibu, western Saitama. We are thinking of building a nobori-gama there, too, in the forest. Mingei (民芸, lit. folk art) is a popular movement with museums all over Japan, many that display pottery items and local ceramics, especially those made by unknown potters, masters in their own right, but guys and gals who didn't have the kind of luck to make pieces for rich people, but for the benefit of us ordinary folks. I'm a bit unsure where I woul

Katazukeru: What to do with our Parents' Stuff

Below, a good read in the Daily Gomiuri, aka The-Japan-News, aka Daily Yomiuri (lit. Read-Sell) about the issues facing us youngsters now in our 40s and 50s as we have to deal with our parents' stuff. Because die they will and they will leave attics full off stuff. Do we just throw it all away? Do we hire firms to come and pick it all up? Do we sort through it, and more importantly, do we sort through it all? Decades of consuming, if not a century since industrialization began in earnest, and consumerism that made it all so easy to accumulate. But not just stuff stuff. Also personal things like letters, photos, super 8 home movies. Stuff that actually meant something. Hope they translate that book, “Katsuo ga Isonoke o Katazukeru Hi” (The day Katsuo cleans up the Isono household), by Aya Watanabe. Like The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, there is a lesson here, somewhere (if I can only find it, where did I put

Jupiter and Moon

Cool view of the sky, I like that I can find out what that bright thing near the moon is - Jupiter. Ken E is invited to join the new Kurashi Experience. Earthsky says: Jupiter’s four major moons – Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto – made it possible for math-savvy astronomers to compute the mass (heaviness) of Jupiter. This giant world has the mass of 318 Earths. How do astronomers know the mass of Jupiter? As darkness falls on May 14, 2016, use the moon to find the king planet Jupiter. Watch for them. They will be a sight to see in your sky on Saturday evening. And soon gone far, far away again. You'll also see Saturn and Mars in May!