I'm living in Kusatsu-shi, Shiga-ken for an undetermined amount of time and teaching English as a second language at a local high school. This journal is to document my experiences, thoughts, and to stay connected with others at home and abroad.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

常滑 Tokoname

I need to admit it...I have a problem. I can't seem to stop this pottery obsession, and I find my legs carrying me to my wallets doom. No point in resisting. I'm not working for Ikea and Budweiser canned-rewards--I invest in living objects, people and the art they create.

In fact, I think this leg is more animated than the average American. Look at it's versitility--and it doesn't need to be terrorized into action!

Mogake--this is pretty interesting actuualy, the rustic-looking patterns are created by covering those areas with seawead before firing the piece in the kiln. When it melts, the seaweed melts into the clay, and leaves behind the mogake pattern seen here.

Shudei--a red clay used most commonly for teapots such as the one I have here. On the side is a Japanese folk song: 六歌仙(Rokkasen).

Another mogake--this one is a flower holder.

I know he looks trustworhy, but don't believe a word out of his slack-jawed grin!

Kitty getting some love from a Buddha. I like Buddha, he doesn't get angry at people when they use his image profanely, he doesn't condemn anyone, he's like that great-uncle who just seems content making jokes to himself and sitting in the corner with one eyes on past memories, the other on yet conceived futures.

The signature animal of Tokoname--this is Shigaraki's Tanuki, the infamous Maneki-neko. For year the Maneki-neko has viciously beckoned innocents into blood-thirsty halls of consumerism and credit debt. Yet the Maneki-neko beckons on--come, buy things you don't need, throw your money into the bonfire of vanitites.

But I won't buy a cheap porcelain cat any sooner than I'll buy my own coffin.
Tokoname has a history than runs back to beyond Shigarai and other pottery towns of Japan...in fact, Tokoname is said to be the oldest of the 6 ancient kilns of Japan. Yet this 1000 years of history is more often likely to be remembered by it's easy-to-memorize-name--Maneki-neko land.



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