Monday, March 12, 2012

I Heart Japan...

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I love Japan. I have ever since I was a small child. My Great Aunt Ermie traveled there, and even became friends with a Japanese woman with whom she exchanged Christmas cards each year. Ermie kept all of those Christmas cards in a scrapbook- they were printed in the most beautiful colors, in the most beautiful patterns, on exquisite and delicate papers. I was enchanted, and used to stare at the pages of that scrapbook for hours.

That scrapbook is now unfortunately lost to time, and thinking about it's loss also sets me to thinking about the tragic, devasting, earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis that occurred in Japan one year ago. Of course, I am not comparing the loss of a scrapbook to the awful loss of life and home on that occurred on March 11th, 2011. However, many cultural artifacts...such as textiles, were also destroyed forever that day.

Which makes my sister in law Satoko's collection of vintage kimono's and textiles all the more remarkable and precious. It was one of the highlights of my NYC trip to see a fraction of her collection. Each garment had been passed down from an ancestor: grandmother, grandfather, and mother.

Satoko's mother sadly passed away from breast cancer a few years ago, and these garments and textiles that her mother collected and wore are among Satoko's most prized possessions.
I think my favorite textile that Satoko showed me was an unfinished embroidery by her mother...colorful, intricate, poignant.
Textiles are more than decorative and functional objects: they contain love, history, stories and memory.
I was honored that Satko shared her precious collection with me. Thank-you dear sister!

8 comments:

. said...

OH! this is so so beautiful. thank you for posting such lovely photos and such thoughtful and touching words. i can really relate, and think about things like this often. very often.

i was just home and discovered some fashion illustrations of my grandmothers, i feel so so lucky to have these amazing treasures that make me feel close to her. and of course things of my mothers as well.
what i spend a lot of my time thinking about is how important these things become when the person they used to belong to is no longer here. their meaning and weight changes in an instant. it is what they leave behind that becomes a link to who they were for those who remain.

thank you for touching on this subject. i am fascinated by it.

(sorry for the lengthy comment, but i love talking about this kind of stuff!)

xo-L

joanna said...

this is so special. how lovely that satoko shared her memories with you, and you documented all of it with love. those pieces are absolutely beautiful.

Anna said...

wow. these are gorgeous!!! such a nice post. thank you for sharing it!

Vanessa Samp said...

beautiful.

ilana kohn said...

these are just amazing..

ashley said...

Oh man... so special. The DETAIL!!!

Heather Taylor said...

incredibly inspiring, lady! thanks for sharing this beuty

Joni sherman said...

Hi Jennifer,
Just thought you should know about this... in case you don't already.
It is at the Hiroshi Watanabe Studio in W. Hollywood.
http://lostandfound311.jp/en/

Sincerely,
(one of) your Canadian fans
Joni