Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Sketching Adventures in Japan...part 2

June 21, 2016...

A light mist fell and it was humid enough for a t-shirt and umbrella. The only 'bad' weather since my arrival seven days ago.

As usual my trip to the Senso-Ji Temple was rewarded with subjects to sketch and another opportunity to meet new friends.

Off and on drizzle brought out umbrellas to add to the mix of body types and dress.

  The colorfully clad Kimono wearers were a treat for my eyes and pen. Many other interesting 'subjects' wandered through this area.

          A constant stream of humanity stood over a giant incense pot taking in the scent it emitted and individuals continued to add their own burning sticks to the mix.                                                          

My sketching in public always draws a crowd. A curious onlooker or two and/or those passing by just wanting a closer look.

Sometimes a conversation ensues, this is one of those times:-)....Yujing and family (below) are  tourist from China. She is the general manager of the Central Forest Tennis Academy and lucky for me, speaks English!  After our conversation she left with me the invitation ..."if you are ever in Beijing..."

Another friendship forged in pen. 

(New friend Yujing, myself and sketchbook)

(Yujing, myself and one of her companions)
(The rest of the group from China with Yujing (far right) and myself)

June 22, 2016...
I always try to get in a little sketching daily.  In this case, I did some in before the  day began with Ki as my escort and tour guide.

Sketches done around the Senjo-ji Temple area, in front of my hotel and on the subway (above) on our way to the....

(Ticket to the Tokyo Tower)

Ki and I took a seven kilometer (4 miles) subway ride to see the Tokyo Tower, the second tallest structure in Japan.

(Me with our destination, the Tokyo Tower in the background)

Eiffel Tower like construction looking up (top) and from directly beneath (below).

(View from atop the structure-not all the way up:-)

A little ways from the Tokyo Tower is the 'Spider Sculpture' (above).

Ki and I took a taxi to the Rippongi section to see an exhibition of Roman Wall Paintings from Pompei, Italy at the Mori Arts Center and Gallery (below).

That evening on our way back to my hotel Ki said, "don't get your hopes up too high but we might get to see and sketch some Sumo wrestlers tomorrow". 

June 23, 2016...

On a hunch Ki and I took the subway (during rush hour) to hopefully see real Sumo wrestlers working out as subjects for my sketchbook.

For the last few months in California I had been watching Japanese television programing in preparation for my trip. This programming helped me get a glimpse of culture, dress, customs and the environment.  It was through this medium that  I found out how popular Sumo wrestling is in Japan. The wrestlers are treated and revered in Japan like we do our rock stars/athletes in America.

I had only sketched the wrestlers from television.
I now had the possibility of  sketching them in real life but...

(Sketches done from television)

..."not admitted" we were told.

The major Sumo wrestling tournaments had taken place a few weeks ago and just a few wrestlers were working out and we were too late for their exercises.

One of the wrestlers allowed us to take a picture with him in front of the 'stable' where they work out.  (below).

Slightly disappointed we walked to the Edo-Tokyo Museum to see an exhibition of Japanese/Tokyo history.

(Ticket to the Edo-Tokyo Museum)

 What was really fun for me was the many 'hands on' exhibits on display.

(Me in Palaquin)

     This is a Palanquin (men's carrier) .
Pull the door on top down, I sit back and a man or men in front and in back carry me around using the poles (in black lacquer).                                  

A vegetable and fruit vendor would carry his wares for sale. (right)

This was used by firefighters during a blaze (below). Houses constructed of wood and built close together burned quickly during a fire. A person holding this pole would go ahead of the blaze, climb on top of a house away from the fire but in its path and wave the pole. Every house in front of the pole and was to be set a fire causing a 'fire break' to let the fire burn itself out.

All this information and more courtesy of
 our English speaking guide Toshiji Motohashi (left).


June 24, 2016...

I thought it would be nice to give Ki a break from running me all over Tokyo (or was it the other way around?) After all he lives over an hour away from my hotel by subway.

I filled the day guessed it...sketching.
Quick walk to the Senso-ji Temple area to people watch, sketch and maybe make a friend or two.

An abundance of eye kids in uniform with backpacks. Those sitting, standing and walking. The usual Kimono wearing men and women. The young, old, pairs of people, those bowing and a man on his bicycle.

I also spotted some unusual activity.  A gentleman with an owl on his shoulder and a usually reserved Kimono dressed girl twirling around.




I observed most everybody taking pictures (and selfies).

Among all the interesting characters I decided to zero in on the amateur photographer. Yes, selfie sticks are a world phenomenon:-)


The Kimono Girl...

These quick sketches in black and white do not do justice to the vibrant color and materials that caught my eye.

My sketching held the same curiosity for the wearers. They peeked over my shoulder and smiled their approval.  I asked if I could draw their picture (in china marker).  Natasha volunteered..."if it didn't take too long".

Quickly drawn and I had a new friend.


Before this sketching safari was over I was to make a few more friends...Three high school age kids were on a class assignment to interview/record random people at the temple site.

My sketching drew their attention. They quizzed me and found out "...Lion King! worked on Lion King!...". Another group of young friends made.

more to come...

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