This is it!

In 30 minutes I’m off to the airport. It is raining and gray outside as if the sky is crying for me. I’m ready to go home, see my family, my dog and my beautiful house. I miss them ALL. I have not teared yet which is very surprising to me. Kea and Thumas left at 5 in the morning, I heard their footsteps on the second floor. The Murata family left at 9 to visit the mother in the nursing home. We hugged and kissed, said goodbye as if we will see each other soon, in the afternoon. Not a big drama, no tears, I guess this is life. I hope it will not take us another 20 years to see each other again.

I concluded a wonderful amazing time in Japan with a taste for more. It will probably take me days, months and maybe years to reflect on my experiences in Japan and see the projection on my life and career.

Writing this blog was the idea of my good friend Elena. Thank you so much for encourage me to do it. It provided me a great deal of enjoyment and a place to express my feelings. I want also to thank all of you who read and wrote comments. I love you all and can’t wait to see you in person, some of you back home in Texas, YEE HA, and share more of this great time I had in Japan.

A few images from my farewell Israeli-Texas dinner at my studio.

We talked about art and life until late at night…

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Open Studio

Almost ready to come home…two more days.

Twenty years ago as an architecture student I worked for “Kozo System”, a company who developed software for engineers and architects.  I worked for Kozo System for three months during the summer in between my forth and fifth year of architecture school.  I learned their architecture software, Dra-Cad.  I wanted to meet with the company president again.  I remembered him as a nice, intelligent person who could speak good English.  I also remember giving him a book about Israel, which he was very impressed of.  I tried to call the company and no one really understood what I’m saying.  I asked Hiroko-San to call for me.  I was lucky to reach Takino-san, still the president of Kozo System. We set a time to meet.  I met with Takino-san the next day.  I came to his office, It was a different building from what I remembered, slight newer and bigger, but very close to the old building.

I spent an hour with Takino-san.  It was such a lovely conversation.  I enjoyed learning about the company he founded twenty eight years ago and his life.   He was asking questions about my life and sculptures.

Yesterday was my open studio, I had so many friends visiting my studio. Atsushi-san and his two assistance, my Japanese students with their kids, a young lady I met at the gym and many others.  For me, my open studio was a nice ending for my stay in Japan.

Ending the evening in a beautiful Karaoke club!!!  until late…

Today, Israeli-Texas dinner…

 

 

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My last week

I can feel the end of my trip…I still have 6 more days but my energy level is a little relaxed, I completed my two big projects and I’m back to my long hours sleeping habit.  I started to reflect on my last three weeks and my experiences in Tokyo.  I feel tremendous blessed and lucky and fortunate to be able to do all that I did.  What an amazing experience!  I know this is going to change my life and my artistic career forever.

A little more explanation about my last project with the electrical poles and the writing on my studio walls and the park.

By the way, It was quite a surprise for the neighbors when they took their dog for walk on Saturday morning…some thought it was cute and some asked if it is going to be permeant….,  Unfortunately, It lasted only for the weekend.  I would probably leave the installation for a longer period but was concerned about the Murata family getting into trouble.

My main concept for this installation was relationship.  Relationship between a man and a woman, woman to woman, friends and families, and all from the female point of view and mostly from my point of view. Something that we all deal with on an every day life and definitely was a good fit for my personal life today.  I had various ideas for a project but Relationship came back more often and I decided not to fight it.  I felt very strong that a true art should come from within.  And, wanted to make a strong STATEMENT!

I wanted to create an urban art related to my art and architecture side and to connected two important focal points, my studio and the park.

How?

All the questions words on my studio walls:  why, what, where, when, whom etc.  are questions we often use to create a positive conversation with another person and also when we are having conflicts.  These questions can bind people together but also separate them from each other.  They have dual meaning.  I think, women usually ask more questions than man…  The only question which does not start with W, is HOW.  I feel that the question HOW has more strength than the others and that is why I chose to install it in the park.  Since I could not make a real installation in the park(park authority didn’t allow it).  I asked Hiroko-san and Keiko-san to hold my question HOW. I actually like it better this way.  It is a live installation… and a real relationship between two people.

