Season’s Greetings

Wishing your dreams come true with the coming new year!

A year has passed. How did you end 2021 and what is in your mind for 2022.

For me?……2020 was OK as I was still adjusting myself to the life with Covid-19. I completed a home renovation and created a confortable home office environment. I discovered so adoptable ‘me’ and was proud of myself how I could survive the pandemic.

Last year wasn’t so easy going. I had a mixture of both positive and negative feelings. Hope, disappointment, frustration, lack of stimulus, and feeling stack. I tried out some new things by maximizing a use digital tools and online learning, as I did in 2020. That was good. But lack of human interaction and little opportunities to travel even in the country made me feel suffocated. Particularly, NO travel to abroad.

Despite under the seemingly endless pandemic, where the emergence of next generation coronavirus seems unstoppable, I am still hopeful for this year. It is so pleasure to read messages from my friends suggesting me to meet up in somewhere in the global this year. I send an applause to my friends in Singapore who traveled to South Africa and got restricted to travel back to Singapore for already a couple of weeks. How wonderful to see that they have been enjoying a mountain hike, walking on the beach, gathering around a big table with friends by the ocean. Their posts in facebook teach me that life is about having fun and enjoying.

I started my January 1st with a visit to Peace park in Hiroshima and had a long walk with my brothers who I didn’t see last 2 years. I also had a visit to Golden pavillion (Kinkaku-ji) in the beautiful fine winter day in Kyoto, on my way back to Tokyo. We have been fortunate with beautiful weather throughout the first week of January.

I am fully recharged and filled with happiness. All I can think of now is “What shall I play now?”, just like an innocent child.

May your new year be blessed with love and new adventure.


Art fair Tokyo 2021

Art fair Tokyo was held from March 18th to 21st this year. Last year, the fair was obliged to cancel due to the Covid-19, so that when the announcement of this year’s fair came out, it got an unexpected excitement. I have a huge appreciation to the organizer and participated galleries for their strong will to sustain the art fair in Tokyo even under such condition.

The site was full of cheerful people with smiling face and surrounded by a optimistic mood. Though we didn’t have exhibitors from abroad, the exhibition seemed to have the same magnitude as one before.

With an excuse of Covid-19, I hadn’t had virtually much access to art nowadays. Just walking through and hunting for my favorite kind of art works, I was filled with joy.

It is interesting to notice myself is that I was more attracted by 3D works. I guess that this reflects the current segregated living condition under the pandemic. I may be wanting to connect and be around by humanity.

The one I particularly fall in love with is the work of Hirosuke YABE. It is a kind of chainsaw art. Hirosuke creates wooden sculpture using a nata, a Japanese hatchet. His art pieces use a motif of animals, people and monsters like. They look funny, cute, sweet or sad. One finds a immediate connection with a character as if to connect with a pet.

Kunihiko NOHARA is another artist who I was fascinated with. He describes the emotions and the sceneries by using a metaphor of clouds and smokes.

Those emotions, such as a sense of freedom, a pleasure of time or desire definitely existed in a moment of time, but disappeared or got forgotten from memories. Kunihiko Nohara sees the importance of preserving such emotions as these are critical parts for being oneself.

The work of both Hirosuke Yabe and Kunihiko Nohara were actually exhibited in Art fair Tokyo 2019 but I didn’t notice it. I have been visiting Art fair Tokyo almost every year and I was always particular about my choices. It was interesting discovery about myself how the connection with art has been changed even in two years and how big the impact of the pandemic is.

渥美幸裕 Yukihiro Atsumi “Japanese Guitar” LIVE Broadcast

On going Covid-19 situation and the earthquake from last night that we felt in Tokyo and made us remided the horror from Tohoku earthquake occured in 2011.

Music helps us in such a difficult time. I was on the live show performed by Yukihiro, my favorite Japanese guitarist, earlier today. He is based in Kyoto and the live was broadcasted from the place near Kamogawa river in Kyoto. I wrote about him in my past blog, if you are interested in knowing about him more.

I am sorry that I am up this rather late, but you can still enjoy the live feeling in Youtube together with some scenery by the river.

Visiting “Rikushu-no-matsu (陸舟の松)”

I visited Kinkaku-ji in Kyoto last weekend. Kankaku-ji (The golden pavilion) is one of the most iconic site in Kyoto. Autumn is one of the best season to visit there.  Autumn colour of maple leaves enhance its beauty. The pond surrounding Kinkaku-ji is called Kyokochi pond (鏡湖池, mirror pond) that reflects Kinkaku-ji on its surface.

Kinkakuji with Momiji

There are many articles about Kinkaku-ji available online, so that I don’t write about it here, but would like to touch on “Rikushu-no-matsu (陸舟の松)”.


