A taste of Japan – through photos, haiku and food

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.

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40 Responses to “A taste of Japan – through photos, haiku and food”

  1. Crafty Green poet Says:

    what a lovely exhibition and creative collaboration, congratulations!

  2. Dean McCuaig Says:

    This is great. Your talents are like your friendship, perfect together. Congrats to both of you.

  3. Rochelle Says:

    Artistic creativity in bloom. I wish I wasn’t so far away.

  4. Rochelle Says:

    I actually liked the wisteria vines and the haiku that went with it.

  5. tanyakyi Says:

    So cool! I’m definitely going!

  6. Heather Says:

    What a beautiful looking exhibit. I wish I could see it in person. (I’ll tell my mom to go.) Congratulations!

  7. Jacquie Says:

    Thanks everyone! It was a lot of fun to put together, and it feels good to know someone has seen and appreciated it (even if just through this blog post).

  8. Jean-Pierre Antonio Says:

    I would also like to thank Ruriko, the owner of Sawa, for allowing us to put on the show. Ruriko is a super-cool and generous and she makes a delicious salmon donburri too. Drop by some time and chill out. Do people still say “chill out”?

  9. constanceantonio Says:

    Les photos sont magnifiques , aussi les poemes, qui accompagnent,
    j’irai certainement a` Sawa, pour tout admirer,
    Enfin, Bien fait,
    Constance M

  10. Soren Says:

    J-P. and J.P.,

    Thanks for posting the photos of the photos. The Haiku is a complement. Nice show!


  11. Yousei Hime Says:

    Jealous, jealous, jealous. At least you weren’t in Japan. 😉 Just kidding. Nice photos and lovely haiku. Very glad to see your post.

  12. Kevin Says:

    Hi Jacquie,

    I wish I could have seen your show. The pictures look fabulous.

  13. Jacqueline Pearce Says:

    Thanks for the positive comments! Jean-Pierre’s photos always make me wish I could head to Japan for another visit.

  14. David Banks Says:

    Hey @Jean-Pierre, yeah the kids still say Chill Out, or course the kids that say Chill Out are 35 years and older : – )

  15. Angie Says:

    wow the photos are sooooooooo cool. the haikus r fab 2

  16. Jacqueline Pearce Says:

    Thanks, Angie! David and Jean-Pierre, I think the kids just say “chill” now (although my teenage daughter says that too is passe)

  17. Cheryl Antonio-Elferis Says:

    I didn’t know my cousin was so talented! Jean-Pierre, I am sorry I will not get to see the rest of the exhibit. Jacqueline – the haiku is wonderful. It’s almost as if you were there.

  18. Jacqueline Pearce Says:

    Thanks Cheryl! I have visited Japan twice and travelled around with Jean-Pierre (he is a great host!), so with the photos and some background info from Jean-Pierre, it was fairly easy to imagine being there.

  19. Jacqueline Pearce Says:

    By the way, if anyone is interested, Jean-Pierre and I have known eachother since grade two. In grade five we were both given special permission to work on art projects whenever we finished other work early (the teacher had an art corner set up with easels and art supplies, and we pretty much considered it our corner). Our first collaboration was when we worked together on our highschool yearbook.

  20. Andre Says:

    Hello, that was a great idea from both of you, really creative. The pictures and haiku poems bring back pleasant memories from when I lived in Canada. I wish I could have seen the exhibition in person.

  21. Marita Says:

    Les dejo como tarea este mensaje en español.

    Para los amigos (patas, chocheras) artistas, muy bonita combinación fotos y poemas. Felicitaciones a los dos.

  22. Jacqueline Pearce Says:

    Thanks Andre and Marita! So nice to hear from you both! It’s also great to have comments coming from around the globe.

  23. Benita Antonio Says:

    My favourite collage of photos and haiku are the yokan fruit pictures. Great blasts of colour. Also loved the crow in the branches and accompanying words and the tapestry photos. Rich in design but very peaceful.
    Great work and congratulations on your collaboration. You do really need a venue with more exposure though. Sawa’s is a great place but I think the art work gets hidden and missed by many who would certainly enjoy it.

  24. Abigail and Saw Says:

    Great work. We think that this exhibition should be shown in Japan upon Jean-Pierre’s return!

  25. Jacqueline Pearce Says:

    Good idea Abigail! The yokan photos are my favourites too, Benita. Thanks for the comments everyone!

  26. Mary Jane Muir Says:

    Hi Jaqueline – This looks like such a sensitive and thoughtful exhibition. I am glad you posted this on your blog. I will try to go down there to see it if it is still up.
    I love the way you have placed photos side by side and the haiku is a perfect partner to the images.
    I hope you have lots of visitors to see it. Congratulations!

  27. Jacqueline Pearce Says:

    Thanks Mary Jane! The exhibit will be up until approx. April 15

  28. Isabelle Says:

    I love the wisteria especially. And I’m enjoying reading down the blog too, glad I stopped by here.
    JP, have a good trip back to full-bloom Japan!

  29. Susan Says:

    I like the yellow and green fruit and foliage photos very much and the tapestry photo. I loved looking at tapestries when I was in England. I’m at work, on my break, and all the photos are uplifting when I needed uplifting! The cafe/gallery looks interesting.

  30. Alan Summers Says:

    Lovely exhibition! 😉


  31. Japan in Photos and Haiku « Shiteki Na Usagi Says:

    […] Pearce, children’s book author, of Wild Ink blog has a lovely post of photos and haiku about an exhibit at Sawa Tea Lounge and Gallery.  […]

  32. absurdoldbird Says:

    This is lovely!

  33. Tacy Says:

    Oh, this is just so pretty!

  34. Jacqueline Pearce Says:

    Thanks for the kind comments, everyone!

  35. Jacqueline Pearce Says:

    I met fellow author Melanie Jackson for lunch at Sawa yesterday, and here’s what she had to say about the place:

  36. haikutec Says:

    Would any of your readers and/or yourself considering entering our haiku competition which is also for good causes?

    The 2010 With Words International Online Haiku Competition: http://www.withwords.org.uk/comp.html

    all my best,

    Alan, With Words

  37. Jacqueline Pearce Says:

    Thanks, Alan. I’ll pass on the info on Twitter as well. FYI, anyone out there on Twitter can find me at @jacquieink

  38. Winter haibun | wild ink Says:

    […] (taken in Japan) and my haiku written in response to the photographs (here’s a post on our 2010 exhibit at Sawa restaurant-gallery in Vancouver). Recently, I found myself responding to one of Jean-Pierre’s emails with a poem that seems […]

  39. Jacqueline Pearce Says:

    Reblogged this on wild ink and commented:

    Reminiscing, I decided to repost this haiku-photo collaboration. Sad to say that Ruriko, the owner of Sawa at the time, died of cancer a few years ago.

    Note: Yokan (or iyokan?) is a winter citrus fruit. Also, I feel compelled to point out that my haiku has progressed since this time, and this older haiku has some problems, though I still like the yokan haiku and the collaboration with Jean-Pierre’s photos.

  40. Jean-Pierre Antonio Says:

    Thanks for re-posting. Brings back good memories. Sawa was a very nice, mellow place to hang out and sip some delicious tea on chilly, wet days. Ruriko, the owner, was the embodiment of generosity.

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