The electrical pole installation was to represent the female strength on a muscular element, some may think of it as a phallic symbol- Maybe? All my dress up poles are connected by “energy” as if they are holding hands together and united for a mission… At first, I wanted to pick a transparent fabric and so glad I didn’t.  The fabric colors were very strong in my studio but blent very well with the outside surrounding.

Yesterday, I spent another beautiful day with the Murata family. I knew Tatshiko-san mother from 20 years ago and wanted to see her again. She is 93 years old and in a nursing home facility.  Her memory is gone.  It was very sad to see her although she is not suffering at all and in good health. Japan is the only country that elderly people live the longest.  The health care facility was full with other elderly people like her.  I was happy to see how Hiroko-san took care of her mother in law.  She changed her cloth, warmed her fit and even put some colon on her face.  Is this how we all end up? I questioned my self with tears.

Later, we went to Mori museum of art to see an exhibition of a young Japanese artist.

This is the view from the Mori tower roof.  Spectacular view of the city of Tokyo and on the right, Tokyo tower (red).  I just LOVE the Murata family they are such a loving couple, they are like my parents.

Beautiful buildings in Harajuku street.  Many brand name stores like Prada, Luis Viton etc. and each has an amazing building.

Oh, I forgot to mention that I ate a real good piece of bread this morning after three weeks without.  It tasted so great!  I ate this piece like a person who came home from a prison.  Yesterday, I bought a small piece of bread from a nice bakery.  We, western (including me) can finish this piece in one bite while the Japanese eat the same piece in a few days.  It was a whole wheat bread with nuts and figs.  YUMMY!!!

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I start to feel the end of my stay in Japan.  Sorry but happy for this wonderful opportunity. Friday evening I visited Yokohama with the Murata family.  We saw Yokohama’s bay at night, beautiful view! Later we went to an alternative art space for a dance performance.  The dance combined modern dance with old Japanese dance including traditional. Yokohama bay at night.  Yokohama has a port for cargo and tourists. Yokohama also has a beautiful Chinatown. Modern and traditional dance performance.

Interesting door in the alternative space.

We took the train from Yokohama back to tokyo and I have noticed that there are cabins only for women.  I like that! I guess Japanese men misbehave during rush hours time.

Saturday morning, Hiroko-san and I walked up at 6:00AM to install my artwork outside.  I coved 14 electrical poles with a dress type work and one tree at the park. Took down all my dresses from the studio and put them in my blue suitcase.

This man actually liked my artwork.

I picked fabric to be related to my subject of relationship.

My installation in the park.

Installation outside of my studio.  I connected my studio and the park by installing art around electrical poles.

Visited Meiji-Jingu shrine in Harajuku area.

Rock N Roll dancers next to Yoyogi park.

I am planing to make my last week in Japan easy and enjoyable.  I completed the two projects I intended to do and very happy with the results.  I am planing to visit museums and more sightseeing in Tokyo.

Tomorrow, Take down my electrical pole installation and this Friday is my open studio…

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Reunion

Have not posted for three days, become very busy with my final project in Japan.  Actually, I wrote yesterday or just started and my computer stopped for a second and my writing was erased.  And, instead of feeing sorry, I said, It is probably meant to be.  So I’m writing today with less of a stress, since I completed a big part of my project.

In the last few days I met many old friends.  I love meeting new and old people, sometimes more than I love art.  I find uniqueness in every person, even the BORING ones and enjoy learning about their life and experiences. I see people as colors and every person is brushed with a different combination of colors like an art piece.  Being around people truly does it for me.  I feel more alive and energetic.  Although, I think, a person should learn and enjoy to be alone.  My quiet moments, I’m experiencing in Japan are actually good for me and I’m not suffering being alone at all.