“Rikushu-no-matsu” is located in the garden of Shoin (Study Hall) at the east side of the Kyokochi pond.


The Japanese white pine tree of “Rikushu-no-matsu” was originally from a Bonsai grown and cared by Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (足利 義満, Sept 25, 1358 – May 31, 1408), the 3rd shōgun of the Ashikaga shogunate. Yoshimitsu firstly planted the Bonsai tree in the ground, then trained it like a boat shape. As Yoshimitsu  grew this from Bonsai by himself, the age of the tree is estimated about 600 years old.  As the head of the ship is heading westward, it is said that the ship was made from the idea of heading toward the Buddha’s Land of Bliss in the west.

Kinkakuji ohuda

By the way, one of the reasons came from the recently released film, “Bohemian Rhapsody”.  It is a film about Freddie Mercury’s life, a  legendary lead singer of Queen. Freddie is known as a Japanophile and things Japanese are seen in some scenes in the film. In one scene, I found an amulet from Kinkaku-ji stuck onto the wall of Fredde’s house!  I may have visited there.

Teppei Ikehira in Art Expo Malaysia

Teppei Ikehira who I introduced in takumist on Sep 9 participates in Art Expo MALAYSIA from Galerie Bruno Massa.

The expo will be held from Oct 12 to 14. If you happens to be in Kuala Lumpur, it is worth visiting to see his art pieces.

Art Expo Malaysia

Art Expo Malaysia

MATRADE Exhibition and Convention Centre (MECC)

Jalan Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah,

50480 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Teppei Ikehira 池平撤兵

Teppei Ikehira, artist’s official site

Alessandro Bioletti (アレッサンドロ・ビオレッティ)’s Exhibition “Sentō”



“Sentō” means public baths in Japanese. Alessandro Bioletti, Italian Illustrator who has been living in Tokyo since 2015, chose  this typique Japanese theme for his exhibition, currently being held at Makii Masaru Fine Arts until Oct 21st. The gallery is in the district where many public bathes are located. Though it is not primarily a reason of choosing this gallery, he sees the linkage between the theme and right location to be exhibited.

When I heard of the title of his exhibition, I immediately thought of “Thermae romae”, a Japanese manga series by Mari Yamasaki,  in which the bathhouses culture in Roman era appeared in comparison with Japanese Sentō in modern day, but it was too brash to connect his Italian origin and the theme. Alessandro said there are several reasons that he came to be interested in “Sentō” and choose as the theme of his exhibition. “Sentō” was his first encounter about Japanese culture – getting into such a hot water and be in the same bath with many other naked men!!  Before settled in Tokyo, he started visiting Japan 13 years ago. Being fascinated by public baths, he started exploring public baths in a different town every time he visited Japan.


Alessandro also pointed out the difference in the way having human relations and interactions between Italy and Japan. In Italy, people are more expressive, while Japanese is in general shyer, not easy to express oneself, therefore, getting know each other needs a bit of patience. With such a contrast, he has got more conscious in the aspect of people’s connections and it is reflected in his work in “Sentō” exhibition.

What amazing is his vivid and concise portray of people in bath room and dressing room. I can picture it clearly and feel like I am in the scene. Alessandro‘s sharp, observant eye is used for the chose of colors used in the work. He said that it is fully influenced by the old color faded signboards from 70s and 80s that he discovers in the daily life.





His work reminds me Ukiyoe. In Edo era, the scene in public baths is a popular theme. Alessandro said that the composition and the way to describe the detail in Ukiyoe has fixed in his mind.

Ladies on tiles


Alessandro is preparing for the next exhibition in June 2019 with a theme of “City boy”.  He said that it will be held in a gallery in Harajuku by reflecting the theme.

His source of inspiration is a daily life. Once his appetite is caught, he search for it as he wants to know more. He sometime wonders what if he lived in Africa how his work would be differed. He is certainly not only one who wants to see how his work could be in Africa.


Alessandro Bioletti

Alessandro Bioletti

Born in Turin on 21st August 1986, Alessandro is a professional freelance Illustrator.
As a child, Alessandro loved to look through his grandfathers photo books of Japan and started taking a strong interest in the country and it’s culture. At 16 Alessandro began taking lessons in the Japanese language, and at 18 made his first voyage to the country. Alesandro has continued to travel and document his adventures through his drawings. Over the years these two passions have become intertwined and in December 2014 published his first children’s book “Mitsukete Alekun! Sekai No Tabi” (Find Mr.Ale Around The World) with the highly reputable Japanese publisher, Shogakukan.
In 2015 Alessandro left Italy and migrated to Tokyo, Japan where he now works as an illustrator for various advertising campaigns, editorials, picture books and a multitude of interesting projects for businesses worldwide.

