23 Dec Autumn in Kyoto
Growing up every summer we would host Japanese exchanged students. They would arrive jet lagged into a homeschooled house of 4 kids, 1 dog and 2 bunnies who have never left Northern Ohio. After a couple days getting acquainted with their new summer home they would unzip their giant suitcases and pull out gifts, individually wrapped and tied with them most beautiful paper and string. I still have all my treasures tucked away on different shelves in my childhood room. 3-D paper cards that play Japan’s National anthem, soft face towels with printed flowers and Hello Kitty, Doraemon stationary sets, and miniature paper drawers filled with different varieties of Konpeito. I always considered Japan as the furthest you could travel from home.
Back in November I made my way to Seoul for the third time this year. I taught a simple two day holiday wreath and centerpiece class which I’ll post some photos of in the New Year. Afterwards I decided to make the jump to try and catch the last of the famous autumn foliage Kyoto is so known for before I settled into winter in the Northwest.
I’d like to preface this post by saying I only spent 4 days in Kyoto. My observations are limited but seem to match with so many other shared experiences. Kyoto is the nation’s old capitol. Known for it’s abundance of temples and craftspeople. People who have proven themselves masters, who have never touched instagram, and have dedicated their lives to making something perfect and beautiful. From a brooms, to knives, to indigo. Even a small cafe overlooking the Kamo River (that does have an instagram). Everyone was at work in their own corner of Kyoto doing what they have done for decades, and doing it extremely well.
Most days in America I feel like all small business owners or “makers” have to have megaphones. Announcing every moment of our lives and claiming mastership after three years of picking up clippers. There is just too much competition to quietly be doing anything, to make something for people to discover.
All my favorite people to follow have an element of discovery to their work. An unpolished quality showing that they’re still learning, still growing and have the grace to develop their craft. This is a quality im most after right now. What’s the most beautiful thing I can make with the most fleeting element of the seasons? How can I stop people mid scroll with the simplest arrangement? What does it mean to be a master and is it still important? And maybe most importantly: How can I make this career sustainable for me and my family for the next 40+ years of my life? What does that look like?
My daily prompt of questions that will follow me into 2017. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year friends.