A week in a day – Kirishima compressed

One Japanese day seems to equal a week in our usual calendar. During our Kirishima visit we gathered materials for three costumes, photographed three models in different locations, visited a senior center, tasted the local crops, held chickens, goats, dogs, cats and lilies, had a kimono makeover, visited the city mayor and his PR department, had a thorough tour of a local pottery, gave an interview to the Kirishima newspaper and enjoyed two cherry blossom parties with plenty of shōchū.

Mr Ōtsubo, our host and one of the Kirishima models, is a third generation green tea farmer and a very busy man (the above itinerary was orchestrated by him). As well as running the farm, shop and gallery, he oversees a biodiversity NGO, is involved in numerous local community affairs and events, including the local Street Piano public art project.

We are filled to the brim with experiences, gratitude and awe.
Japan – we’ll be back!

© Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

The kirishima area is famous for growing excellent tea. Here’s Mr. Otsubo’s bushes. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

© Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

We wanted big leaves and we got them! © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

© Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

The crowd waiting in suspense outside the Yoijanse Group home senior centre. The 12 year-old centre has 27 permanent staff, 9 permanent residents and 30 daily commuters, and their motto is ‘Live with Nature’. From the left: Mr. Minami, Mr. Otsubu, Mr. Ogawa and Ms. Matsuyama. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

© Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

Ms. Mitsue Shimotsumagari, (93 years-old) commutes to Yoijanse to weed. Having worked on a farm her whole whole life her passion is weeding and she goes at it furiously. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

hjorth_ikonen_kirishima_2_01

Mr. Minami kindly documented every minute of every second and gave us a stack of photos as a leaving present. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

© Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

What a zen face © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

© Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

© Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

© Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

It finally happened – we got to work with cherry blossoms! © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

© Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

Studio on the road © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

© Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

 Studio in the tree © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

© Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

Racing against the dusk © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

© Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

The precious flowers came from Mr. Otsubo’s very own cherry tree. Thank you! © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

On Mr. Ōtsubo's lead, Lily Madonna Satsuki beauty salon dolled us up for the cherry blossom parties © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

On Mr. Ōtsubo’s lead, Lily Madonna Satsuki beauty salon dolled us up for the cherry blossom parties © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

 

© Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

The mayor’s PR department hard at work © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

© Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

The Mayor of Kirishima, Mr. Shuji Maeda, was well charming and we managed to convince him to model for us next time © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

© Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

Cherry blossom party number one. Mr. Otsubo enjoys a good shōchū, and so do we. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

© Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

And cherry blossom party number two, which included a surprise shamisen performance © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

© Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

These faces are in need of a very good rest before they can appear in public again…© Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

 

 

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