Onishi seems to be known for its rocks. I wish I knew more about it but the information center here does not have an English translation of the town history. Intel is slowly getting released to me though, so I might be able to edit it in later. There are piles of rocks everywhere. I also nearly get run over by large, wide trucks full of crushed rocks on a regular basis. There are several stone dealers here and I ride past lots of crazy views every day and wanted to share them with you. Thinking of you, Brett and Shannon!
One thing I extra special appreciate about Japanese people is that they understand if you add sugar to anything it transforms into something marvelous. Don’t believe me? Ok, take the avocado for example. Granted, it took a long time for me to warm up to avocados (back in the day when I was picky about eating stuff) but now I find avocados, just as they are, delicious. I think they’re better when turned into guac, but do you know what happens when you add sugar? Four-dimensional time bending, that’s what. I’m a fan of, and have made for myself, both avocado pie and avocado shakes. If you’re a lover of avocados you should give one of these magical mergers a try.
Paper factory! Paper factory! Ok, now I have a story about Yasuko Takada. I stumbled across her when I wandered into a craft store called On y va! This is a clever play on words on Yasuko’s part. In French, “on y va” means “let’s go!” and the sound of “on y” sounds like the first part of Onishi. I was looking for some craft supplies and I thought that’s what was sold at On y va. What’s actually there are handmade crafts from local crafters and in the back is a sewing workshop.
Story time. You should probably sit down. The flea market on Sundays here is super cool and I’ve been twice now. The first time was a reconnaissance mission, though I did wind up with some cute cat things and a handful of uchiwa. As I’ve settled into the area and met people who know things, my mission on the second visit became more critical.
More cool/weird stuff while I get a little downtime.
Everywhere I look in Onishi, I find art, something beautiful. On my walks home from evening art events I noticed there were some very photographic moments and last night I decided to head out just to take photos. There was hardly anyone around, just like in the early morning, though I did hear much more activity behind closed doors: a tv, an evening conversation, laughing in a small restaurant, and a drum class. Yes. Drum class. I’m not sure of the style of music but I think they are using Taiko drums. Enjoy this exotic town at night with me!
We’re traveling back to my first two days in Tokyo to talk about a restaurant called Ichiran Ramen. This is a highly-rated, small chain restaurant in the Tokyo area. Another fun fact about me is that I will eat damn near anything for breakfast. I love food and don’t feel like pizza or sushi or ramen should be discriminated against just because it’s 7am. Ryder views this particular eating habit of mine with disdain. I use a dignified and sympathetic tone to let him know how sad I feel that he has been forced by societal pressures into eating only toast, cereal, and eggs for breakfast when the whole world of food is open to him. He sent me a green vomiting emoji when I told him I had sushi for breakfast one morning. Sad!
This might surprise you, but I don’t speak Japanese. I don’t speak any language fluently, dammit, and I wish I did. Should I choose to learn a new language now, Spanish would be the language that makes the most sense. After all, we did have Spanish class in elementary school. I can at least count to 10 in several languages: Japanese, French, Spanish, German, gah… used to be able to do it in Mandarin, American Sign Language, Cat, and sometimes English.
I need to show you how beautiful this sleepy town is. I’m out of the habit now but when I first got here I was taking quiet, early morning walks. We’re talking 6:30, 7:00 start time. My sleep schedule has settled into going to bed at 9 pm or so and waking up at 4 or 5. My friends here are aghast but I actually kind of like it, even though I’m typically evil in the morning even after my first cup of tea. But I’m getting enough sleep and my day fits well enough around the other people here so I’m going to stick with it.
Why are you there again, Sue Anne? Well, I’m at an artist’s residency to make art and fulfill my sabbatical proposal. I’ve been busy blogging (obviously), getting around town, meeting people, struggling through a language I don’t understand, screwing up my digestive system (albeit with incredibly tasty things… except squid), and of course, making art. My plan was to make some privacy related ceramic sculptures and do some ink drawings on them. Inside of these sculptures I was going to put a raspberry pi (it’s a credit card sized, fully operational computer) connected to a camera and monitor so that essentially the sculpture would spy on the viewer as they looked at it. Welp. That raspberry pi can kiss my ankles. I struggled for days trying to get it to work and built up some very inappropriate rage. Decided that I would make work that had the same impact without technology.
Everywhere I look in the charming town of Onishi I see monumental rocks for sale. Many of the houses here have lovely “stonescapes” intermingled with trees and shrubs, neatly trimmed. This place is known for a beautiful green rock and I often see it paired with another unusual red stone at these stone markets. But this post is not about stones.
As an apology for making you wait for my sushi post, I’m going to throw another image heavy post at ya. Where I stayed in Shibuya, I was very close to a bunch of love hotels. I took a different route to my breakfast spot and walked past several. I took a picture of their “menus.” Love hotels are not what you think. (Well, maybe they’re what you think… a little…) But I think their legitimate purpose is to give lovers (married or not) a private place to be intimate with each other. Walls are thin here, you know, like… paper… and if you live with a bunch of family you don’t have much privacy when you want to express your love to your partner. Prices are set up for a “rest” which is a couple of hours, or a “stay” which is overnight. Enjoy!