●Work 10 - The sea of Onomichi
I close my eyes and remember well the sound of textile factory, the shining sea in the sunset, the tile roofs standing in a row and the voice of the youths. I will not explain about that place as everybody should know well about Onomichi, however, I’m asking for some praises for my knowledge about Onomichi To be honest, I had never been to Onomichi but only heard about it. When I was asked to participate in the Onomichi hanpu exhibition, the reason I accepted that instant was merely my desire to visit that place and not something arts or my work.
My family often called myself a prodigal daughter but I didn’t care about it. I seriously think about how I live. I remember that I bought a guidebook for Onomichi and put it my traveling bag and tried to hide from my family my excitement for the trip.
I think the travel begins at when you decide it and not since when you depart home nor when you arrive your destination. You know that excitement. Take a shinkansen, have Mt. Fuji pictured and when you arrive Onomichi, enjoy Onomichi Chinese noodle and walk along the sea, go around temples etc. You should take it easy, the journey will be long. Your mind already flies to the Inland Sea. Don’t take it wrongly. It’s not for pleasure but for my work.
However you may think I excuse myself but enjoying Onomichi style would be my working style. I think, I don’t need to go to Onomichi, if my work can be done anywhere. I simply work at where I am always with having a tea. I thought there must be some reason that I go to that place for a month. Yes, it is for finding something for my work which can only be found in Onomichi.
My studio is where we live and I don’t require a special place for my studio. I think, I should just wait for my work comes to me where I am and I shouldn’t excuse I cannot work because the lack of the place or materials. Because the dairy life is what I understand well and therefore I express well in that place. For example it wouldn’t be good if I take the theme something like searching for social evil because I don’t know well about it. I shouldn’t pretend that I know something and work on it and then nobody will be inspired by my work. You need a certain knowledge about what you work on. Is the knowledge always that important to make a thing? Do you need study hard and got into a good university to become an artist? The knowledge I mean is not a surface knowledge. For example, if you would like to obtain some surface knowledge about Onomichi, you need one or two guidebooks and read them while you take sinkansen for Onomichi and you will be have enough knowledge about Onomichi by the time you arrive there. But it’s not right. The real knowledge would be obtained by actually visiting there and meet the people, actually touching the things and having the same air. A paper shop in Onomichi shopping arcade has a cat called momo always welcome customers, a Chinese noodle shop behind the station is run by a man who is an enthusiastic fan of Carp baseball team, those information is not in the guidebooks or the information magazine. You cannot find a real knowledge in any books. In a book, it says that the Inland Sea is calm and I remember, a geography teacher taught us the same at the school. When I saw the real one by myself, I was surprised that it was much calmer than I had expected. There was no wave at all. You cannot feel this emotion I got through books. The sea of Onomichi is not only flat but the coming and going of the tide are quire hard and it made the sea looked a huge river. It is calm but at the same time it is fluid. The people in Onomichi are calm like their sea and they are generous enough to accept willingly outsiders. I couldn’t imagine there is any dispute in this town. However they are calm but very passionate and they are certainly like the sea of Onomichi. I decided to create their sea which is deadly calm but beating the life calmly and passionately. I couldn’t express my emotion in this one month on words, therefore I thought I would create a big whirl which include all the people, their life, my experience and memories there, Onomichi.
It was my first time of working in a limited time, a month and where outside of my living area. However my anxiety was gradually gone as I obtained more knowledge about Onomichi and got know people a day by day. The executive of Hanpu and students of Onomichi University helped me by turns and I enjoyed working. I didn’t feel loneliness at all even I came to this town alone. I didn’t even feel the pressure of work. Everything went so naturally and I just live there and my work progressed like a natural phenomena. The whirl was getting bigger and bigger a day by day. The whirl grew with me in this town.
There are many people of culture in this town. Fumiko Hayashi, Naoya Shiga, Oobayashi (a movie director), Ryuzaburo Unabara etc. The list will be longer. Is there more than that in the other places? I asked a question about Ibaraki, my home place, to some students live in Onomichi. “Do you know any public figures in Ibaraki?” Only one remembered about Mito-Komon.
A paper shop gave me a sketch book and I started to sketch the scenery of Onomichi. I went up a hill and drew the sanju tower and the sea at my favorite view point. When I was drawing, a man looked at my sketch and told me that please give me one. I was flattered by being said by a stranger that he would like to have my drawing. My family has never asked for it. My cat, Tamasazuro, sometimes sharpened his nails with my masterpiece. I think it’s rude. In such a circumstance, I was surprised and moved by what the man asked for and then I gave him a sketch I just did. The man held my sketch very carefully and went down the hill. I thought myself very simple-minded. I feel like I am an artist if I am praised.
I think there should be a reason why there are many people of culture in this town. I think the town is training people somehow no matter if you are born there or not. The town accepts everybody. The people there communicate with people without any fence or wall like the man who recognized my drawing and therefore the culture is ingrained. This piece also blessed by the same fortune. I couldn’t finish it without it. I was soaked in the sea and in this town and if I was tired swimming, somebody gave me a hand and then I swim again. I sometimes float in days and I stuck and couldn’t draw anything in days, all of them got together and few like a huge river and a month went through like that. “I have done a great job again”. I gave myself praise again in the return way. When I looked back, it was hotter summer than the usual.