Some good times

Some other people, 2 couples, came to stay at Kusakabe-san while I was there and we had some good times together.
It was wonderful to get to know Yasmin. She is an English teacher and painter and takes care of a lot of things around the house. Yasmin, Leni and Jessica dressed up in kimonos for a tea ceremony. They looked beautiful.Yasmin

Yasmin

Michael Leni Jessica Evan Michael, Leni, Jessica and Evan.

Kusa blowing at the fire
Kusakabe-san Sensei stirring up the fire.

Kusa and Yasmin and Swan
French toast in the morning.
all playing the flute After dinner around the fire place some playing on ceramic flutes made by Kusakabe-san.Computer geeks

Computer geek around the “Kosatsu”. Underneath this table is an electrical heater, but sometimes we had a little charcoal fire under there. Really nice and warm and wonderful for cold feet.

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A delicious lunch prepared by friends.

Firing of the kiln

The firing started at 5pm in the evening and was done the next day at 6pm. We stoked a lot of wood.IMG_2581
Here we stoke wood in the firebox from Kusakabe-san’s old house!
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Keeping track of the temperature.

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No smoke at all from the biggest chimney! Smokeless!!!!

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Finally, we add wood through the stoke holes for ash build-up and effects.
Unfortunately, I can not be there when they open the kiln, but I will post results as soon as I get some pictures.

The filling of the kiln

Kusakabe-san has 7 kilns on his site. This time we will fire part of an updraft built kiln. The work I threw yesterday is still too wet, but three plates from last year will be fired now.IMG_2561

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We put straw on and around the
plate in the back. Straw has a
high silica content which will give a glassy line on the plate.

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If you look close you will see the wads underneath the pots.
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The closing of the kiln.

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The door is pasted with paper clay and the fire starts in the ash box.

In Miharu at Kusakabe-san’s house

It is evening and I hear the frogs croak really loud like a whole orchestra!

I arrived here in Miharu, Fukushima last Tuesday to work, throw some pots, at Kusakabe-san’s place and fire a kiln.
Miharu means “Three spring”: the first 3 blossoms in spring are: plum, cherry and peach: “ume, sakura and momo”. The “ume” blossoms already finished, but the Sakura is in full bloom and the peach like here in the entrance to Kusakabe-san farm house, is starting to bloom.
1) Entrance_1

We also saw some wonderful sakura trees and the surroundings here is completely engulfed by the colors from white, light pink to dark pink. It is beautiful. 3)TempleMiharu

2) Kusakabe-san4)CHerry blossom at night

Cherry tree lighted up at night.

Kusakabe-san entering a temple.

Jasmin and Kuas under cherry tree

Jasmin and Kusakabe-san underneath a Sakura tree.
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The city Miharu: In the far back everything is pink also. Only it is not easy to see. (Click for enlargement).

And this morning at 6 am, we went to the “Takizakura”; the waterfall Sakura tree, here in Miharu. This tree is 1200 years old and poles support the heavy branches. It is a historic monument. Already so many people were up to admire the tree. This weekend lots of people will be visiting this Sakura tree. And the roads will be blocked all around town!

Spring Parade in Kamakura.

The best of the SpringĀ  parade is that people participate in every age range possible and that makes it so much fun. A particular group even consists of all different ages. It is a community parade!

1) Parade

Of course, the Samurai are first in line, Kamakura being the Ancient City of the Samurai. The 1st shogun Yoritomo Minamoto chose Kamakura as his capital city in 1192. (See further my blog of May 10, 2006 in the category of Kamakura).
2) Parade

3) Parade
Children dancing around.
4) Parade

Acrobats showing the most daring stunts.

5) Parade
At the end of the parade several small shrines are carried by people from the starting point to the end, finishing at the Hachimangu shrine. It is very heavy, but they can do it with everybody together carrying it in a regular movement of a dance.

Just in time for Sakura!

1) Hachinagu pond falling cherryblossom_1

After being in the US for a while, I finally returned to Kamakura, Japan.
Three years ago when we moved partially to Kamakura, we were just in time to see some “Sakura” and the Spring parade. It was a wonderful start to enter Japan. Now again, after making the decision that I’m going to start a studio here, I feel really blessed by all those falling Sakura leaves and joy of spring!

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We went to the Hachimangu Shrine with the big pond. Incredibly beautiful.

And then of course, we went to our favorite neighborhood Komiyoji Temple. The path toward the main temple is adorned with “Sakura”.

4) Komiyoji pond falling cherryblossom_1

All those falling leaves!!!!
3) Komiyoji pond falling cherryblossom_1

Poster of Contemporary Teapots

Guangzhen Po Zhou, who chose my red teapot for the International Contemporary Teapot Exhibition made a poster with 100 teapots selected from six exhibitions. He also chose to put my teapot on this poster:
“100 Contemporary Teapots of West”.Red teapot poster_1

Partly red teapot poster_1

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Thank you, Po Zhou.