Art Round-Up

Ishikawa has some fantastic art exhibitions ending local: local artists at the Ishikawa Nanao Museum, Alphonse Mucha exhibit at the Shiinoki Cultural Complex, and Ch’ing Dynasty glass at the Notojima Glass Art Museum. Catch these three exhibitions before they end on June 26!

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Ishikawa Art Journal: Call for Submissions!

This guest post is from Creighton Hofeditz, ALT:

Hi everyone,

Over my two years in Ishikawa, I have continually been impressed at the secret reserves of creativity and artistry present in the JET and larger expat community.  Whether from a professional or an amateur background, the level of art I’ve seen from different sources is pretty astounding, and it’s been cool to see the degree to which that artistry has reflected the experience of living in Japan.

Inspired by the tsunami fundraising ideas of a couple other people in the local and national community, I would like to announce that I’m opening submissions for an Ishikawa Art Journal (working title).  The idea is to produce a collection of poems, drawings, essays, paintings, photos, fiction, and whatever else you can come up with that best represents your reaction to and relationship with Japan.  It can be about the Tohoku disaster, but it doesn’t have to be.  The collection will then be put up for sale to ourselves and to any interested friends and family at a reasonable price but one that allows us to donate all proceeds to the relief efforts.

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Children’s Art Festival

This information comes to us from Sophie, a CIR in Kanazawa.

Ms. Nozomi Kondo, a  member of the Hokuriku-Belgium Friendship Association, is presently working on an art competition for children between 8 and 13. She is calling for entries for art works (in various media) and digital works (CG). Should you know children in the age block, could you promote the project and ask them to take part?

More information is available on her website: (Japanese) (English)

Yunokuni no Mori Traditional Handicrafts Village

If you like the traditional arts and crafts of Ishikawa and feel the need to create and be creative, makes plans to head to Kaga’s Yunokuni no Mori (ゆのくにの森). Yunokuni no Mori is a Kaga Traditional Cultural Amenity and offers guests the chance to watch craft-making, make their own crafts, and make or eat fantastic food. (Yes, handmade food is an artistic creation!)

Photo by Leah Zoller.

The “village” is a cluster of workshops that focus on the traditional crafts of Ishikawa: kutani ceramic pottery(kutani-yaki, 九谷焼); Wajima lacquerware (wajima nuri, 輪島塗); Japanese paper-making (washi, 和紙); Kaga yuzen printed silk (yuzen, 友禅); gold leaf(kinpaku, 金箔); Yamanaka lacquerware (yamanaka nuri, 山中塗); music boxes (orugouru, オルゴール); glasswork (gurasu kougei, グラス工芸); Echizen pottery (echizen te bineri, 越前手びねり) and the culinary arts: Japanese and Western sweets (okashi, お菓子) and soba-noodle making (soba, そば). There are three restaurants with delicious local food, a teahouse, an omiyage shop, and some art galleries as well.  You pay a flat fee to enter, and then you pay a fee for whatever activities you choose.

The village is gorgeous—set in a wooden area not too far from Natadera by car, the thatched roves and stone paths of the village are gorgeous in the snow. The village boasts beautiful wildflowers and blooms in the warmer months, and maple leaves in the fall.

Photo from Yunokuni no Mori's website.

If you speak good Japanese, around JLPT N2 level, you shouldn’t have a problem making the crafts. A lot of the signs are bilingual, but the staff isn’t really, though they are friendly and willing to help. I recommend going with a Japanese-speaker if you don’t speak a lot.

When I visited, I decorated a tea tray with gold leaf at a workshop. If you have a small group (under 10 people), you don’t need a reservation, so I was able to just walk into the gold leaf house and didn’t have to wait to get started. The gold-leaf decorating, like the pottery painting/sculpture and paper-making, is priced based on the piece. A tea tray is about 1500 yen to decorate, but a vase is 2000 yen. You can view the prices on the website: click on the building on the map, then scroll down and click the activity (Japanese only).

