Thursday, November 3, 2016

Postcard from Japan: Thursday, October27, 2016, Part Two

Painted canvas bag by Akiko Hara, 2016
I wanted to share some of Hara Akiko's unique work with you.  She has always had a unique view of the world and how to express it in her fun and quirky way.  Dolls sold in the US and Michigan, but here in Japan, they don't sell as well, especially the large pieces, so she primarily makes bags and clothing.  Here are some views of her painted canvas bags:

Big Woman Sitting by Akiko Hara, 2016

Long Thin
Woman by
Akiko Hara
Akiko's niece suddenly appeared at the door with her baby boy.  I had never seen a Japanese baby or child that wasn't absolutely adorable.  There's a squeeze bottle mayonnaise that's like Miracle Whip that's called "Cupie Mayonnaise" because of the little wavy curl at the top a child's head.  This little boy is a Cupie Mayonnaise baby!

Akiko's niece's baby boy came to visit.
Before I left for the train, we went to lunch (in the rain) to a tempura restaurant with a layout of seating that I'd never seen before.  

The son in the family is the tempura cook.  Along with tempura, their specialty is soba. I was a little cold from the rain and had hot tempura soba with the biggest shrimp I think I'd ever seen, maybe 7"-8" long.  Akiko-san had cold buckwheat soba which is a summer specialty.  This soba is served chilled on a small thin woven bamboo mesh so that the water drains below.  A cold broth with finely chopped green onions is served along side with, of course, tempura.  It was early (11:30?) and we were the only customers so the cook, his mother, and aunt, all talked animately with Akiko because they knew her well.  She features their business cards at her studio and they have a small pile of her show cards in their front entrance.

Meishi, business cards, are ubiquitous in Japan.  Even non-business people have them to introduce themselves to people they meet for the first time.  I made sure I brought plenty to hand out.

You walk in on the wood floor to the right, step down
into the "black" area between the counter and the
tatami seating that runs the length of the counter.
The entrance gate to the tempura restaurant
with the noren curtain pulled up on one side
so that customers coming through won't
have the rain drip on them and come
into the restaurant wet.

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