For more info, please go to his own site and canvas Tokyo


Yuji Ichikawa (市川裕司): his solo exhibition “blue moment”

Saitama Gallery

The apple…………it appeared in the story of Adam and Eve in Old testament as a forbidden fruit seducing human beings to indulge. Snow white faints after eating a poisonous apple. Wilhelm Tell shot an apple on his son’s head. Newton found law of universal gravitation while looking at an apple falling from a tree. Now the apple is in most people’s hands as a mark of smart phone.  There is no other fruits than the apple that is universal and often appears in anecdotes in all ages.

Forbidden fruit.jpg

The Fall of Man by Rubens

Yuji Ichikawa (Ichikawa) is an artist who is fascinated by the apple and often uses it as a theme in his artwork. I had a chance to visit his recent solo exhibition, “blue moment” at Saitama Gallery (埼玉画廊), which is unfortunately ended on September 24, but I would like to introduce some of his works.

“I see the apple, which is familiar object for everyone, could be a good tool to link to people’s memories through and trigger connecting people across time and place. ”  – Yuji Ichikawa*

”私は、この誰もが知るリンゴを通じて記憶にリンクすることが、人が時間や場所を越えて繋がりを持つためのツールであると考えています。そして外界と繋がる意識によって、自己の再認識を果たすことが私の願いです。” ー市川裕司

Saitama Garo image.jpg

He originally studied Japanese painting at Tama Art University, but his creation has moved to the field of contemporary art. Ichikwa himself, however, is not conscious about categorizing his filed. Ichikawa learnt from International Symposium on Japanese painting that the genre ‘Japanese painting’ was only created at Meiji era for convenience’s sake, when Japan opens the country and start exporting Japanese art and craftsmanship such as Ukiyoe, therefore, there is no clear definition in Japanese painting in terms of materials and tools and it lost its substance. The view opened up Ichikawa‘s approach to his work. He started thinking he could explore his art expression by using any kind of materials, that resulted his recent work using a transparent glass, plastic material and aluminum instead of Japanese paper that is less and less available。

In the blue 18-3 532x729 (P20)

Blue moment 18 249x340(F4)

As the tile of this exhibition, the most exhibited work is colored in blue. The blue is originated from his memory in his childhood. He was a light sleeper and often woke up in early morning.  He, at such time, stared at the blue and silent world outside his window. The blue color before the dawn that he saw during his stay in Germany got his additional inspiration toward blue color.  Ichikawa sees a landscape of his heart and an opening of new world in blue and it is reflected to the title of this exhibition, “blue moment”.


The size of the work at this solo exhibition was relatively small for Ichikawa‘s creations. He typically create up to the ceiling, large scale installation like seen in the SPIRAL exhibition in 2014. It is amazing to hear that he normally works in his 8 tatami mats size atelier (approx. 12.4 square meters) based on 1/10 scale rough sketch.


Ichikawa stayed from 2012 to 2013 in Dusseldorf in Germany as a Goto Memorial Foundation trainee. The experience during the period gets influenced his creative urge.  Ichikawa said that the life in Germany inspired him to look into origin of life.

For his future work, he is interested in the concept of “borderless”. Envisioning the coming Tokyo Olympics in 2020, he is conscious about the relation between Japan and the world.  Probing into what universal is, he is wondering the border such as a concept of nationality might disappear.

Ichikawa‘s work will be displayed at the entrance of new hotel opening in front of Yurakucho-station in Ginza area in December. I can’t wait to see it!

For Yuji Ichikawa‘s biography and works, please visit his website.

Yuji Ichikawa

Yuji Ichikawa with his work “目覚め木”(The waking tree**)

*the quote is translated by the author and not the official translation.
**the title of the work is translated by the author and not the official one.

Ayumi Suzuki (鈴木愛弓): her solo exhibition entitled “the land”

There are some artists that I occur to my mind and wonder how they are doing. Teppei Ikehira who I wrote about in the previous post is one of those. Ayumi Suzuki (Ayumi), who I am going to write about this time is another one of those artists. Interestingly, I wrote about both artists in my post on March 23, 2015, in which I wrote about Art Fair Tokyo.

Mayumi Suzuki Dreaming

“Dreaming”, Oil painting by Ayumi Suzuki

I happen to know that Ayumi has a solo exhibition entitled “the land” at Fei Art Museum Yokohama (Sept 19-29), so I went to see it and had an opportunity to speak with Ayumi over her exhibition and creation.


The style of work exhibited in “the land” is quite different from her work in my memory, which was an oil painting featuring a woman with girlish innocence and the background surrounding the woman was drawn to the detail. In contrast to the oil painting, her work in “the land” exhibition is mostly black and white and the motif is blurry.

