Hi everyone. February is starting to wind down. I've noticed the days getting longer, which gives me a lot more energy. It is exciting to watch spring arrive, even if it is a bit slow here in New Hampshire compared to some of you have elsewhere in the world.
(And I'm not mentioning the weather due tomorrow. I'm going to be like the ostrich and stick my head in the sand.)
Today I have another page for Elizabeth's "What's Your Style?" challenge at Art Journal Journey
. I like to play around with my own take on Asian style journal pages, and that's what I have to share today.
I hadn't attached this page to the white paper when I took this photo, but I liked the white background around the edge, so I ended up attaching the page onto the other sheet of paper.
The background is collaged paper, painted wax paper, printed tissue paper and gelli print pieces on deli wrap paper. The frame is made with stencil and some texture paste. Once dry, I used brown and grey paint on it. Originally it was wider.
I cut the edges a bit because my "frame" was too thick. I like it a bit more rough as it is now.
The Geisha is a stamped imaged that I colored and fussy cut out. I framed her with a scrap frame from my work table. (Back when I had my old work table. I usually make pages a few weeks in advance.) I stamped the quote on white paper and cut it out. I chose that phrase as the misty seemed to work with the colors on my page. Then I added a few plastic gemstones to finish off the page.
Today is my turn to share a bit of Japan in my travel reminiscing. Many of you know I traveled to Japan back in 2018 with the school where I worked. These (pre-covid) annual trips between my school and the community of Nichinan, Japan occurred because of a treaty signing event that is illustrated in the painting (found in this photo) below.
This is a painting of the signing of the Treaty of Portsmouth, which occurred in 1905 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It was partly brokered by President Theodore Roosevelt (for which he won a Nobel Peace Prize even though he never even traveled to Portsmouth). The Japanese signer of this treaty was from Nichinan, and I taught at Portsmouth High School. That is the sister city connection between the 2 communities. I took this photo when we visited the peace treaty museum. It is still a major historical moment for Japan.
Unfortunately this treaty put Korea under control of Japan and also gave Japan control of the Manchurian Peninsula. The Korean Declaration of Independence from Japan came in 1919. Manchuria stayed under Japanese and then Russian control longer. And it came under Chinese control in 1949 where it remains today.
It was fascinating to visit Nichinan, which is located at the very southern tip of the southern most main island that make up Japan. Here's a few things we saw.
This is a view of Obi Castle. Some of this castle burned but has since been rebuilt. It originated in 1588 and was the home of the local ruling group. When this was rebuilt, the original town area was also rebuilt. That also was quite interesting to see.
Here's old "city", but this area of Japan was quite rural so I'm not sure it was actually a city.
In the water running along either side of the road were koi fish.
We visited a National Park at Cape Toi. One thing this park is known for is the wild horses there. They originated when local farmers mechanized and then released their unneeded horses into the area.
We saw some amazing views. This Nichinan area is quite lovely.
As we traveled with the school, we spent some time doing some school related activities. I love how so many students bicycle to school.
We also visited the off season training home to the Hiroshima Toyo Carps. There was no game going on as the season had begun and the Carps had moved back to Hiroshima. Baseball, as you might know, is huge in Japan. The school we visited has one of the premier baseball teams in the nation. It is like at US colleges, where very good players are recruited. They will then practice and play baseball during the entire school year, and even live in a separate campus,
And by total chance we were able to visit this tropical greenhouse south of the city. This was part of the complex where some very special mangoes were grown. No one was allowed into the mango greenhouse, but those mangoes sold for $30 for 1. This greenhouse was filled with some tropical flowers, tropical trees and also coffee plants with seeds ready to pick.
Here are photos of the $30 mangoes you can buy. I guess buying them is a big tourist attraction, but we did not buy any.
And these bean paste pastry treats were remarkable.
None of us thought we would enjoy the Moss Museum, but it ended up being a highlight at least for the 2 of us who were biology teachers. We were lucky the year we went. There were 5 science teachers and only 8 kids. The 5 of us were all friends to begin with, and the 8 kids were wonderful. It ended up being an amazing group to travel with.
April was boy's month in Japan, and these koi fish kites were flown as a symbol to represent that. Homes with male children would fly this koi fish kites outside of them. These were taken outside the treaty museum.
Sadly girls month had already come and gone, but it would have been interesting to see how they celebrated.
One other place of note is one of the many shrines we visited. This one was in Nichinan right along the ocean.
And finally, one of my favorite parts of the trip, though our Japanese hosts did not get why we wanted to do this. We visited Monkey Island, where the University of Kyoto was studying the Japanese Macaques and how they wash their food. It started with one monkey washing their food, and then soon they all were washing their food.
This is the biologist (in the next photo) we traveled with, and he is throwing them food of some sort as part of his study. Here they were gathering it up. They weren't really washing this food. It was being spread to bring them out of the forests where they tend to stay. We did see monkeys actually washing their native foods, which were wild fruits.
Just so you know, these were wild monkeys, and we were not allowed to go near or handle them. And they also said don't look them in the eye as they could get nasty.
Hope you didn't mind my travel memories of a few spots in Nichinan we visited. We also visited Kyoto and Tokyo while we were there, but I think this post is long enough.
It was fun to write this post and reminisce of days when traveling was so much easier than now. Thanks for sticking with me this far too.