Remember Atsushi-san from Vermont? the one I cut his hair next to the river?  Well, he came last Tuesday and took me to visit his studio.I just like Atsushi, he is an extremely amusing person and I find him an attractive man.  Overall, I do not see Japanese man as attractive ones but Atsushi is very different.  And, no, nothing happened between us, just had a great time sharing memories of our time together in Vermont, friends we know and he was showing his sculptures and portfolio. Atsushi is married to an artist and has two kids, boy (16) and a girl (13), please do not ask me to say their names because I just can’t.  The day we met was his birthday, he become 48.  It is the day my father celebrated his 84 bithday, what a coincident? I brought Atsushi a small gift from Texas.  A horseshoe saying something about a smile and being happy. What a perfect gift for him.  He hung it in his studio.  I loved Atsushi’s small sculptures and wanted to purchase one.  At the end we exchanged my drawings with his sculpture.  A great memory from Atsushi.

This is Atsushi’s studio and one of his sculptures in a process.  Very small space for such a large sculpture.

Later, at the same day, I met Robert for a dinner.  Robert is a musician who plays the violin.  I know Robert from Fort Worth while he played at the Fort Worth Chamber of Music.  Robert visits Japan once a year to teach at a local college.  I don’t have a photo with Robert but I have a photo of the tasty ice cream I ate.

Mmmm, It was delicious.

I’m concerned about my computer to crash again so I will post this and continue immediately.

To be Continued…

On Wednesday, I met for lunch two of my former students.  Ten years ago I taught at the interior design department at TCU and this is were I met Zoe and Miharu, two very talented and smart Japanese students.  After teaching a few classes I have notice that Zoe is doing extremely well in my architectural drafting class.  I was thinking to my self, oh, she could be an excellent architect, why does she want to be an interior designer.  I was not sure what to do and if I should tell her my thoughts.  I decided to talk to her anyhow.  I asked her to come to my office after class and shared with Zoe my thoughts about switching to an architecture school. I saw tears in Zoe’s eyes, I was worried I said something I shouldn’t.  Zoe could not stopped crying, I hugged her and asked for the reason of her cry.  She said: “I always wanted to be an architect but was concerned about my math skills.”  After a short conversation I convinced her that math skills for architects is fairly simple, as I’m not that good in it myself.  I felt uplifted after my conversation with Zoe, that I could possibly change somebody’s life and future.   Miharu, the other Japanese student asked me if she should switch to architecture school as well.  I replied “you should stay in Interior design since you have an excellent skills in detailing.  I heard from both Zoe and Miharu over the years and new that one day we will meet again in Japan.  Zoe contacted me more often, she moved to Chicago to study architecture and saw me as her life mentor.  What a wonderful feeing I had and still having today.  Zoe loved architecture school and after graduating moved back to Japan.  Both Zoe and Miharu are back in Japan.  They are married, Miharu has two kids, boy (6) and a girl (6 month), Zoe has a boy (2) and pregnant with her second.   Zoe with her son Kuya.  

Miharu with her daughter.

Miharu and Zoe Look so beautiful, they lost so much weight coming back to Japan.  I guess the food and walking make the difference.   I remembered Zoe as a tom-boy type and probably after become a mother she transfered to a “girly” type.  We went to lunch and spent hours talking about life, family, art etc.  I enjoyed being with them greatly.

Kuya is so sweet and energetic. He was on the go…

Than, we went for a coffee…in a beautiful restaurant where you sit on pillows like in your livingroom.

Wednesday evening, I went to have dinner with the Murata family and their son and his wife.  Teru-san Lives in Atlanta and works for Delta airlines.  I remember Teru-san as a 17 years old, high school student.  He was very shy and we could not communicate since his English was very poor.  Today, he is 37 and speaks wonderful English.  He studied in the US for his MBA.

Teru and his wife.

Back to my project…

I’m planing to wrap each electrical pole from my studio to the park with one of this dresses.  This is only one part of three in my big project.  I spent three hours in a fabric store to pick the right fabric that has some kind of symbolism to relationship.  Such as: letters, presents, traveling etc.  Very kietch’ and very different from what I normally do, but, who cares?

