Je bekijkt de reis...
1 maart 2017
Today a special edition of my blog as there weren't any school assignments to take care of. Instead, I went snowboarding with some friends in a large ski-resort in Nagano, where we also went to an outdoor hot spring - which was the first time for me - and I slept on a futon for the first time as well in the hotel.
But first things first. Now there isn't any school, it's maybe a bit more relaxed pace, but I'm still going to the classroom each day until closing time, making artworks for the exposition I doing with a friend in june. A few weeks back, the two of us went around Kyoto on our bicycles searching for an appropriate gallery, as there are really an awful lot of them in this city. Bringing our portfolio's, we talked with several owners of galleries, considering the atmosphere and price of the place. Some owners were really strict, others liked the work we were making. In the end we went for a room that was connected to the university we were studying at, is used by students a lot and was both in price, size at feeling quite well.
Actually, as I discovered lately when going to an exposition of a friend, there is a lot more to the world of galleries in Kyoto. In contrary to Holland where you can be extremely straightforward, you are expected here to warm up the conversation a little, talk about a lot of different things and bring your business when you come back another time. Maybe after that, you can talk about wanting to exhibit your work, but you have to be really careful about not trying to do business to quickly, I was explained by a gallery owner. I also got some really good advice about setting up a portfolio, as I'm a bit troubled by the fact that my current work is completely different from what I was making back in Holland.
But the clearest memory of the trip with my friend around Kyoto was probably the challenge we had on the way back. People who know me bit might be informed of the fact that I don't have a particularly good sense of direction. Actually, my friend Kashima is the same. Up to the extent that in the beginning part I was the one reading the map and directing the way to go... Can you believe it? ME. One of the greatest masters in getting lost anywhere you can think of. Me, guiding a 100% Japanese guy in Kyoto. I mean, wow... That really boosted up my confidence. Yeah, I'm telling this to anyone who is willing to listen, probably to the slight annoyance of Kashima, although he seems amused by it as well.
Anyway, the challenge on the way back. As it became more convenient to take a different route on the way back, Kashima used google maps on his phone to guide us around this time. In the dark, about half way towards arrival point, his battery died.
"Well, that's okay. No worries! You still have yours, right, Sjoerd?"
"Of course, no problem! Let's see... Ah... Right, I forgot. My battery actually died already a few hours back..."
Followed by a frozen silence.
And thus, the two of us were standing in a dark, a bit more silent part of Kyoto, having no idea where to go to.
Well, we came back without to much trouble, but I wouldn't have been surprised I we, let's say, eventually ended up in Hokkaido, which is a different Japanese island way up north.
Ah, another thing besides snowboarding was the exhibition of the graduation students of Kyoto Seika, all departments, all students in one of the main musea in Kyoto, which was really cool to see. Took about five hours to see all of the works that were displayed - also because I ran into friends and acquaintances every now and then - but it was really worth it. Especially the department of Japanese painting was impressive. A traditional technique with a lot of procedures and set rules (I recently made a friend who is studying that course and she gave me a thorough explaination of how an artwork was set up there), very large and very strong in impact. Although the layering and softness reminds very much of aquarel, it's much more rich in different sorts of textures and lines I think.
A few day after the exhibition was the drinking party of the graduation students, one them holding a sake drinking contest with me, although the result of that isn't really important, as there were several vague and complicated reasons that are, of course, too triffling to bother your time with right now.
Okay, snowboarding! First time, so a bit nervous. Left on saturday evening, meeting up with everyone at Kyoto station to take a bus to Nagano, a little further up north. It was adviced by a friend to wear really warm clothes from the start, since it would become colder as the bus - that wasn't heated very well - came closer towards arrival point. And thus, I was breathing heavy because of the heat while my friends were talking about how it was kind of cold. In the end though, it really paid of. Trip wasn't that comfortable, as I find it difficult to sleep while sitting. We arrived at the hotel at about six 'o clock in the morning, rested in the lobby for a half an hour because our room would be available from 3PM and then moved on straight to the ski slope.
After renting appropraite gear and putting some stuff in lockers we went up with the ski lift and of the guys started teaching me, first with the other two helping out as well. Suprisingly scary and awkward to look downwards to a giant hill, knowing you have to go down it soon. So, particularly the first two hours, were frustrating because I could barely move yet. Slowly but surely, it started to get interesting and by the time it was one 'o clock and we had lunch, I kind of had a little confidence in being able to improve like this. However, it became difficult after that. The other guys suggested to go to the top of the mountain, where also a beginners course was, but a really long one as it would go all the way down. As I didn't had the knack for smootly standing up right and used way to much strenght for that in the beginning... Well, I enjoyed the beautiful landscape from the top for a while, trying to stand up quite a number of times, eventually gave up and took the gondola to the bottom.
After that... A, putting our stuff in the hotel and as the other guys took the three beds that were available I was insistent on trying out a futon, which was unexpectedly comfortable. As it was around 16.30 and dinner would be at six, the other guys slept for a while, while I played a computergame and read some manga. At eight we went to a hot spring, which I wanted to go to once for quite a time already. Really nice, relaxing atmosphere and I surprised by how long Japanese people take to wash themselves, as it is done thoroughly before you enter the hot spring in Japan. Also, really hot water and my Japanese friends seemed to be able to endure it a bit better. But watching the night sky while sitting in an outdoor bath really is an especially good feeling.
Arriving back in the room, we watched a Japanese comedy from the Netflix account of one of guys on the massive laptop I brought with me and went to sleep.
The next day snowboarding went a bit better. I got used to the speed more, was able to turn a bit and fell much less. Still, the other guys were much better of course and gave a lot of advice throughout the day. And thus, it was kind of a good feeling that I completely finished them of in table soccer. The other three guys against me and I still won 10-5. I know, I know, it was a snowboarding trip and the snowboarding was the most fun, followed by the hot spring, but I have to mention table soccer here as well :P
That day, in the evening, we went back and arrived in Kyoto station around five in the morning, not sleeping again, so I was a bit of zombie yesterday. Today I'm feeling much better luckily.
Okay, this is all for this time. Going to make some art and study Japanese again. Have a blast wherever you are :)
1 maart 2017 16:08 | Door: Veronie
Gelukkig heel gebleven !! weer een leuke belevenis !!
1 maart 2017 16:10 | Door: Jos
Leuk verhaal Sjoerd, je hebt in ieder geval gewonnen met tafelvoetbal. Lijkt me inderdaad een hele mooie omgeving.