I ONLY HAVE EYES FOR BLUE

image001After 43 years of Blue & White, my eyes only see BLUE.  And it may well be that BLUE is taking over the color spectrum. From the skies, to the rivers to the bridges, and even the netting that surrounds them under repair, BLUE is the reigning color
The autumn skies in Japan and in winter are especially blue and vibrant against autumn leaves and snow.

image003Blue skies of summer are brush work paintings in themselves.  August clouds are like no others.  Of course, clouds are the best counterpoint to brilliant blue skies.

image005The blues of the sky meet the blue pacific ocean at Enoura, an enchanted sanctuary near Odawara built by photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto from an old mikan plantation, for solstice viewing and to be home to his astounding collection of centuries old stones and bridges, cobblestones and a 14th century gates.  A new must visit for travellers to Japan.

image007A massive torii of ancient stone pillars and lintels is the gate between the blue sea below and the Tea House that Sugimoto has designed after Sen no Rikyu

image009But blue’s not all skies and clouds.  People are blue too.  This celebrant in blue at the July Kumano Nachi Fire Festival was in strong contrast to the whites of the standard bearers who carried flaming red standards up and down these ancient steps.   An incredibly dangerous and thrilling sight!

image011A joyful young fisherman in Naoshima not only just in blue, but in blue karakusa, a favorite scrolling vine design.

image013A carpenter in Tokushima wrapped in an indigo dyed towel surveys the extensive damage done by a recent typhoon to a large old walled chieftain’s house in Tokushima that is fortunately a protected cultural property so that some government assistance will help with repairs.
Blue helps him smile, though he has his work cut out for him.

image015True blue believer at the ultimate Flea Market in Yamato, outside of Tokyo.  Everything and anything is there, from junk to treasure, and everything in between.

image017A beguiling shibori dress in indigo dyed washi at a recent Washi exhibit at Awagami Factory in Tokushima

 

image019Home dyed swatches of indigo shibori made as Christmas presents for a large family, sit photogenically in the kitchen of multifaceted Dorie Vollum in Portland.

image021Acrylic painting by Mina Katsuki, a Kyoto artist who only sees and paints blue – flaming cobalt blue.

image023A quiet beach scene at Naoshima, near the bus stop on the way home

image025The majestic shape of the roof of the Naoshima Hall was recently designed and built by Hiroshi Sambuichi of Hiroshima whose designs evolve slowly from long consideration of  the confluence of the essential elements: sun, wind and water.  A magnificent counterpoint to blue.

image027The buildings of the beautifully restored !8th century town of Mima in Tokushima, Japan’s indigo capital, are architectural masteries of carpentry and plasterwork where even the skies are indigo.

Below the Udatsu walls between houses are elegant firewalls of plaster and tile, built to prevent fire from spreading.
Uncommonly beautiful craftsmanship against blue skies in the restored town of Mima. Everything looks better against a blue background.

image031

image034Demon roof tiles, Onigawara, keep bad spirits away, under a glorious blue sky.

image036Of all the blues my eyes keep focusing on, one humble one was on a seat cushion of Zuisenji temple in the craftsmen’s town of Inami in Toyama.  The ladies of the temple had put their hands to crocheting cushions of all colors in  crysanthemum shapes for long prayer services on the spartan chairs in the main hall, but I ONLY HAD EYES FOR BLUE.

image038But then again, each time I think I have found The Ultimate Blue, something new/old keeps appearing.  And here was a Glorious Blue Boro at the OEdo Antique Market on Sunday December 19 that brought joy to my indigo heart.

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13 Responses to I ONLY HAVE EYES FOR BLUE

  1. Elizabeth Verville says:

    Beautiful!

    Elizabeth Verville Sent from my iPhone

    >

  2. Jan says:

    Loved the photos, especially the last one that “brought joy to my indigo heart”! Thanks for posting.

  3. raz nev says:

    i love your blog and your posts, they are so special, so inspiring. thank you!

  4. Sandra says:

    Another evocative post…particularly liked the males in their blues. Thanks again.

  5. Li says:

    How kind you are to share such blue-tiful pictures and words. I have traveled a bit & the blue of my home Hawaii is different from that of Monterey, California & the glorious blue of the Italian Riviera. Blue is an inspiration, a song, a meditation that lifts the heart, then quietly leaves you gazing into the depths of color. Hauoli Makahiki Hou & Omedeto.

  6. Dupee, Judith H says:

    Wonderful, wonderful, as always Amy! Thank you for keeping the best of Japan alive. Happy New Year!
    Judy

  7. HI JUDY
    I THOUGHT I HAD ALREADY TOLD YOU HOW HAPPY I WAS TO HEAR FROM YOU.
    AND SAD TO SEE THE SECOND RENDITION OF “OUR HOUSE” BEING TORN DOWN AS WE SPEAK. AHHHH! WHAT GLORY TIMES WE HAD WITH JAPAN CONNECTIONS!

  8. Zaharah Ibrahim says:

    i really enjoyed this post and the beautiful blue pictures. hopefully i can visit Enoura on my next visit to beautiful blue japan.

  9. Susan L Price says:

    I too have an affinity for blue, especially after having lived in Japan 1975-78 and visiting traditional indigo dyers in Shikoku during that time. Thank you.

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