This past September, Raegan Russell was chosen after an open call for applications from art teachers in Maine who would be interested in both representing Friends of Aomori on a Delegation visit to Aomori, Japan, and leading the creation of the next installment of our Children’s Print Exchange. Raegan’s visit to Aomori was completed this past Sunday (November 18th, 2018) and now her and her Berwick Academy students will soon begin working on their woodblock prints! These prints will be sent to Aomori in February, the same time that we here in Maine will receive the prints from the Japanese students (exhibition location TBA).
Attached below are some pictures Raegan shared from her visit; it certainly seems that a wonderful time was had by all!
The Fourth Annual MAPS Exhibit has received a wonderful reception at the Munakata Shiko Memorial Museum of Art in Aomori, Japan! We will be posting updates on the Fourth annual MAPS Exchange as they come, so stay tuned. There are many exciting things happening here at Friends and we can not wait to share them with you!
Thank you to our partner Ono-san at the Munakata Museum for this annotated translation of the Newspaper Article shown above:
① Headline: Prints-Exchange Exhibition between Maine and Aomori is to be held this year, too.
② Sub-headline: To be displayed at the venue of Aomori Citizens’ Culture Festival
③ As a part of the Print-Exchange Project between Maine and Aomori, 10 prints by 10 artists in Maine reached the Munakata Museum, in charge of the project in Aomori.
④ The Print-Exchange Project started in 2015 and this year is the 4th. These prints are black-and-white and multi-colored ones. In particular, “Malaga Girl” is accurately carved in detail and precisely expresses cloth-quality as well. And the “Bird” carved in full-frame in size draws attentions of its beautiful grain of wood in print.
⑤ Mr. Ono, Director of the Museum, also makes his efforts in translation of the titles into better Japanese interpretation so as the visitors to understand the Maine artists’ intentions.
⑥ Mrs. Kudo, aged 71, a member of the Board of Trustee and a coterie member of the Japan Woodblock Academy founded by Shiko Munakata, evaluated the prints highly and make her comments, “All the prints are excellent in conveying the strong intentions of 10 artisits, respectively, and each one’s earnest pursuit of techniques in woodblock print.”
⑦ In the exchange project, the prints by elementary-school pupils are exhibited every year and in November a woman teacher from Maine is coming to Aomori under the sponsorship of Aomori Morning Rotary Club. She is expected to promote the printing education in Maine after her visit to the two schools in Aomori and her observation of the print-work classes as well.
⑧ The two, Director Ono(left) and Mrs. Kudo(right), are in the examination of the prints from Maine for the 2018 Exhibition.
In 2018, three Maine communities will host a show of prints by artists from Maine and Aomori, Japan. The traveling exhibition is part of MAPS (Maine-Aomori Printmaking Society), organized by Friends of Aomori as a cultural exchange program, sharing art and artists between the sister states of Maine and Aomori. The prints will be exhibited in Green Lion Gallery in Bath, Arundel Farm Gallery in Arundel, and the University of Maine in Orono, while the same collection is exhibited at multiple locations in Aomori prefecture, from April to October.
This 2018 series of exhibitions builds on the successful series of exchanges and exhibitions held since 2015 in both countries, now numbering thirteen shows in varied locations throughout both states. Coinciding with the inaugural 2016 exhibition, Pickwick Independent Press — an independent print studio located above the galleries in the Space Studios in Portland — hosted Japanese printmakers for a week-long printmaking residency. The residencies were supported by a grant from the Consulate-General of Japan in Boston, and included time for the artists to work in the studio, visit local galleries and museums, and deliver a workshop at Maine College of Art.
MAPS is organized by Friends of Aomori, an all-volunteer non-profit that supports the Sister State relationship between Maine and Aomori, Japan. The relationship between Maine and Aomori has been in place for 20 years, but the fascinating connection between the two states goes back to a shipwreck in 1889 (read more here: https://maine-aomori.org/about/). In addition to MAPS, Friends of Aomori supports high-school exchange programs, educational events and programming about Japan, and economic development opportunities such as a delegation visit of Maine fisherman and aquaculture business leaders to Aomori in October 2016.
MAPS 2018 features prints by: Jeff Badger, Lyle Castonguay, Julie Crane, Rebecca Goodale, Don Gorvett, Adriane Herman, Charlie Hewitt, Isaac Jaegerman, Junji Kimura, Mitsuo Konno, Yoshiko Takebayashi, Tatsuo Maeda, Scott Minzy, Yoshiko Munakata, Akihiro Sakamaki, Hiroko Shibutani, Sadao Tanaka, Jaime Wing, and Seizo Yagihashi.
