Monday, July 13, 2015

Time capsule event in Izumi Town, Sendai, Japan

Immersed in the Japanese culture for two weeks was a peak life experience for me! 
I stayed with the interesting and very generous family, Chizuko, Maiko and Koichi Hamada. 
The Mitsubishi Jisho people organized and sponsored a perfect event, and the people at the Meysen Academy attended to all the details making the time capsule event happen like clockwork.

People gather near the HIMEGURI sculpture/sundial. 

Meysen Academy kindergarteners, students from Tohoku International School and the rest of us eagerly await the unearthing of the time capsule. The Mitsubishi engineers first open the concrete vault and then remove the capsule covered with a fabric sac.

At last, we have a look inside!

And we find ceramics made by Tohoku International School students in teacher Sasaki’s class, and pieces made in Milton, Vermont, both made in 1998. Other artwork is two-dimensional drawings by children from twelve schools in Izumi Town, and children in Quebec, Canada; Vermont and Hawaii, USA. Some of the paper art work is damp but the colors and drawings are exciting to see.

Three mothers who found their children’s artwork and a grandmother pose with me. “I am glad to be alive on this special day” says the grandmother.

One mother whose child was in kindergarten in 1998 searches for her daughter’s art piece and later succeeds in finding it.

Mr Fujioka, president of Mitsubishi Jisho, and I meet for the first time.

Wakako Sato greets me after 16 years. She is a city representative in Sendai and is a well known personality. She was my host in 1998 and 1999. Mr Fujioka and Mr Yoshida from Mitsubishi Jisho look on.

Children from Meysen Academy and Tohoku International School place “blessings for Peace and the Wellbeing of the Earth” back into the blue ceramic vessel. The children made scrolls and drawings that will remain buried in ceramic vessel for an undetermined amount of time. Appropriate, because of the great east Japan tsunami on March 3, 2011.

Mitsubishi engineers seal the concrete vault holding the blue ceramic vessel with the “Blessings” inside.

Tsunami waves in Natori city near Sendai reached the height of this monument destroying everything in its path except for a line of tall strong pine trees along the beach. I visited the site with the Hamada family. Fishermen lost homes and boats; farmers lost homes and farms. 

The Canadians built a Pavillion building on the Nartori beach to be an anchor for an open air fish and farmers market.

Stark black calligraphy covers one wall of the building, roughly translated, “ The waters came in but cherry blossoms will bloom again in the spring”

A woman selling her fish smiles in recognition when she sees my long braided hair. Happy people jostle each other as they thread through the crowds to buy produce and fish. Life goes on.

Rubble from the destruction covers the parking lot of the market.

We travel home to Izumi Town and have a delicious cook out. Koichi makes his okonomiyki , a huge concoction of cabbage, shitake mushrooms, slices of ham and other delicacies.

Ceramic artist Jun Iwai explains the Japanese tea ceremony to me. His elegant work is exhibited internationally, most recently in Florence, Italy. Some of his glazes sparkle with crystal or with bits of gold. Using magnifying glasses, one of his techniques includes brushing subtle fine lines of glaze emanating from the center of a vessel. Exquisite work.

More Time Capsule Openings in 2015

Stanstead, Quebec: Colby Curtis Museum near the USA and Canadian international border. A reception opening of an exhibition of World Sculpture Project photographs and children’s artwork is on September 22. 
On September 23, beginning at 10 AM we will unearth the artifacts and artwork from under the ZIG ZAG sculpture. The new artwork will join the exhibition inside the museum and a reception begins at noon.

Honolulu, Hawaii, Kapiolani Community College: The ALL ONE time capsule buried near the sculpture will be opened on November 19. 

Mapua, New Zealand, Mapua School: TELLING STONES’ time capsule will be opened on December 4. The beautiful ceramic vessel is waiting in the Mapua School inside a sealed glass table.