Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Beautiful and the Bizarre

Thursday afternoon saw me arrive at Kayamori House, in Sakurai, Nara prefecture, feeling very seedy and somewhat sorry indeed. At one point I had even wondered if I was capable of catching the train and lasting the 45 minute journey. Any frustration related to the way I was feeling could only be directed at myself, as it was all self inflicted... Nobody had forced me to consume the copious amounts of sake the night before. Ashamedly, it was all voluntary.

We're all allowed one of those nights here and there... aren't we?

Either way, it wasn't until I arrived at this amazingly beautiful place that I actually started to feel human again. And what a perfect place to recover!

Wednesday started off with a visit to SoHo Gallery in Osaka where I got the chance to meet Celio in the flesh, after several art related online interactions. His gallery itself was a great little space and the current work on exhibition was by an illustrator working in pen and ink, who was actually doing some live drawing at the gallery when I arrived. It was an enjoyable visit - Celio, obviously incredibly passionate about art and artists, provided me not only with his time, but with a wealth of information that will no doubt come in useful when planning future Japanese ventures!

Later that day I met up with my newfound and very lovely Canadian friend, Meg, and we headed to her house to get ready for our chaperone, who was due at 8pm. Ichiro-San, arrived to collect us in a taxi, ever so punctually, and took us to a most impressive and very traditional Japanese restaurant that I wish I could remember the name of.... We did, however, find ourselves in a private tatami room on the top floor, where we were treated to a very exquisite and memorable Japanese feast - consisting of some of the most delicious, not to mention different, culinary treats to ever pass through my chopsticks.... including many traditional Okinawan style dishes, as the chef was from that area. It was my first experience tasting foods such as ootoro and goya, I also got to enjoy a delectable selection of sake from Shiga, Nara and Fukushima.

After dining in such a stylish and sophisticated venue, we somehow ended up in a place at the complete opposite end of the spectrum in what could only be described as some sort of 'tranny hostess bar', where the sake was cheaper and nastier, the Mama-San wore a strap-on and most of the decor was phallic in nature. Each to their own, it's possibly not a place I would visit back home, but as they say, when in Rome... or even Osaka...

I managed to lose, very badly, to Mama-San in a rather risqué game of rock, paper, scissors... and shortly after, our chaperone bid us farewell and the two gaijin girls were left alone in this strange, almost surreal, place.

We were encouraged to partake in karaoke and indulge in a little more sake, and whilst we obliged, our stay after Ichiro-San left was not a long one... just enough to be able to say that was possibly one of the most bizarre outings I have ever had.

Needless to explain why Thursday saw me feeling very average.

Arriving at Kayamori House/HeadSpace Artist Residency was truly a breath of fresh air!

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