Archive for March, 2010

A taste of Japan – through photos, haiku and food

March 18, 2010

Recently [2010], Jean-Pierre Antonio, a friend who has lived and worked in Japan for over 20 years, asked me to write some haiku to accompany a series of photographs he took in Tokyo and Kyoto this past December. Usually my haiku is inspired by personal experience, and I wasn’t sure if I’d have any success trying to write in response to someone else’s photographs, but Jean-Pierre’s multiple images of bright winter yokan fruit, calligraphic wisteria vines, and mysterious crows immediately evoked a strong feeling of place and mood, and the first haiku quickly took shape. Writing something to go with Jean-Pierre’s photos of young people engrossed in manga-reading and close-up sections of ancient fabric took a little more thought. To write about the fabric, I had to, in a sense, reach back across time to imagine what was going through the minds of the long-ago fabric artists…

The result of our collaboration is currently on display at Sawa Tea Lounge and Gallery, 1538 W.  2nd Ave in Vancouver (near the entrance to Granville Island). Below are some images from the exhibit and the location:

(The blossoms were in full bloom in a courtyard space designed by Arthur Erickson and right beside Sawa.)

If you’re in Vancouver I hope you’ll stop by and check out the show (Sawa is a great place for lunch or tea!).

Note: this is Jean-Pierre’s third photo exhibit at Sawa. Click here for a blog post on a past exhibit.

What I like about winter

March 16, 2010

Winter in Vancouver is damp, grey and colourless. Or is it? There are so many subtle colour variations that I enjoy in winter –muted greys and browns, unexpected yellows and purples.  Nothing bright and showy, but perhaps more rewarding because you have to look more carefully to see them. I also love the shapes of trees in winter and the secrets the bare branches reveal. I don’t think of their shapes so much when they are covered with leaves, but with their branches exposed, the shapes seems more emphasized to me — like hollow wire sculptures or woven baskets.


row of bare-branched trees

each, a lacy sphere or cup

to hold a bird’s nest


(photo of trees along Marine Drive, taken out the bus window)