Sunday, June 30, 2013

Charity Kokeshis チャリティーこけし

Back in March and April 2013 the Tsugaru Kokeshi Kan 津軽こけし館 held a charity kokeshi event in support of of the March 11th, 2011 disaster victims from Kuroishi City's sister city Miyako City 宮古市 in Iwate Prefecture. For the charity nine different Tsugaru kokeshi 津軽系こけし masters created small, 6-centimeter pieces with designs of apples and hamagiku ハマギク, a type of daisy that lives along the Pacific coast of Tohoku and is Miyako's city flower. Naoko bought three of them which arrived the other day. From left to right they were made by Mr. Hasegawa Kenzo 長谷川健三さん, Mrs. Honma Naoko 本間直子さん, and 島津誠一さん Mr. Shimazu Sei'ichi. Really nice, and obviously for a good cause. If you want to read about the charity event (Japanese only) visit the Tsugaru Kokeshi Kan's blog and scroll over to 11 March:

How to buy a kokeshi link こけしを買うのリンク

For the English-speaking kokeshi fans, here's a useful link that I found on the Tokyo Kokeshi Friends Association web site, including recognizing kokeshi shapes, recent kokeshi events, and how to make purchases.
It was done by the Aoba Kokeshi Association 青葉こけし会 in Sendai, and while a good amount of the text is in Japanese there's also enough English that you should be able to navigate around for some very useful information on a variety of kokeshi-related topics. I'm really impressed that the Aoba folks took the time to do the translation for non-Japanese speaking kokeshi enthusiasts. 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Desert Kokeshi 4 砂漠のこけし 4

The environment in the Arabian Desert is extremely harsh. Not only is the sun relentlessly beating down, but it's also surprisingly windy here. On some days the conditions are just right for the dust to be picked up off the ground and get suspended in the air, and then you have a dust storm. We had one here for the last two days and it was quite fascinating, though everything, including my room, became covered with a layer of very fine dust that blew through my air conditioner. Anyway, I took my Togatta kokeshi 遠刈田こけし outside during the end of the storm for some photos. I found a small sand dune (yes, there is sand here, but not as much as one would think), and you can also see the dust in the air in the second photo.
A small sand dune.
You can see the dust in the air in the background. It was actually much worse earlier in the day, with no blue sky at all.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Desert Kokeshi 3 砂漠のこけし 3

In the last blog I showed a picture of my one kokeshi in a rocky part of the desert. Today I brought it out to a smoother area with more sand. As you can see it's extremely bright in this part of the world -- sunglasses are essential here -- and it really hot! I believe it was about 41 degrees Celsius (106 F) today, and yesterday it was at least 43 (110 F), though probably higher than that. When the wind blows it's like a giant hair dryer is blasting you. This is definitely not kokeshi weather, and I'm afraid my kokeshi might get sunstroke one of these days. In fact, as you can see in the pictures below the kokeshi out here in the Arabian desert seems very out of place. Frankly, kokeshis need cool days, clouds, rain, trees, snow, and mountains just like people do.