Our travels in Japan have triggered all sorts of ideas and I can't wait to have time to follow them up but for now here are a few of my sketches of our travels -
Asakusa in Tokyo was our first stop, although it was my third time in Tokyo I hadn't been to this area before. Like so much of Japan it was a clash of old and new with the traditional temples, rickshaws and old school fairground contrasting with the extravagant shiny Asahi Beer Hall. Walking through the Sunday crowds jetlagged and hot around the collar the sight of an elderly Japanese man pushing a pushchair with a cat regally perched on top in his Lion Hat was quite the welcome back to Japan!
Our next stop was Nagoya which we used as a base for all sorts of trips out. (if you go to Japan get a rail pass, the trains are the best in the world and you can go from one end of the country to the other as many times as you like). One trip was to Satsuki and Mei's House, this is the house of Totoro and it is completely gobsmacking if you have seen the animated film. It's one of my favourites so knowing it inside out made this quite an overwhelming experience. Only in Japan would the attention to detail be so spot on. No photo's are allowed inside, I always think this is a good thing. One takes so much more in when retaining it as a real memory rather than putting it in a box. In every room you can go through the doors and cupboards and see the girls' paints, toys, sewing, knitting, clothes, bedspreads, food etc etc. The father's study has a calendar on the wall drawn by Mei which is changed every month, ah those little touches! I enjoyed this just as much as the Ghibli museum. No mention is made of Totoro or Ghibli and only a few visitors can go in in a day so you really feel as if you have snuck in whilst they are out for the day. (book well in advance!)
After travels around Nagoya and the surrounding areas we headed off to Nagasaki. We also Gunkanjima (Battleship Island) which was quite a sight but my favourite place was the Bio Park where you could wander from enclosure to enclosure and be in with the animals. Cuddling baby capybara and watching a Bat gives it's wings a clean whilst seemingly held up by a butterfly was something I shall never forget!
We then moved onto Hiroshima.. I could go on forever about our trip and all the places we visited. (pics on Instagram) but this is already going to be a very long post! Hiroshima was one of my favourite places, if you want to find a bar with the loveliest host ever look up Koba Bar! He wrote me a note in Japanese to explain all of my veggie food preferences which was so helpful as it seemed that a lot of 'vegetarian' food I was ordering kept arriving wrapped in bacon! My Japanese is still not up to scratch but it will be next time! From Hiroshima we were able to get to Okunoshima (Bunny Island), it's pretty self explanatory I think!
Even though we had visited before, we couldn't resist going back to Kyoto, this time we hired bicycles and had a glorious day flying around exploring all of it's nooks and crannies, such a joy!
If you want a blow by blow account you can visit The Fry Up Inspectors blog as he is documenting in far more detail daily!
I am continuing to work on The Land of Do and can't wait to get back into the studio to finish the last of the spreads. (one of which is pictured below)
I am also working on some layouts for some new illustrations based on The Faraway Tree, a favourite childhood book. Here is a rough study of my dearest Moonface and Silky -
So... presently I am in Italy at my fathers having the most relaxing time but getting a little twitchy about all that is coming up!
The next few months in summary -
Continuing to live in The Land of Do.... (as mentioned above)
Sunday 3rd July - Urban Art Fair, City Hall, Norwich
3rd July - 30th July - Solo Exhibition at Cherryleaf Cafe
August 21st - BUST Craftacular, London
September 3rd - Norwich Makers Market (Organiser)
September 17th - Crafts at the Castle Museum, Norwich
September 25th - Fierce Babes Market, Norwich
End of September - organising 'PostCats' exhibition. (opening for subs soon!)
(secret event - October) .......