Ayumi attempted using a water and acrylic paint about 5,6 years ago for the sake of searching for a different mode of expression. Initially it didn’t go so smoothly and she couldn’t find her style until about 3 years ago, when her parents asked her to draw papered sliding doors for a guest room in her parents’ house, she draw it with liquid sumi ink and the experience was in a sense liberating her and triggered her to start drawing a paper with liquid sumi ink.

“With different tool and method to deliver an output, a style of expression is different even if it comes from the same inspiration. “

In her oil painting, she tends to use a clear line, but with sumi ink, line is blurred and rough. She has a much better control with oil paint by adding paint and reconstructing it to be close to what she envisaged painting.  Liquid sumi ink is, on the contrary, somewhat uncontrollable. It has unintended force. She needs to go with how the ink spreads and accept however the ink stained. She feels such output expresses her genuinenss.

A border between the usual and unusual or something like daydream is her favourite theme.  She said that the use of liquid sumi ink changed the way she capture the theme. It gets more inward. The scenery and a person described get more blur and ambiguous. The land is described in her words as below and it becomes the tile of her work and exhibition.

“the land” is like a place of daydreaming, a mirror reflecting one’s emotion and thoughts , and a dream relaying to one’s unconsciousness.”


Her solo exhibition, “the land” is being held in Fei Art Museum Yokohama until Sept 29, which is 5 min walk from Yokohama station.

Ayumi Suzuki solo exhibition "the land" Sept 19 (Wed)-29 (Sat)
Fei Art Museum Yokohama 
Yokohama Tsuruyacho Bldg. 1F, Tsuruyacho 3-33-2, Kanagawa-ku, Yokohama city, Kanazawa prefecture 〒221-0835
tel. 045-411-5031   fax. 045-411-5032
Opening hours:10:00 - 19:00 (~17:00 for 29th)
Holiday: Monday

Mountain climbing is one of her hobbies.  She brings back small things from mountain such as moss, a branches and stones and those become her source of inspirations.  Ayumi has a plenty of ideas for future direction, could be oil painting on paper or animation capturing a longer time span and share it with viewers. I am looking forward to her evolution.

Ayumi Suzuki

Ayumi Suzuki photographed with her work from “the land” exhibition

If you are interested in her other work, please go to her own site from here.


Meeting with Teppei Ikehira from his private exhibition ”今を灯して(Lighting up the present)” – Part III

“I select what I purely want to paint. If I force myself to draw something I am unwilling, I would likely get bored. Forcing me is sometime not endurable.”

As Ikehira mentioned, his style is elastic.  It flows to diversified directions with a various choice of motives, compositions and colours. It reflects his encounters in his life. Painting may be like his life itself.

Ikehira says that purchasing and hanging a piece of art is not the end of a journey for an appreciator, but is just a beginning.

Indeed, with versatile motives in his paintings,  I have a new discovery, a new encounter and a new experience.  It unnoticeably becomes a part of my memory and comes back with nostalgia.  It is as if I am on a trip with a ticket handed by Ikehira in my hand and wondering where I am taken to. I certainly can’t wait to see it.

Meeting with Teppei Ikehira from his private exhibition ”今を灯して(Lighting up the present)” – Part II

At Part I, I introduced Teppei Ikehara‘s art piece, titled ’They know their place’.

Ikehira told me that he started painting it with ‘a boy cuddling a tiger’. Can you locate the little boy?  It is drawn at the lower part of left corner.

Teppei Ikehira 1

a boy with a tiger

One day Ikehira brought back a stuffed tiger from neighbor restaurant to surprise his son expected to be home from school.  Against the odds, the son started cuddling the tiger and that became an inspiration for Ikehira to start out the work.

Ikehira said that he normally doesn’t have full picture how he wants to finish a work when he started.  The finished work is so to say a consequence of accumulated daily inspiration.

“I intuitively find a motif that interests me and carefully draw it with high concentration and in detail.  I continuously find such  interesting motifs from daily life, so I have a plenty of sources.”

Ikehira‘s inspiration comes from a slice of daily life. Interaction with his children, orange tree in his back yard, insects, birds coming to his house, a picture in a magazine he happens to read, etc, etc. Anything could be sufficient to keep his fire going.

Looking at countless motifs scattered like stars on canvas, my mind traveled with memories, was stimulated with new encounters and felt like dreaming. I may have had a some kind of simulated experience through Ikehira’s artwork.

Ikehira‘s work is exhibited at Corridor Gallery 34, Park Hotel Tokyo this month. Don’t miss the chance!

Date: September 1, 2018 (Sat.) – September 30, 2018 (Sun.)
Time: 11:00 a.m. ~ 5:00 p.m.
Place: Corridor Gallery 34, Park Hotel Tokyo (34F)
Fare: Admission Free

At the next post, I will touch on some more Ikehira‘s creations.