I joined Shu and his high school friends Yuki and Ami for lunch at a chic Roppongi museum. They also attended his art show Haru a few weeks ago. It’s cool that Shu’s connected with his past; I realize I am only in touch with one high school friend, and two college friends. Maybe that’s why Shu feels more connected with his home city.
Our friends Jennifer and John are visiting us from San Francisco. They arrived just in time for Shu and his parents’ gallery show’s final day, and selected some ceramics and paintings, including the cool cats from the invitation. Here they are on the Nakano platform of the JR Chuo line. We’ve shared the final days of sakura season, curry rice, tofu, ramen and tempura meals, the coffee shop run by the sisters for 37 years in Broadway Nakano, and long walks through Meijijingo Park, Harajuko, Omootesando and Shibuya. It’s their first visit to Japan!
Friday was the opening day for Shu and his parents’ small gallery show. Claire came with her kids Morrison and Elie, as did our unconventional monk friend Hiromi. Others included his parents’ ceramics students, my mother-in-law’s tea ceremony teacher, a new customer, and good friend Mayuko with her husband Kota and adorable 3 month old Yujin (named after rock and roll pioneer Eugene Vincent). I was surprised and thrilled to see my good friend Takahiro, whom I met years ago in Beijing. He’s now launching his own contemporary Asian art organization Far East Contemporaries. Shu and his parents’ show lasts for ten days, so please come by if you are in Tokyo!
Today I helped Shu and his parents set up their Haru exhibit which opens tomorrow, combining Shu’s illustrations with his parents ceramics. The two sisters who run the gallery offered us tea after we finished unpacking and displaying all the art.
Here’s the image from the invitation:
Shu and his parents are preparing the show for Friday’s opening. We picked up Shu’s drawings from the frame shop, and his parents are finishing their last ceramics in the kiln. I helped with creating a table in Word– much harder when all the software menu is in Japanese.
Shu and I arrived in Tokyo on Easter Sunday after a cramped flight. I slept 15 hours after Makoto gave us the keys to our tiny flat in Nakano. This blog will chronicle our two month stay this spring in the neighborhood near Shinjuku and Narita Higashi, where Shu’s parents live and operate a ceramics studio.
Our trip was timed to allow Shu time to set up a small gallery show with his parents this Friday. It combines his drawings with his parents’ ceramic work in a broad theme of “Haru” or spring. Unfortunately, our trip required me to miss my favorite Xtian holiday including bunnies, pastels, chocolates, and Dolores Park’s annual Hunky Jesus contest.
In addition to the art show, Shu will be working on his next two novels– one set in his childhood neighborhood that includes Nakano, the other at Penn State where he used to teach Comparative Literature. My plans are to continue my human technology consulting, improve my Japanese language abilities, and learn more about shared urban spaces in Tokyo.
The first night I heard crows outside our flat. So familiar from our bedroom in San Francisco.