Monday, November 11, 2013

Japan 2013 - Eating with Ceramic Artists

As a postscript to my posts on my wife J's 2013 ceramics tour of Japan, I thought I would discuss some of the foods that the host artists served to our tour members.

In Japan, when you visit someone in his or her home or studio, it is customary (indeed obligatory) for the visitee to provide tea and/or coffee and something to eat, generally sweets. Likewise, it is nearly obligatory for the visitor to eat what is presented, no matter how much bean paste confections may not hit the spot an hour after breakfast or lunch (or ever for untrained western palates).

Still, these offerings are generally served on little plates made by the artist, and that is nice. And occasionally the artist or his wife or assistant takes the trouble to prepare a lovely little plate, such as the one below.

Chestnut on a plate by Ichino Masahiko
On this tour we also had several full meals at the potters' homes. The most spectacular of these, at the home of Tsujimura Shiro, was described in my post of November 5,  But we also had a lovely lunch at the home of Kohyama Yasuhisa, served in bento boxes prepared by Nakamoto Wakae, his partner and a ceramic artist in her own right . . .

Bento boxes by Nakamoto-san
Inside Awae-san's bento boxes

. . . and a marvelous dinner at the home of superstar artist Kondo Takahiro and his lovely wife, Hitomi, a dealer in wearable art by many fine young jewelry designers. Hitomi puts out a wonderful spread, but the best part for me is that she lets me help made takoyaki, balls of dough with morsels of grilled octopus inside. Takoyaki is a very popular family dish in Kyoto, although they are a bit of an acquired tasste for westerners. [Note: for a YouTube video of Hitomi and me making takoyaki, where you can see how they come together, follow this link.]
Hitomi making takoyaki

Takoyaki in takoyaki maker

These intimate encounters with ceramic artists in their homes are a special joy, and one of the added benefits of a well-designed tour.

Bobby Jay

1 comment:

Amanda said...

What an amazing, memorable trip you had. I once went to Russia with "stage directors and choreographers" from New-York. So I can only imagine how terrific this tour must have been.