The Pickle Lady




Hi! This is my first post in a while, I hope every one is doing well. Summer here in Japan is incredibly hot. This weekend my family and I drove from our home in Saitama to the town of Nasu, in Tochigi Prefecture to visit some sites designed by the famous Japanese architect, Kuma Kengo. His work is fascinating; a blend of natural Japanese material like bamboo and pine with stone and metal, an elegant tension between the traditional and the modern. These projects seem to be something new that also echo the stories and histories of the local community.

On our way home that day, we stopped at a local market, and I had a very special encounter with a beautiful woman in her late nineties who ran a pickle stand. She sat at her small stand on the outskirts of the market, and as I fell into conversation with her, she explained how she spent every day toiling in the soil, raising local vegetables and wild roots that she would then harvest and preserve in her small hut. On Saturday’s and Sunday’s, her days off, she would travel to the market and set up her small stand. Her back was rounded from the days bent over picking her harvest, and her skin was weathered and wrinkled deep from the sun, but she glowed with a sort of happiness that comes from a connection to the soil, to a history. What an inspiration she was to me.


 久しぶりのブログです!日本の夏は暑いです。

今週末は栃木県の那須町にある建築家、隈研吾の手がけたいくつかの美術館に足を運びました。地元産の杉の格子で覆われた広重美術館や地元で採掘された石を用いて作られた蔵を再利用し設計された石の美術館。その地に存在する意味や価値をストレートに表現した印象的な建物でした。

 この街ではとても素敵な女性にも会いました。自家栽培で野菜を育て、その野菜を使ったお漬物作り一本の元気な93歳のお婆さんです。平日は畑仕事と漬物の仕込みに終われ週末になると道端の小さな仮設小屋でとれたての野菜や漬物を売っているのです。畑仕事で腰は90度曲がり、日焼けで肌は深く焼け、力強く入った手や顔のシワ、その姿は本当に輝いていました。私もがんばらなくては!

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