Thursday, June 7, 2007

Project Update

My box itself is moving along, I've been perfecting my construction and now I'm ready to begin the decoration of the box. I'm still struggling to find a title for the project as a whole so that I can figure out the belly band and the booklet. Any suggestions on a title would be really awesome. I've got my patterns mostly set up, now I just have to start making the cloths themselves. I'm really excited to get them finished so I can take pictures of them in the setting of my block. Today I think we're going over the sound booth with Ron, and then perhaps recording. Time is flying so fast, before I know it this whole experience will be over...and it'll be time to go back to the least until grad school.

I'm planning on putting some pictures of my project up soon. It's just not ready to show itself yet ^.~

Friday, June 1, 2007

Pecha Kucha

That whole experience was interesting to me and I'd be curious to see how it works in New York (I read through the places that it's held to see where the closest one to me would be). I think I really liked the guy who did the performance art. I'm typically not very into performance art, but he really amused me and I kind of wondered what he talked about when he was talking up there. I wanted to know more about the performance I saw pictures of with the Tokyu Hands logo...

I would have liked to see it perhaps in a better forum, but the idea is incredible and I think it would be fun to take part in it sometime with my work. It made me wish that I had a better understanding of the Japanese Language and just deepens my interest in learning it.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


My favourite spot that I experienced on this trip is hard to really decide upon. I loved the tea garden with the bloody footprints on the ceiling and Todaiji. I think those were my favourite places. The tea garden was beautiful and relaxing, and when I saw the footprints and hand prints stained on the ceiling it was exciting. The history is amazing and even with the gory history of the ceiling it was relaxing and calm. Todaiji was simply amazing. I really can't think of many words that would do justice in describing it. I tried to take pictures but they really don't even get the point just have to be there to experience all that it is.

Really this trip was amazing and all aspects of the trip were well worth the time. I enjoyed every part of the trip, and if I had the chance and the money I would happily do the trip again and spend more time to explore Kyoto and Nara. And, I did like the deer. ^.~

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Lateral View

Generally all that Donald Richie wrote of Japan still holds true, and I think that can be seen from the week and a half that I've been here. There is a sameness in change and Tokyo is much like an organism that grows and changes and in certain aspects remains the same. The contrast of old and new and east and west all snugly assembled into something all it's own. I wonder about familial life and how it might possibly change because this is something I haven't experienced myself in Tokyo. The 'rabbit hutch' or 'chicken coop' housing that keeps the wife and children as the men go to work and then out with their coworkers to strengthen company bonds. I've seen many salary men out late at night, so I'm not doubting that it still holds true, but rather just curious as to whether or not the women have careers and how this affects the familial life. Would the women be committed to an evening with coworkers in order to in some ways secure that position in the company?

The whole idea that there is no word for home in Japanese, but rather hometown, would make sense to the way of life. Just one little fact that I found quite interesting. As far as towns are considered, Donald Richie was right in saying that the city is in fact made up of little towns. In a sense, the fact that there is no zoning makes these multiple towns that create the city much more homogenous than the cities that I'm accustomed to. Though one area can be vastly different from another, they are the same enough that you understand. I find this and the public transportation system incredible about Tokyo. In so many ways i find it much more efficient and comfortable than anywhere I've experienced.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Project Post Two: Revisions to Idea

I've decided that I still want to focus on the wrapping of things, and the furoshiki, but to incorporate my block (which I've changed to the area around Tokyo Tower for reasons I'll explain in a moment), I'm going to design several Furoshiki with patterns I've created from different visual aspects from the area. The block itself has three things that in their own ways remind me of Japan, a temple for obvious reasons, Tokyo tower for the technological aspect, and a park for the strong natural ties (which kind of goes with the temple or shrine). I kind of think it would be fun to create a bento that housed inside a cd soundtrack, a book of small and brief histories and inspirations, and perhaps something else all packaged up and packaged again in one of the furoshiki. I'm going to try refining my ideas today and I'll post again on this probably tonight after I post my reactions to the readings.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Project Post One: Inspiration

I think I might settle my idea for my project off of some things I saw in Azabujuban. When we were walking through Ron briefly explained the history of the wrapping of items, the way they are presented and packaged. I wanted to pair this wrapping with the idea of the kimono and the wrapping of people for special events. I've done a little research online and was hoping to visit the library to possibly take out some books to further investigate this.

I would like to do a traditional Japanese style book that has a sound track. Noises and perhaps music that might invoke the idea of the area, the history, or the meaning behind this wrapping.

Tsutsumi is the wrapping of gifts in paper as a means of keeping any ill feelings or disharmonies from passing on to the recipient of the gift. They said that the only paper originally used was washi paper, though I haven't found a clear definition on that yet, but I also read that it was originally wrapped in white paper only, to show the purity.

Furoshiki is wrapping with cloth and originated as a way of wrapping your clothes while taking a public bath. This too has very specific ways of wrapping, but rather than paper uses large beautiful cloths.

And the Kimono, also, has a very specific way of being put on, or wrapped around the body.

I wanted to explore historically the importance of these three things and then how they've adapted to a more modern culture. I'm really very interested in this subject and the history and adaptability of it.

Monday, May 14, 2007

A clean and Alien place

I love Philadelphia in it's own right. I am home there. But I love Tokyo. I've been back to Harajuku to see the Gothic Lolita and other eccentricities that the young crowd there has to offer and I want to do some shopping there at some point, even if I don't get to buy anything from the incredible stores within La Foret. Tokyo is so clean and well worked, things are how they are supposed to be. I don't feel any more foreign here than I do among the crowds at Temple, I just don't feel that I can disappear into the background as well. So while I'm no more alone here than I am back home, I stand out twenty times as much. But that's okay.

Some of my Japanese is returning. I'm so rusty after not being able to take it for three years. My guides names are Toko, Yuka, and Harumi. I talk to Harumi most. They're all very sweet.

The metro yesterday was an experience to say the least. While I've been on the metro here quite a bit since I first arrived (I've probably spent 5,000 yen on it being as it's the best way for me to get around) it has never been quite so crowded. Yuka said that there was probably a train suicide on the other line which is why it was delayed and everyone was piling onto the train we were taking. We could have entered one of those contests to see how many people you can fit in one tiny car, there were so many people on that train. When we started out, we barely pushed ourselves on and were standing on the left side. By the end, we had been squished in so tight that we were more towards the right side of the train. And as people got off and on there was a current of sorts, it felt very similar to being swept away by the ocean tides. Luckily we were to exit the train at our stop on the right hand side so when the doors opened (we were right up against them, no lie) we stumbled off and quickly out of the way of the swarms of people. Incredible.

Tokyo is an amazing place. I wish that my Japanese was better. Tokyo is also a fairly expensive city if you're not careful. Or maybe I just feel that way since I have no income and am eating away at my savings. But while I love this place, I feel no different here than I do back home. No more alienated, no less alienated...maybe I'm just gaijin no matter where I go.