Hello! I’ve been up to a lot lately so I figured now is a good time for a new post. March has been very busy for me. I had a few friends come to Tokyo and I’ve been doing a bit of traveling. I will be posting art photos along with travel ones in this post!
I want to start by posting this photo that I actually completed sometime in February. It is a painting based off of a sketch I completed over a year ago. I had plans to actually complete this painting back in the fall of last year, but I couldn’t get my color palettes exactly how I wanted them to be. But I am happy I waited and thought it over because I love the way this came out!
Here’s a closeup photo, plus the original sketch and color studies.
I’ve had a lot of downtime at work recently because March is graduation month for Japanese schools. Watching my students graduate was such a bittersweet moment for me. I’ve grown close to a lot of the graduating students and I will miss them so much. But it’s been an amazing experience to be a part of their lives, even if only for a short period of time. During my downtime at work, when I’m not preparing lessons, I will often do small sketches (like the ones above). Here is a study I did of lavender and chamomile.
March marked the beginning of spring! But unfortunately for Japan, the first day of spring involved a lot of rain and even snow. For the spring equinox, also known as Ostara, I had plans to gather with a group of friends and have a picnic in a park while doing spring crafts. Since it was raining/snowing/doing some sort of wintery mix outside, the plans had to be changed and we were all a little disappointed. So, we sat inside a cafe for five and a half hours chatting and doing our crafts as planned; thankfully they didn’t kick us out of the cafe!
Here is the result of my craft time during Ostara! We each made our own spring wreaths. This was super enjoyable and very relaxing to do and I’m so glad we all got to make them together. I looked at a few pictures of wreaths for inspiration since I had never made one before, and something about the asymmetric look really stuck with me. For the summer solstice we are planning on doing a similar activity, and hopefully we can be outside!
Eventually, it really began to feel more like spring in Tokyo and these flowers, called ume, began to bloom! Since high school, I have always loved to take my camera around and photograph flowers, so this was very fun for me.
Although they are beautiful, the ume don’t last very long. But soon after they begin to wither away, the sakura begin to bloom! I got very lucky during the time of the sakura blooming because one of my best friends from home came to Japan and we got to enjoy traveling and looking at the sakura together!
The two places we traveled to were Kamakura and Kyoto. I have been to both these places before (Kyoto maybe five times by now?) but revisiting places you love is always fun! I want to post a few travel photos because I really enjoyed a lot of what I did this month and I want to share! In Kamakura, before visiting the Daibutsu (big buddha!) We went to this adorable cafe called Kannon Coffee which was not only one of the cutest cafes I’ve been to in Japan, it was also so so so delicious. We got buddha crepes (mine was red bean and strawberry flavor!) and these super refreshing lavender mint citrus drinks. If you ever make your way to Kamakura please visit this cute cafe!
東京以外には、鎌倉と京都を訪れた。両方とも行ったことあるけどいいところだから何回行っても楽しい時間を過ごせた。鎌倉の大仏へ行く前、素敵なカフェでクレープと美味しい飲み物を買った！クレープの上に大仏みたいなクッキーが乗ってた。可愛くて食べたくなかった！味はいちごと小豆だった。おいしかったなぁ。飲み物の中にラベンダーとオレンジとミントが入っていた。鎌倉はかなり暖かかったのでその飲み物を飲むとすっきりした！鎌倉へ行ったらぜひKANNON COFFEE Kamakuraへ行ってみって！
And here’s the Daibutsu himself. He is the second tallest bronze Buddha statue in Japan at a height of 11.4 meters.
One more food post before moving on to some art… In Kamakura we also visited this cafe called Cafe Kaeru. ‘Kaeru’ means frog in Japanese so there were tons of little frog statues scattered around everywhere! This cafe was truly in the middle of nowhere, located inside a cute garden. Our food was delicious. I got a bowl of rice with grilled seasonal vegetables and a miso soup. This is the perfect place to go if you love being surrounded by nature. So peaceful, and a great break from tourist madness.
After some more Tokyo fun, we were off to Kyoto! The sakura were so beautiful here. Before we went to Kyoto, I was working on a few little succulent drawings. This one here is actually based off of a very old painting that I never finished with the same composition… I think I had started it in college and I thought of it recently which brought me to completing this little sketch!
During our first day in Kyoto we went to Fushimi Inari, which is one of my favorite places in Japan. I came here first back in 2012 when studying abroad for two weeks on a trip with the pottery department of my college, and I always am reminded of that trip whenever I come back here.
During our second day in Kyoto we came to Ryozen Kannon. Upon arriving, we each received an incense stick to place in front of the statue inside an incense burner. This is done for respect for ancestors as well as for purification.
Ryozen Kannon Temple is a war memorial, built in 1955 to honor soldiers who fought in World War II.
We spent a lot of our time in Kyoto in Maruyama Park, which is famous for its sakura! Here is a photo of another succulent sketch I completed. This one is of a succulent that I purchased recently and keep by my windowsill.
The sakura at Maruyama park really were beautiful! We sat under the trees while drinking iced matcha. Matcha is famous in Kyoto and whenever I go I make sure to drink it as much as possible!
We ended our adventures together in a park called Inokashira Koen in Tokyo. I rode on a swan boat for the first time! It was so fun and the sakura petals falling into the water were so beautiful.
Since it’s the beginning of the month I’m going to take some time this week to think about what I want to accomplish artistically for the rest of the month, and as I’m sitting here typing I realize I have yet another painting I have completed and neglected to photograph… But I think after that I will be all caught up with work I’ve completed so far this year! Thank you so much for reading and I hope you enjoyed the travel photos along with the art.