Utako-san said she is the size of an electrical pole so I can try one of my dresses on her… So, Saturday morning at 6AM I’m planing to install my dresses and hope not to get arrested…

 

 

 

 

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Already two weeks

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I’m already 14 days in Japan and have two more weeks to the end.  I started to work on my big project which the theme will be relationship.  I wanted to tie the kids project to mine.  I will concentrate on the female side in a relationship.  The last two days were fairly quiet, I spent time in my studio and a short trip to the old part of Tokyo, Asakusa.  It is snow again and I feel I’m catching a cold, oh I hope not.

Another beautiful image from my bedroom through the rice paper doors.

I think this building is a restaurant, at least it was 20 years ago.

Entrance to the old city of Tokyo, Asakusa, very impressive! I visited this place 20 years ago when I was an architecture student.  This was the place I met 50 students from all over the world through “Aiesta(sp?)” organization.  From all the students I enjoyed traveling and spent most of my free time with two Dutch guys.  I found their sense of humor and personality very similar to the Israelis.

Five story pagoda.

Writing a wish in the old temple.

Spent a very short time in Ginza, the most exclusive area for beautiful stores and department stores.  All brand names you can think of.

store front in Ginza.

My studio become messy and It was a good and productive day.

Leftover from the kids project on my studio wall.

More experimental drawings.

 

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Actually, Eat, Sleep, Art & Pray

Just received sad news last night.  My good friend is probably having Pancreatic Cancer.  I had lunch with her in Dallas just before I traveled to Japan.  We had such a great time together, talked about life, family, being a woman in today’s society, etc.  We both are cancer survivors, she had breast cancer 20 years ago and I had lymphoma 10 years ago.  We bonded the minute we met.  She asked me to design a Mezuzah for her front door.  Hearing these sad news was like someone stab me in my stomach.  I could not sleep and was thinking of her with a huge worry.  It brought me back 10 years ago to the time I was sick.  How life is so fragile and How you never know what will happen next.  We always forget that until we get a reminder.  I was worried, oh, this can happen to me again.  I spoke with her this morning and felt that everything is still very vague.  Please pray for her and family.  I love her! She asked me to write a wish and post it on my studio wall along with my other wishes.  I will do it, I promise!

Forgot to mention, not only I’m eating every second, I also SLEEP a lot. I feel like a grizzly bear in Alaska.  It is extremely cold outside and in my studio, so I spend most of my time in my apartment, reading, watching CNN and of course sleeping.  I love to sleep, the more the merrier.  When I sleep I dream and try to solve unresolved problems.

This is my toilet.  I truly believe you need to be a pilot to operate it.  The sit is warm and comfortable.  On the left there are many buttons to change the temperature, to clean your B… with warm water that spray in different positions… so great! I had to try it all.  It is kind of toilet and bidet together.  And, on top of the flushing part there is even a faucet, so smart and a good way to save water.

More kids project images…

I love what left on my studio walls from throwing clay.

The next day in my studio.

My Drawings.

Yesterday, I spent my whole day with the Murata family.  We took the bus and train to Mito, an industrial city with a beautiful art museum that was design by the architect, Harata Isozaki (sp?).  When I was in Japan 20 years ago as an architecture student, I visited Isozaki’s architecture studio.  The sofware company I worked for did a lot of his computer drawings.   At Mito museum, there was an opening for a great 12 women exhibition.  I forgot to take photos of the show, was concentrated on the FOOD!

Two artists, Hiroko-san and I in the museum reception.

Mito Tower building

Manhole in the street of Mito, art by itself!

Decorating electrical poles for the spring.

Dinner at Thai restaurant at the end of the evening.

Beautiful and mysterious images from my bedroom through the rice paper doors looking at my garden.

Now, I need to start my project.  I have less than I week to complete it and install in the street and the local park.  A big challenge in front of me but I can do it! My open studio is February 25.

Please continue to write comments, I love reading them ALL.

 

 

 

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