Baseball, Ikebana, and Beaches

Somehow, I’ve already been in Japan for a whole month. With all of our excursions and getting ready for the gallery show, I’ve been really busy! A few weeks ago, we took a two-day trip to Osaka. We got to see a Hanshin Tigers baseball game, which was really fun and reminded me of home. Before the 7th inning, instead of doing a 7th inning stretch, the fans let go of balloons. It was a really exciting atmosphere to be a part of. 

Left: Fans waiting to let go of their ballons Right: Balloons being let go before the start of the 7th inning

The next day in Osaka, we got the opportunity to have a workshop with Atsunobu Katagiri, Photographer and Ikebana Master. Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arrangement. Karagiri Sensei showed us a few examples of Ikebana and then we all got to work on our own. After we’d finished our Ikebana arrangements, Katagiri Sensei sat down with each of us and critiqued our work. It was a completely new art form to me and I was very interested in learning about it, especially from a well-known Master.

Top Left: My Ikebana creation Top Right: Katagiri Sensi with all of our Ikebana arrangements Bottom: Students working on their Ikebana arrangements with Katagiri Sensei 

Last week we went on an excursion to Hiroshima for a week. We stayed in a hotel that was just a block away from the A-Bomb dome. We went to multiple museums and landmarks to learn about the history of Hiroshima. In addition to the history, we were able to go to galleries and art museums. During our time in Hiroshima, we took a ferry to Miyajima. Miyajima is known for its friendly deer population. The deer would sit with you and let you pet them and often tried to steal the food out of your hands. 

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Hanging out with deer in Miyajima

For the last few days of our Hiroshima excursion, we stayed on the island of Naoshima. Naoshima is an island known for its contemporary art and the many museums it is home to. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to take photos inside the museums but I was able to take photos of the beautiful beach. One of my favorite parts of the island was the Art House Project. There are seven art houses spread across the island with each house showcasing a different artists’ work. It was a really unique experience because I was able to take a self guided tour through the town and houses.

Images of the beach on the island of Naoshima.

We are all back in Kyoto now and getting ready for our show next week, Frame of Reference. This is an exhibition of artwork made in Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Naoshima by Indiana University (United States) students over a five week stay in Kyoto, during which they explored modern cities and culturally significant sites. Their work is an attempt to visualize the gap between their preconceptions of Japan before their arrival, and the reality of living and traveling in-country. The trip has served as a catalyst for examining their individual identities, as well as the complicated political history of America’s global presence. Looking at the work, you can feel the students questioning their roles as artists and citizens of the world. Their experiences here will continue to inform their outlook and understanding of the relationship between Japan and the United States in the future.  I am really looking forward to being able to showcase the work I’ve been creating during my time in Japan.