I've spent our summer break in Tokyo for almost 2 months. After I have lived in Singapore for 4 years, I became to appreciate the culture, food, season, people that our country has, and also came to see my own country in a different way wether it's good or bad.
First once I arrived my home town, various flowers of the season welcome me and various veggies, fruits and fish of the season entertain us in many ways.
June/July is the rainy season here in Japan, especially this year the rainy season was a little bit longer than usual. Almost everyday we have rain at extremely high humidity. Actually I can't say it's agreeable climate because we need care about what we wear when we go out, outdoor activities are limited, and also we get a huge pile of laundry as we usually hand them out. Even so the rainy season is absolutely essential climate for our daily life throughout the year.
For the people who treat "Urushi", this humidity during the rainy season is blessed period because Urushi is the natural material that hardened by humidity. The suitable humidity and temperature for Urushi to harden is said to be 70-85% and 24-28 degrees. During this season these requirements are naturally met and it takes twice and more as fast as it usually does, which enables us to work faster and easier while that time.
That I finally started taking "Kintsugi" classes this summer was the great timing for me, as I was able to stay in Japan only during the summer (rainy season!).
"Kintsugi" which is the method of repairing broken ceramics using Urushi requires several steps to be done and you need to wait for Urushi to be dried completely before moving to the next step.
Let me introduce about Kintsugi on our next blog for more detail.
I felt once again dealing Urushi ultimately rely on our natural source and condition. Urushi is the natural material derived from the sap of Urushi lacquer tree.
Thinking about the materials and tools used for Kintsugi for example, we use rice flour, decayed rock (called "Tonoko"), "Tai" (red sea bream)'s teeth called "Taiki", floss silk... etc
Since Jomon era, people tried familiar natural materials around them and the technique and tool they invented (some of them are accidentally) still remain and has been firmly established and recognised as the best and traditional method. This is absolutely amazing.
Just like human find a delight in the place where they are born and raised, Urushi healthily grown up and better match with the tool which also from natural and local. Now people are trying some new different alternatives to those natural materials, but for the art pieces and the full-scale repairing works, only the traditional technique can be accepted/recognised as the best one.
Thanks to the advance of the technology, we could enjoy many of the seasonal and local ingredients anytime anywhere, however, because it's only the limited time or unique to that place, things are more precious and appreciated in changing of the seasons, missing it and looking forward to the next season.
I happened to use the process of learning Kintsugi and doing some works using Urushi this summer as an opportunity to think about our predecessors' wisdom and device built on the basis of accumulation of their effort as well as the gift of nature seasonally.