Gallery sitting

I have a show running through July 12 2008 at

This should be read as I spend my Sunday afternoons sitting in the gallery greeting customers or not, depending on how the intricate dance goes as they walk up the stairs and see my American mug staring back at them.

I would say I am a friendly person. I am able to carry on small talk and generally keep the conversation at a level that is comfortable for all. “Yes, they are all made from clay”, I have been in Japan 14 years” Yes, Japanese food is great” etc, etc.

Yesterday was my second Sunday. The first Sunday provided more fodder for thought. The stand-out couple immediately reminded me of the couples in vitamin catalogs I often get in the mail. Thin, tanned, running shorts and top, running shoes. Tipping the balance was they were holding hands. In 14 years probably the first couple in their 50s I have seen in Japan holding hands. Running interference was their son who was in his late 20s or 30s. At first it didn’t register what was going on. I kept on hearing the woman of the couple say, clearly, emphatically and a little loudly, “IT DOESN’T MATTER”. Curiosity piqued I listened in. It seems nothing her husband said could pass her test of being relevant. All this while they would nervously look at me from time to time.

Being at the gallery matters. Period. I haven’t moved much in the past week and a half of the show. Having said that ninety percent of stuff that has gone out the door has been moved when I have been there.

I do enjoy meeting the different people coming through. Most don’t come specifically to see me. Shigaraki is one of the big, traditional pottery towns so it gets a steady river of tourists. Yesterday was heavy rain off and on most of the day but there was still a steady flow of visitors to the gallery. I recently went to my first craft fair. It happened to also be the first of what might be an annual event in Nara park. I really enjoyed it. Meeting folks was much more of a hit and miss affair at the Nara event. Understandably people are nervous about getting tangled up in conversation with someone who may not speak Japanese. I have tried to come up with opening phrases that convey I can speak Japanese without being too obvious that that is the point. It is enjoyable to sit out in the sun and meet the other vendors.


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