Apr 16

I take my job seriously.

in Uncategorized

I’m a blogeuse (that’s the female version thank you very much), and gosh darn it I’m going to do my job! I know my last post had a depressing tone to it, but thank you for letting me openly wallow in my depression about my move for a bit–very therapeutic! A couple of you expressed the desire to have me post “lots” before I move, and even “lots” post Pacific Ocean jump. You’re on! I love to think that you may actually still want to hear from me even when I no longer live in such an exotic location. A little ego-stroking is always good for the soul.

Okay, on with show! The past few days have been spent doing some things like shopping for a wedding gift for a friend who is getting married, having the movers come and assess our apartment situation to decide the best strategy for moving Chez Fuji across the Pacific to California, doing some spring cleaning, and constantly preventing Squirrel from having a successful climb up the bookcase (I guess she’s trying to practice until she gets to try out her Squirrel skills on real trees). That’s not to say that I haven’t been having any fun, because I have been having lots of fun.

When I went wedding gift hunting I went out to the Harajuku and Omotesando areas, a couple of my favorite places of Tokyo. It was a beautiful day and I enjoyed walking through these fun areas.

Yesterday I went out walking with Squirrel and a friend, Ms. A, and her little boy, who are here visiting. We walked all the way from my train station through Roppongi (an area with a very active night life, but which is very calm during the day) and then on to the Tokyo Tower (that’s not exactly a short walk).

The Tokyo Tower, according to my reading, is the tallest self-supporting structure in the world, the tallest artificial structure in Japan and the 11th tallest tower in the world. It was built in 1958 and was modeled after the Eiffel Tower. It is actually 30 feet higher than Eiffel Tower, but is 3000 tons lighter (due to advancements in steel manufacturing and construction technology). A new taller tower has been proposed, so it will be interesting to see what happens with this one.

After admiring the tower, we walked a few minutes further to the Zojoji Temple, a beautiful Buddhist temple. The current temple was reconstructed in 1974 as the original was destroyed in the World War II air raids of May 1945.

The grounds around the temple are beautiful. On one side there are many rows of windmills next to little stone statues wearing red crocheted bonnets.
They are statues of Jizobosatusu, the protector of the souls of stillborn children and the Buddhist equivalent of an angel. Mothers who have lost an unborn child may dedicate an image of the deity and decorate it with baby clothes and toys.

On the way home we stopped at Roppongi Hills (a large complex that includes shops, restaurants, a movie theater, a museum, a hotel, apartments, and a variety of other things). We stopped specifically to see a giant spider sculpture, Maman, one of a series of six giant spiders made in the 1990s, by Louise Bourgeois.

Bourgeois explained, “The Spider is an ode to my mother. She was my best friend. Like a spider, my mother was a weaver. My family was in the business of tapestry restoration, and my mother was in charge of the workshop. Like spiders, my mother was very clever. Spiders are friendly presences that eat mosquitoes. We know that mosquitoes spread diseases and are therefore unwanted. So, spiders are helpful and protective, just like my mother.” No offense Bourgeois, but that means that your mother would likely give me the creepy-crawlies as well–I hate spiders!

That gets us caught up to today. Today I went to a class to make a washi covered tea box.
I was working on a large-sized box the size of a small toy chest. The boxes are made of wood and lined with metal, designed to ship and store bilk tea, but also used by people as storage containers. Washi is a special type of Japanese paper used in many traditional arts.
The paper is carefully cut and then a special glue made of rice paste is spread on the back of the paper and the paper is then glued to the outside of the box.
Once the box has been covered in paper and has been allowed to dry it is given multiple coats of lacquer to seal the paper and also give the box a glossy sheen.
Here is my box (upside down while it is drying) waiting for its coats of lacquer!

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Meg April 16, 2008 at 9:47 am

That spider is so worldly! One of them was in a plaza in Copenhagen while I was living there. It was sad when they took it down. The plaza was so bare.

I like the print on your box.


Phoe April 16, 2008 at 11:13 am

Eeek! Giant spider! I hate spiders.

Wonderful post, by the way.


Melissa Hodgen April 16, 2008 at 12:09 pm

Sound like you are busy. Look at that traffic! You’re walks are so much more productive then mine. Shannon usually picks flowers and that’s about it. Glad to see you living your last days to the fullest.


Jean April 16, 2008 at 12:48 pm

Cool box! It’s really beautiful. The spider was my college mascot. Weird, huh?


Mimi April 16, 2008 at 8:05 pm

Yes, I can see how your area has lots of French touches, FM.

It looks lovely!


Jackie April 16, 2008 at 9:06 pm

I have box envy now! You need to teach me someday!


ParisBreakfasts April 17, 2008 at 3:51 am

Funny! That spider is very big in Paris right now and everyone is wearing spidery black tights and very short skirts trying to become a walking Louise Bourgoise!
Lovely post.


gleek April 17, 2008 at 8:41 am

shopping in japan is so much fun. there are so many things to look at much less buy! :) thanks for all the interesting facts on the tokyo tower.


Melanie Gray Augustin April 20, 2008 at 4:02 am

Great that you’re sounding a bit happier, but never worry about writing about the down times, it means that your blog is real.

Looks like you’ve had a fab day out and I just love the tea box!

Oh, and I may be in Tokyo next month for the design festa! Will let you know once I’ve worked out details, am thinking of staying in Tokyo for an extra day to do a bit of exploring while I’m there ;)


Tartelette April 21, 2008 at 1:45 pm

I don’t think my mom would appreciate it I named a giant spider after her! The boxes are gorgeous! I do collages on wood and boxes and small trunks too! I have a feeling that even when youa re back to the US you wil dig into your photo archives and post about stuff from Japan. Little thigs that may not mean a lot right now that you are “in it” but that will take significance once back.
I loved this post!


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