Sunday, May 06, 2007

Something Old, Something New

It's raining here today in Osaka. Raining like it has no intention of stopping any time soon. I don't mind it either; in fact the sound is rather soothing and peaceful given the heavy mood in the apartment.

Relationships are funny things... and Japan is a funny place. Strange at times, for a girl like me.

I have been a little disheartened of late; artistic inspiration has not come easy or not come at all since I arrived back here on April 17. There has been a lot going on in my relationship and career that has caused even more to be going on inside my head. It's busier up there than usual at the moment, and it's hardly ever quiet.

The city here itself was starting to weigh me down in some ways, not that I am ungrateful for this whole experience, but I felt I had to remove myself from it for a day and get out into some kind of wilderness if that was possible.

On Thursday we travelled to Koyasan and hiked an ancient pilgrimage route that saw us on foot for over 21km. Mount Koya is the centre of Shingon Buddhism, a Buddhist sect which was introduced to Japan in 805 by Kobo Daishi, who is one of the most significant figures in Japan's religious history. The walk was a strain physically at times, as there were a number of steep sections, both uphill and downhill, the latter being more of a strain. Mentally however, it was clarifying and somewhat relaxing. It allowed me to remember some of the reasons I fell in love with this place and re-united me with some aspects of my initial 'Japanese-born' inspiration. Whilst walking, not only was I put in touch with every part of my body and used parts of my lungs that I had not used in a long time, I also felt re-connected to the spiritual side of Japan's rich history that has intrigued me so much in the past.

I started this blog entry at 10:46am. It is now 6:08pm. I have been outside, walked in the rain, eaten at Maman macrobiotic kitchen - one of the few 'healthier' options in eating venues we have found thus far in this city of fast and fried food. I am sure there are other places scattered amongst the thousands of varied clothing stores, that sell everything from 5 dollar diamante clad t-shirts with bad English translations to Chanel and Louis Vuitton. This city's 'culture' is very much one of shopping and eating, not so much one that embraces or supports an active art scene. Actually, from my experience thus far, the art scene here is all but dead - if it ever existed in the first place. There are a number of small galleries and art hangs in various little cafes around town, but I must say, despite my current disillusionment in regards to commercial galleries back home, being here has given me a greater appreciation for Australia's art scene as a whole - which to me at least seems ever evolving and somewhat dynamic as opposed to a rather stagnant one here. Perhaps with more investigation I shall find myself pleasantly surprised, but I am not holding my breath. I am however looking forward to visiting Tokyo later this month. Yesterday I received an invitation and complimentary tickets to Design Festa, which I had planned to go to anyway. It will be held in Tokyo on the 26th and 27th of this month. Design Festa claims to be Asia's biggest international art event. It began in 1994 and is held twice a year, showcasing artists from all over the world. I'd planned to get a booth but ran out of time, not to mention ran out of work due to other commitments.

Despite having travelled to Japan 4 times now, I am yet to visit Tokyo. I have spent most of my time in Kyoto, and now Osaka, so I am sure it will be an experience where I will see yet another side to Japan.

For now though, the rain continues to fall in the city of Osaka.

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