Japan - Email 3 - Takamatsu

Dear friends and family,

Planning was pretty rushed on this trip. We had originally blocked out a chunk of time to go to Australia for Chuck Close's opening at the Sydney MOCA. The museum wanted Don to speak and teach some workshops, but things didn't work out. We decided we were overdue for a visit to Japan. Our friends at Awagami Paper Mill invited us to come and visit. This is peak season for Japan, however, and very booked up, especially during the weekends. Everyone is venturing out to see the fall colors. 

While in Takamatsu we wanted to go back to Naoshima and some of the other newer art islands and we also wanted to see Isamu Noguchi's studio. We realized we didn't have time to do both. Don had a strong desire to see Noguchi's studio, so we headed out there by public bus. If you go, you must make an appointment. The Takamatsu Tourist Office in the train station is a great resource.

The Japanese do such a good job with wrapping, even their rocks.

There is a quarry nearby the studio, and we passed some stone masons' yards on the way to Noguchi's.

1 Tall Gaijin listening to the tour in Japanese

Noguchi's studio is in a beautiful location. The tour is given in Japanese only, at least while we were there. Also, photographs are not allowed in certain places (most of the places) so some of what you see may not be entirely legal.

What looked like Noguchi's rock stash outside his beautiful studio, a former sake warehouse which had been transported from another location in Japan.

The inside of a smaller warehouse, used for storage. The inner walls are a mud plaster with straw flakes and sometimes patterns made from straw. The floors of both warehouses and his house are hard-packed mud or clay. The whole effect, especially in the larger former sake warehouse, is stunning.

Landscaping around Noguchi's studio; he must have done it with a backhoe.

Back to Takamatsu and the exquisite Ritsurin Koen, dating from 1625 when Lord Takamatsu first created it. Others have added onto it since.

Ritsurin Koen

Dinner at a great yakitori place we stumbled into in Takamatsu. Everyone who worked there seemed to be in their twenties, very lively, and shouting in chorus every time anyone ordered anything or seemingly did anything. We didn't see how they could have the experience to be accomplished cooks. 

However, the main cook looked a little older, and the food turned out to be great.

Love from Japan,

Era and Don