Swanica explores Japan

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Years ago, when my husband, Adriaan, worked together with Japanese companies and I went there with him for the first time, I told him that whenever our boys would leave the house, I would move to Japan with him instantly. Such a beautiful serene country. We both felt very much at ease and kind of home. Hard to explain this feeling. And the people are wonderful. You can feel safe in this country. Also, I like to work with clay a lot and so Japan has a special interest for me, because it has such a rich history in ceramics.
And so the moment came when my husband started a Japanese company and had to be in Japan, the US and in Holland, our native country. Then our youngest started college and time for the preparations came.
I quit all my jobs in my ceramic organizations and went a couple of times with my husband to Japan to check things out. In Tokyo, where the company is, I went around with Toshie and a real estate agent to check out apartments. They were nice apartments, but quite expensive. Already, we had been to Kamakura a couple of times. It really attracted us. I met with some potters in Kamakura with Stuart and in Tokyo checked out some potter clubs with Etsuko: "togei" schools. I went to Mashiko and met with Lee, a potter and his wife, Jean, a woodblock printer.
End of January we found a place for rent close to the beach in Kamakura with Stuart's help. The wonderful, historical, shogun capital city with lots of shrines and beautiful nature. And you can go every where on your bicycle. Like when I was young. My parents didn't own a car until they moved to Canada at age 67 after my Dad's retirement. So, I feel completely fine and go grocery shopping on my bike or I walk where I have to go. (Although our friends have a car and they took us to Costco!!!! for grocery shopping).
Last week, we furnished our apartment with Stuart's and Juli's help. First of all they have a car and second, they speak and read the Japanese language. Very helpful!!!
We needed a washing machine, refrigirator, vacuum cleaner, drawers, dry rack and lots of other things and we filled up the minivan.
The house is newly built and surrounded by old and new houses. The house is not directly on a street; a path connects the house to the street and there is no parking for a car. No problem for us, because we have our bikes. It has 3 floors. The first floor has the bathroom and a bedroom. The 2nd floor has the livingroom and the kitchen and the 3rd floor is another bedroom with a balcony and view over the beach and ocean. So, we live on the 3rd floor! If the sky is clear, we even can see Mount Fuji.

A funny thing: it is still quite cold and so, in the morning, when you get up and the house is cold, you go to the restroom and then you go sit down on a warm toilet!!! A wonderful way to wake up. What a luxury! A lot of toilets have that feature, also in public places.
Then of course we are quite tall. My husband has to duck often and some chairs are so small and the tables low. Can you imagine when my youngest son comes to visit. He is 6'11" tall!!!
We feel very fortunate to be here and lucky to have found this place!
Now, I'm back home in the US and will go next week to a ceramic conference, NCECA, in Portland. Then I will prepare for a 3D group show for the Gallery House, a cooperative of which I'm a member. Then I will return in April and will continue the story of my Japanese experiences. Until then!


  • At 2:44 AM, Blogger ivedel said…

    Hello Swanica.
    You wrote an answer to my post on claycraft, thank you so much for your praise of my work.
    I am now exploring you site, and have come here to your blog.
    You are so lucky, I love Japan! We were there last year in april and 3 years ago too.
    I went to Tokoname and Mashiko last time, didn't get to see Lee because of the golden week, and he was busy when I was there, bad planning on my part.
    I did get to meet a very special couple in Tokoname, Richard and Mieko, they invited me to their home and I spent most of the day with them, really warm and wonderful people.
    I wish you good luck with your new home and I will keep comming back to your blog to follow your "journey" in the land of the rising sun.
    My husband has made a book about our trip, his first, it's called "The splendors of Japan makes lasting memories and you can see it at lulu.com

  • At 12:44 AM, Blogger Ad en Diny said…

    Hoi Swanica,
    Wat een verrassing zoveel over jou en jullie te lezen!!
    Erg leuk, we zijn nu helemaal op de hoogte. Wat maak je een mooie voorwerpen. We hebben er van genoten.
    Heel veel geluk en inspiratie in Japan.
    Groeten en liefs van
    Oom Ad en tante Diny.


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