Well, it's official! I'll soon be moving to Fukuoka, Japan. After a couple of years of working towards this goal, I was finally successful and had the amazing fortune to receive a research scholarship from the Japanese government. When people ask me why I became interested in Japan and learning the language, my answer is always, "Japanese design." It's kind of a fun story actually...
Anyway, the point of the story is, even though in truth I'm not quite sure what first prompted my conscious interest in Japan, it's certain that my biggest motivation for sticking to learning the language and finding opportunities to travel there was my desire to understand and be close to the beauty of Japanese design. Although I might not have known how exactly how I would eventually immerse myself in the design culture of Japan, the prospect of finding my "tribe" kept me determined to keep learning the language.
And now it's happening!
I can't believe it, but in one month I'll be in Fukuoka, ready to dive into the amazing art of Japanese woodworking. After some time learning from professional artisans, I'll continue researching this country's contemporary design and start to make connections between the two to find the common thread of Japanese design culture and aesthetics. And then, most exciting of all, I'll create an original furniture design proposal inspired by the genius of Japanese woodworking.
Last September I made a visit to an amazing woodworking tools museum in Kobe. It was wonderful! They had just recently redesigned the whole museum, perfect timing. Despite being mostly in Japanese (with some English translations), the exhibits were exceptionally easy to understand, not to mention beautiful. They even had a workshop where you could make your own chopsticks out of cypress wood! What a great introduction to Japanese woodworking techniques.
As you can see in the picture on the right, I visited Nagoya Castle last fall as well. The Honmaru Palace portion of the castle was rebuilt just last year according to the original plans. I'll bet you have a hard time believing that this building (a minimalist architect's dream house) was designed in the 1600's. Sorry all you minimalist architects out there, I already claimed the place if they ever decide to rent it out.
As preparation for my "real" research to start, I've been collecting some imagery on Pinterest. Feel free to check it out if you're interested!
Wish me luck and stay updated with my blog as I continue on this journey of discovery!
A few months ago I decided to try my hand at bookbinding! I made two journals, one for each of my travels abroad this year. The first one was for my summer in Kyoto, Japan. I was extremely lucky to get the chance to continue my study of Japanese language in the U.S. Department of State's Critical Language Program. Not only did I have an amazing opportunity to substantially improve my proficiency in Japanese, I also got to experience an unforgettable summer in Japan, which I recorded in my special sketchbook. If you'd like to take a look inside the sketchbook, you can do so here.
Now that that sketchbook has been more or less filled with my first trip, my Spain sketchbook is up next! I can't wait for the semester to start in Madrid. Only three more weeks, and then I'll be in Spain for the next 9 months! I'm excited to start doing design projects again, not to mention actually living in Spain and getting my father tongue up to speed. Since my father is Spanish and my mother is American, I'm bilingual in English and Spanish, but I've never actually lived in a Spanish-speaking country, so my Spanish could use a little polishing. I figure that if I could survive two months speaking pretty much only Japanese, I can definitely handle a school year in Madrid using a language I've been speaking my whole life.
Well, I can hardly wait until I get to draw the first entry in my Spain sketchbook. And of course, who could not be excited about spending a year at an amazing design school in Spain getting to do all sorts of neat projects?