I just spent a lovely slow, Saturday in Kichijoji. Meandering through shops, buying way too much stuff and then slowly making my way to meet my friend Martine for coffee. We headed off into Inokashira Park where we whiled away the beautiful late Spring day in slow contemplation and photo taking. There were people walking dogs, and even a women with a giant bunny.
The night before in a bar called Mikorin (where Martine had a photography exhibition in Feb this year) we had met a friend of hers who organized a meeting with an artist in the area. Her name is Kimico Yoshida and I feel so lucky to have met her.
Her family owns several cafes in the area and they all have that kind of meshed European/Japanese charm that only can be found here in Japan. Her work mirrors mine in that it is an Eastern view of the Western world. Her girls peer out from her canvases with big expressive eyes and they ache of the melancholy that I recently have been experiencing here. Her gorgeous studio sits above one of the cafes on the edge of the park, amongst a forest of truly enormous trees (think Hayao Miyazaki…. ‘Kiki’s Delivery Service’). The studio is full of old dolls, teddies, rabbits and antiques and also has a tiny little balcony with flowers just like my grandma used to grow.
We sat and spoke in broken Japanese and English together as she showed as her work. We talked about Paris, about her life and about an upcoming exhibition. I managed to get a photo with her, although she was reluctant at first saying her hair was a mess and she had plaster all over her as she was mid-doll construction at the time.
When I left to descend the precariously steep steps back down to the cafe below she thanked me and held my hand in hers and ‘warm and fuzzy’ doesn’t do justice to the aura she gave out. She is just lovely and I hope that I will still be working away like she is when I am her age.
We then fell back into the busy park, watching the Swan boats and lovers and children play while the sun set.