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.