Category Archives: Japanese
I had a birthday recently, and received a book called “Kawaii Amigurumi” by Sayjai Thawornsupacharoen. The cute (‘kawaii’ or かわいい in Japanese) creature below is based on one of the designs in the book. I used the patterns for round heads to make the septic eye, and improvised the optic nerve. The eye was requested by someone I can’t believe I’m related to. She thought the eye was cute too. Can’t see it myself <shudders>. I didn’t have quite the right colours, and I made the iris too big but she loves it anyway.
If I was to be reincarnated I would want to come back as a Japanese craftsman [second choice: bird, third: dolphin, fourth:horse,…]. These videos speak to my heart like no other. I love to watch craftspeople at work but the Japanese do it like no other nation. I can’t tell you how much my heart aches when I see such beauty so skilfully created.
One of the things about Japan that I’m always most curious about is the various traditional buildings and items that can be found, like the mikoshi. These are portable shrines of various sizes that get carried around during festive times. They’re incredibly intricate in their decorations and must require regular maintenance. This always leads me to wondering who makes these things and what is their business model? You don’t see any billboards for mikoshi manufacturers and yet the workshops and craftsmen are out there, somewhere doing their thing.
For another example, take this little mosaic box pictured above. You may have seen a similar one before, but do you know how it’s made? You might be surprised at where the pattern actually comes from and thanks to a series of videos put out on YouTube, we can get a glimpse at how traditional handmade Japanese goods are painstakingly created.
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「すみません」 is a multipurpose Japanese expression which means something like “I’m sorry” or “excuse me”. I’m apologizing because I haven’t posted anything in a while. I’m apologizing in Japanese because it’s all Japan’s fault! Not really. But kind of. I’ve been studying Japanese since January 2012 and I love it. Most days I do about an hour to keep things ticking over. At the moment though, all of my craft projects are at the gestational stage (i.e. I’m thinking rather than doing) so I’ve been putting a bit more effort into my Japanese studies. It’s not all books and flashcards though; I get to play games. In order to memorize the 2000+ kanji* I play a game called Slime Forest. It’s not a sophisticated game by current standards but I’m of the generation that got excited when Pong came out!
So, will you forgive me if my posts are few and far between? I will post as soon as I have something to show you.
*Kanji are the complicated Chinese-style characters like the ones on the left here. These are pronounced “nee-hon-go” and just mean “the Japanese language”.