Japan II

[Kyoto]

Kyoto is saturated in history and stunning culture, and ultimately where I found most of my inspiration. From Vibrant shrines, containing crafted rainbow paper crane prayers hung by visitors to creeping around geisha alleys waiting for the perfect moment - the detail in all of Kyoto was mind-blowing. 

We didn’t see even half of what we could, yet we managed to visit the Fushimi Inari Shrine - where I learnt that the Japanese are always painting and maintaining their shrines and temples (as I wondered, how are these hundred/thousand year old shrines not nearly as aged as I expected). We walked through he Nijō Castle to discover murals on every wall drenched in gold leafing and floral detail, as well as the incredibly detailed entrance - Yes I was absolutely losing my mind at all of the details. However, nothing will compare to seeing actual Geishas (as we had discovered what we thought were so many geishas walking around were just visitors renting kimonos). Whilst in Japan we learnt how incredibly rare and prestigious Geishas are in the Japanese culture. They live a life of secrecy and discipline, they never speak to outsiders and rarely walk the streets. We saw a geisha stepping out of her geisha house to walk straight down the alley to the tea house - everything stopped. For all of us. It was like nothing else I’ve ever experienced, she was covered in bright and beautifully coloured kimono, beads hanging from her hair with just a touch of pink colour on her eyes with her white face and red lips. I barely remember to be honest, but all I know is I didn’t want to blink…(side note, we actually went back to test our luck again in that area, and saw two geishas again. Both times I was internally losing my mind and trying not to blink at the same time.)

Kyoto is a beautiful traditional city, built on stone, faded wood and vine covered facades. I plan on infusing as much of my future work as possible, with brush work and calligraphy, using more pattern work and colouring to bring to life what I discovered in Japan…

I love you Japan, love Alex.