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Japan article by Amy kanka valadarsky part of Israeli lens

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    Amy Kanka

    Japan

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    Just 2 weeks. An ocean apart and worlds away. My first taste of Japan.There are hundreds of ways to experience Japan, I was lucky to do so with a small group of art lovers led by two artists: Hedva Shefaram (photographer) and Izhar Neumann (paper maker). We landed at Niigata airport late in the evening, and drove to our 1st stop. A tiny village, Kadoyde, so remote, the officer at the airport had a hard time understanding where were we headed to. After a few hours sleep (first night on a futon laid on the tatami floor) we wake up to a different world.How can words describe Kadoyde at the end of April? Covered in snow, oblique sun rays highlight the vapor raising from the river. The trickling sound

    of water from the melting snow follows us everywhere we go. Simple houses, old with age, surrounded by frozen rice paddies. Trees, their branches bare, glistening with frozen dew drops. A closer look we can see the tiny flower buds.Our first encounter with the people. Our host, Kobayashi, 5th generation of a paper making family owns a successful paper making workshop. In Kobayashis workshop we make our first sheets of paper. Our first attempts at Calligraphy. Get the first glimpse into the world of harmonious opposites creating handmade paper labels for sake (Japanese rice beverage). The labels handmade one by one, no two exactly the same, the sake produced in a factory using ultra modern robots

    Amy Kanka All Rights Reserved. The first Sakura tree. near Obuse, Japan

  • 125http://israeliartmarket.comAmy Kanka All Rights Reserved. Buddhist temple. Nagatoro, Japan.

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    almost without the touch of human hands. Tradition and the modern world. Wabi Sabi meets the Japanese standards for quality. In the village, we fill our souls with the wabi sabi aesthetics. The aesthetics described by Leonard Koren as the beauty of the impermanent, the imperfect and the incomplete. To me, the beauty achieved when men, nature and time live in harmony.The straight thin trunks of the bamboo trees echoing the simplicity of the shoji, the Japanese sliding doors. The huge ever-changing painting created by the shadow of the trees on the creamy white paper of the shoji. In and out become one. Separated only by the act of changing from outdoor shoes to the

    indoor slippers.After 5 days in the village we part from our new friends, and start our journey across the Japanese Alps. The first Sakura (cherry tree) in full bloom, gets us all out of the bus, camera in hand, running to capture its beauty. After a few minutes and too many ordinary photographs, I start thinking. How can I capture its essence? The abundance of color, the contrast of the old trunk next to the delicate flower? A gust of wind, and all thoughts are blown away by fluttering Sakura rain. A shower of pale pink petals. That's the beauty of impermanence.Every night we go to sleep thinking we have seen the best Japan has to offer. Every morning we realize there

    Amy Kanka All Rights Reserved. Handmade paper. Kadoyde, Japan.

  • 127http://israeliartmarket.comAmy Kanka All Rights Reserved. Hand painted fabric workshop #2. Japan

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    is more. We meet more and more incredible people. What makes them so honest? So giving? So totally committed to help? What is it in the Japanese tradition that makes one run after us with a cell phone we forgot in a restaurant? What drives families to spend their days making printed fabrics in a traditional way and charge for their work what we would normally pay for a tee-shirt? What standards of quality drives them to refuse selling a beautiful painted silk scarf saying it is not finished yet. The money I would be willing to pay, would feed the family for a few days at least. But the lady stands firm. She is not finished with this scarf yet. It cannot be sold.Slowly we move from rural Japan to Kyoto. A couple of hours on the Shinkansen (the high speed Japanese train) bring us to yet another world. We start our days in Buddhist monasteries and end them in Gion quarters, famous for its nightlife. In the morning we learned about the Zen, in the evening about Geishas and Maiko (apprentices, not yet Geishas). Emptiness and Zen meet the art of dance and tea parties. As different as they are from each other, I start recognizing the same underlying dialogue between man and nature. The wooden structure of the old temple and the elegant kimono and obi pattern chosen with great care to match the season. Time flies, the 2 weeks are over. We all leave Japan slightly changed by it. I know it will take months for the experience to really sink in. Have hundreds of photos to remind me of it. Until next time.

  • 129http://israeliartmarket.comAmy Kanka All Rights Reserved. Kobayashi - A quiet moment. Kadoyde, Japan

  • 130 http://israeliartmarket.comAmy Kanka All Rights Reserved. Kobayashi cleaning up the rice. Kadoyde, Japan

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  • 132 http://israeliartmarket.comAmy Kanka All Rights Reserved. Hand painted fabric workshop #1. Japan

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    Amy Kanka All Rights Reserved. In the paper workshop . Kadoyde, Japan.

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    Amy Kanka All Rights Reserved. Geisha. Gion quarter, Kyoto, Japan

  • 135http://israeliartmarket.comAmy Kanka All Rights Reserved. Zen Buddhist temple. Kyoto, Japan

    Amy Kanka All Rights Reserved. In and out, separated by the shoes. Kadoyde, Japan

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    Amy Kanka All Rights Reserved. Sakura - The beauty of the impermanent Sakura no sato, Japan

    AMY KANKA http://www.amykankaphotography.com/

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    Amy Kanka All Rights Reserved. Sakura - The beauty of the impermanent Sakura no sato, Japan