Photo by Leah Zoller


This was a lovely way to spend the afternoon, and I can’t recommend Hakusan, the soba restaurant, enough. I ordered a vegetable-based meal of soba and a stone pot of rice and veggies, and it was worth every yen.

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Art Exhibition at Hokugin Art Gallery

This guest post is by Sophie, a CIR in Kanazawa.

Besides the Tantamount exposition in Kapo, which runs till December 24th,
there is another Belgian exposition I would like to introduce.

Sanne Van Wanzeele, graphic design exchange student at Bidai, is doing a final exposition at the Hokugin Art Gallery.

December 13- 22, 2010;  every weekday 9:00-15:00. (Closed on weekends).


Hokugin Art Gallery, 1-115-4 Tonyamachi, Kanazawa

From Kanazawa Station (金沢駅), take the Hokuriku Railroad Asanogawa Line (北陸鉄道浅野川線) bound for Uchinada (内灘行). Get off at Mitsukuchi Station (三口駅); 15-min. walk. 170 yen one-way.


Himito “Peel Art” Cafe

Photo: Himito Cafe Website

One of our 3rd year JETs pointed out this interesting “Peel Art” Cafe, located in Kanazawa along on the Saigawa River.

Shunkou Saida, the owner of Himito Cafe, grew up in Ishikawa and felt inspired and connected to the simple peels of fruit.  She created an art form that she decided to call “Peel Art”.

The PEEL ART is a creative work using the peels of fruits
and vegetables as the main materials.
Although a peel is “the skin of a fruit,” I see it in a broad sense as
the support and protection of the fruit’s life.
By thinking in this way has widened my choices of materials I can work with.

Not only the peels of mandarin oranges, apples, bananas,
but also skins of onions, eggshells, calyxes of roses and stems
of grapes have joined in my PEEL ART as good companion.

Looking steadily at the plain beauty of the fruit, I try to draw out all its charms, the life itself of the fruit, in my work,
therefore the PEEL ART can be called “The art of looking at life.”

The PEEL ART is my proposal for women to enjoy a different life after
completing their first role as a mother by polishing
their sensibility up with the five senses and enriching
the sensuous mind just like fruits and vegetables can transform
themselves to be a beautiful work of the PEEL ART after finishing their first role as a food.

I have real pleasures helping out with their “beautiful rebirth”
through my PEEL ART.

This is a special cafe where they serve only herbal tea.  You can also have a trial and learn how to carve orange peels yourself and make some original creations — a useful party trick (and also a seriously unique opportunity).  The cost is 1,500 yen (including the tea).  Just make sure the sensei is in, otherwise you’ll just have her husband there running the show.

Go try it for yourself!  Just before leaving downtown Kanazawa, turn left on the street just before the Blue Bridge.  Walk about 4 blocks along the road. (See it on Google Maps).  The shop is located next to the 犀星文学碑 Bus Stop.

Himito Cafe 〒920-0975 金沢市中川除町51 (Kanazawa City, Nakagawa Yokemachi 51)

TEL/FAX 076-224-3730

Japanese Stamps

Photo: Japan Post

I can’t be the only one in love with Japanese stamps.  See more new release stamps at the Japan Post website.  It’s only in Japanese, but looking at the pretties doesn’t require any Japanese.  Should you find a stamp you’d like to order (within Japan only, I think), you can click on the stamp and make a purchase (shipping is 440 yen) — or head over to your post office and tell them what you want!

New stamps seem to come out around once a week, so keep checking back!

Stamp Rates from Japan (as of March, 2010):

Domestic Postcards: 50 yen

Domestic Letters (up to 25g): 80 yen

International Postcards: 70 yen

International Letters (up to 25g): 90 yen – 130yen (depending on destination)

Art in Ishikawa: Murano Togo and Yamamoto Motoi

Kanazawa ArtGummi, a local art-based NPO with the mission of bringing together Hokuriku-area people and artists, has finally opened their own gallery!  Located in the Musashigatsuji Branch of Hokokku Ginkoh, the opening exhibition is called “”MURANO Togo X YAMAMOTO Motoi.”