MAPS will be on view at Green Lion Gallery in Bath, Maine from April 20th – May 19th, with an opening reception on April 20th; Arundel Farm Gallery from May 26th to June 16th with a reception on May 26th; and at the University of Maine in Orono from Oct 5th – Nov 16th, with an opening reception on October 5th.
Printmaking workshops and social events will coincide with the exhibitions, Please visit the websites and Facebook pages of the galleries and Friends of Aomori for details. MAPS is made possible with generous support from Ocean House Gallery and Frame.
Friends of Aomori presents 必需品 (ひつじゅひん/hitsujyuhin) which means essential item. This word is especially important as we enter the winter months, there are many 必需品 specifically helpful when dealing with cold weather!
The first kanji that makes up this word is, 必 (kunyomi: かならず/kanarazu onyomi: ヒツ/hitsu) which means inevitable and certain. The second is, 需 (onyomi: ジュ/jyu) which means request or need, and the final kanji is 品 (kunyomi: しな/shina onyomi: ヒン or ホン/hin or hon) which means article or goods.
While Maine is in its peak season of fall foliage, and encountering the subsequent stream of leaf-peeping tourists, Hirosaki Castle Botanical Garden in Aomori, Japan is gearing up for its annual Chrysanthemum and Autumn Foliage Festival which runs from October 20th through November 12th. During this event, the Garden is filled with different events for visitors, including craft-making, boat rides, petting zoo, apple pie tasting, and many other Autumn related activities. There is also an ‘Autumn Foliage Light Up’ where the garden is open late (until 9pm) and the trees are lit-up in the night by outdoor lights in order to accentuate the bright colors.
Of course, the Hirosaki Castle Botanical Garden is not the only place to see the fall foliage of Aomori; in fact, there are many viewing locations scattered throughout the region! Perhaps the most well-known viewing location is the Oirase Gorge, a National Natural Monument and National Scenic Place of Beauty located in Towada-Hachimantai National Park . With the thick forest and roaring waterfalls of the Oirase Gorge, hikers can experience fall foliage in an untouched, wild environment far away from the hustle and bustle of Hirosaki City.
For information on more areas to view the Fall Foliage in Aomori Prefecture, or to learn more about the two highlighted here, please click on the links below!
Aomori’s neighboring prefecture Hokkaido has released a four page Manga entitledミサイルが飛んできたときには (When a Missile Flew) by Manabu Yamamoto, instructing citizens on what to do incase of another Missile launch from North Korea. Click Here to read more in an article from Japan times.
The full four-page Manga is available on the Hokkaido Government website, which can be found Here.
Did you know growing rice could be a form of fine art!?
In Inakadate Village, in Aomori prefecture you can visit enormous images constructed from different kinds of rice. The images reference Japanese culture by evoking mythologies and sometimes even popular culture!
Visit the link below for more information on the imagery, how they are constructed, and tourism information.
The culture surrounding vending machines is very different between Japan and America. Check out the JapanTimes article linked below to learn about how one Japanese photographer, Eiji Ohashi, explores the relationship the people of Japan have with vending machines.
In Japanese vending machine is 自動販売機 (Jidohanbaiki) but is often shortened in conversation to 自販機 (Jihanki)
For an in depth understanding of Japan’s vending machines and their history watch the following short documentary from NHK world’s series Begin Japanology. Did you know that you can get hot drinks and even fresh, hot food from a Vending Machine?
If you will be in the Gonohe area, or are planning to make a trip to Aomori this coming Fall, you may want to think about planning your trip around the one-of-a-kind event known as: The Gonohe International Music Festival!
Beginning in 2013, the Gonohe International Music Festival is a free event that takes place annually at Kowataritai Park in the town of Gonohe, which is located within the Aomori prefecture. Started byDave Herlich and Michael Warren – two friends who were English teachers in the town of Gonohe for several years – as a means of intercultural outreach and community, the Gonohe Music Festival has expanded over the years to include a wide variety of musicians, cultural performances, and seasonal/specialty foods from around the world as well as Japan/Aomori. While the festival features many cultural aspects unique to the Aomori prefecture, the Gonohe Music Festival also includes musical acts from a variety of foreign cultures and countries – such as a West African Drum Line (2013), a Reggae group (2015), and Beatles covers (2016) – while additionally showcasing Japanese indie, rock, jazz, fusion, and traditional music groups/bands.
The Fifth annual Gonohe International Music Festival will be held Sunday, October 8th of this year (2017) and is an all day affair – running from Sunrise to Sunset. While the music lineup has not yet been released, looking at the lists from previous years, it is safe to say that 2017 is sure to be a blast!