Why is this fashionable guy wedged into the corner of this train?

Is something dirty happening with this fashionable guy wedging himself into the corner of the JR train, face and body pressed against the wall with one foot in a forward motion gesture? Actually he seemed to be on the telephone, a violation of standard courtesy rules on Japanese public transit. I love how he’s positioned himself into a false sense of privacy.

Why do Japanese love rainbows?

Japanese love rainbows! I made this rice bowl for the husband’s sister, and gave it the rainbow treatment because I heard she likes them.

Except perhaps for small town Christian children in the lost part of Amerika, every Amerikan associates rainbows with gays. Not in Japan. Just like men’s plucked eybrows, back-combed hair, outre fashion, and overall vanity, rainbows are not marked as other, different, or marginal.

Why do Japanese love rainbows?

Here’s the backside of the rice bowl.

This is one of my first pottery wheel ceramics. The only reason it looks mostly symmetrical is that my teacher/father-in-law helped me a lot!

Ceramic explosion

Yikes! I was drawing the third line on the first of three mugs, when suddenly the mug exploded in my hands! I had made the shape, shaved off the excess clay, carved my name on the bottom, and painted three layers of green glaze. Fortunately, the other two mugs cooperated with my decorative efforts.

I have orders for a total of six mugs, due sometime next month.

Student ceramic show

I did not have a chance to post these photos earlier. Late last month, we had the annual student ceramic show. My second one! I was so surprised to see almost all of what I exhibited: two lattice-shaped bizen vases, six mugs, and a few other bizen vases which I made in May during the studio trip.

In addition to my super loyal customer and Japanese aunt, my university friend bought one piece, as did the wife of a famous antique dealer and several people I do not know. In addition, I am now working on orders for more mugs.

More photos after the jump.

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Yakuza chopstick rests

Our friends Bryan and Thy visited Tokyo last weekend, and stopped by the pottery studio to make chopstick rests. Bryan surprised the teachers and me by saying he wanted his to be in the shape of severed fingers, as an homage to Japanese yakuza. The teachers helped him create his first ever pottery, a full set of severed fingers.

Thy, like some readers of this blog, did not realize that the idea is that yakuza who have made a “mistake” chop their own finger to show remorse to their bosses. I am glad they both had fun making ceramics.

BTW, the student ceramic show begins this Saturday for five days. I’ll be there on Sunday and Wednesday.

Making Ojizō-samas

Making Ojizō-samas

I took my friend Barry to the ceramic studio, and he wanted to make ojizō-samas. You can see the three that we made, plus the one that the sensei created. Mine is on the right. Ojizō-samas, related to the Kṣitigarbha bodhisattva, is a guardian of dead children, of souls in the underworld, of travelers, and of firefighters. He is often seen wearing cloth bibs and children’s clothing. What should mine wear?

Numazu’s infamous “rabu hoterus” (love hotels)

Come in lovers, Numazu "rabu hoteru"

“Come in lovers,” Numazu’s Jump Hotel beckons. This post is a photo essay on the over-the-top “rabu hoterus” (love hotels) that surround the Numazu bizen ceramics studio. On one side of the studio is a large forested hillside, populated by birds including the lovely uguisu.

Numazu bizen pastoral

The other three sides are dozens of short-term stay hotels, with garish neon, absurd names, columns, statuary, fountains, tikki lights, plastic palm trees, free Wii, and abundant car parking. All of this looks worse in daylight.

Numazu love hotel statuary

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