I won’t lie to you my friends. I have been one stressed out gal of late. Though the deadline for my documentary has been extended, I have had very little time to do my usual gallivanting. Upon learning of the deadline extension at Friday’s club meeting, I felt immense relief. I would enjoy the luxury of adequate sleep this weekend. And then I learned about Japan’s largest antique fair that only happens twice a year and it was going to be this weekend. Those who know me, would it really have been possible to pass that up?
Indeed it was not.
We had a midday start and took a series of trains to an area to the south known as Takeda (武田). All the while I was telling myself, “It’s ok, it’ll only be a few hours, I’m not even going to spend that much money, I know exactly what I want.” We arrived and after a long stroll found the convention center this thing was at. Bam. Two floors of endless cubicles filled with Japanese and European antique goods. I was in heaven.
This place. It was incredible. Everything from suits of samurai armor, katana centuries old, china, priceless works of art on scrolls, kimonos, towers of intricately carved jade worth more than a house, lockets owned a hundred years ago by lovers in France, old pipes from Europe in all kinds of fantastic shapes, one in particular owned by a Portuguese sea captain in the early 1800s, and more beauty than I could describe on here.
It was like a horde of samurai were having a garage sale. I browsed all over everything, but my favorite by far was the collections of old post cards and books.
I have an extreme weakness for antique books, but the only ones at this fair were things like ledgers and a really cool leather bound on the emperor and his family pre-WWII.
The post cards were the jewels.
I had found several piles of them stacked in corners at these booths selling for about $5 a pop, but they were incredible. There were some dating back to the Meiji Restoration (500yen for a piece of art with someone’s writing on it from around 1860? How could I not be excited?). Many, unfortunately, had no writing on them, and I couldn’t even read many of the ones that did. The way Japanese is written changed so much so that in the past if it was written horizontally, you would read the text right to left, rather than the modern left to right.
I was so fascinated with one particular post card that I tumbled over from the crouching position I was in as I stared at it. The man minding the booth busted over to help me up and I sheepishly apologized, and asked him about the card I was holding.
I had to have it. Not because I’m pro Japan or whatever, but because this is a side of the history I have never seen before. We don’t see this stuff in our American textbooks. Japan is the only place I could so easily see this, own this. Someone had also written on the back in beautiful script that I hope to be able to read someday.
My other prizes include an original Totoro poster (I had to), and a yukata (summer version of a kimono) to wear to the upcoming, ancient Gion summer festival in Kyoto (祇園祭).
Upon returning home lets just say I got nothing done. All weekend. Too much play and too little translating and editing. I had a test coming up too. The early week was a lot of nose to the grindstone but as requested of movie club I have made a trailer by the deadline. Even if I did promise a complete version last week, I’m afraid this will have to suffice, but the complete version is also going to be rough. I’m only rushing to turn in this Japanese version for movie club, keep in mind I have to rest of the summer to fine tune my English work that I’ll try to turn in to competitions, etc. That said, I still want to make the Japanese one worth watching, as the things it has to say may impact the Japanese in particular.
Without further ado, here’s the Japanese trailer for my documentary, Gaijin.