I’m still in Kyoto. This seems to be my “typhoon season” trip to Japan – first one in Tokyo last week and now today in Okinawa. So, my trip to Okinawa is canceled and I’ll be in Kyoto or Kobe till I leave. I’m really sorry to be missing seeing Hanashiro-san and attending the arts conference. I was going to stay with her and her 5 cats and have lots of time to talk, but maybe next time.
Wednesday I did a shoot of a butch/femme couple in a beautiful park in north Osaka. It’s a beautiful narrow gorge with a small river (creek by US standards) with lots of tall trees and rocks. Its the final Women of Japan photo. I had wanted to shoot them on the last trip, but the timing didn’t work.
Then yesterday I gave a talk at the International Manga Museum in Kyoto. Mika Kobayashi and Rebecca Jennison were on the panel. Lots of thoughtful questions from the audience and comments on how it feels to see people who “look like you”. I had an interesting talk with a student of Becky’s who is doing a project on women and body image. It feels really good to be showing and talking about Women of Japan in Japan.
The Museum is in a series of beautiful old buildings that have been converted into one structure. It is also a library with many of shelves of manga on at least 2 floors and lots of people sitting and reading them.
There was a remarkable exhibition of watercolors by the Korean manga artist Sung Hwan Kim. They are images of the Korean war literally drawn as the event took place. It gives them a remarkable power and immediacy. And because they were done as the events were happening, there is an almost photographic sense of composition that really struck me. The events in the images were so powerful that it mostly overwhelmed any appreciation of the art. It took a third viewing for me to take that in.
I’ve been meeting lots of Becky’s students at Kyoto Seika University. I’m writing this in her office while she has a seminar with 3 students, all of whom are doing projects on different aspects of body image.
All my work is now finished so I’m hoping to spend the next few days resting and taking some walks here. I’m staying in North Kyoto in the mountains. It’s really beautiful with the dark green of the hills and the gardens and small rice fields in a neighborhood of old lovely homes with curved tile roofs. And I expect I’ll go and visit Kyoto city as well.