1st “Japanese Handwork” workshop series, Japanese Wood Cut Print!

Today, on 20th June (sat), JCE had our 1st workshop from our workshop series “Japanese Handwork”.  JCE focuses introducing the joy of working with hands, we think the base of Japanese traditional art and crafts are handwork. We had Japanese wood cut print workshop by the workshop leader, Ms. Yumemi Kobayashi. We’ve started morning group from 9:00, and the afternoon group from 13:00. There were 18 participants!

We’ve started the program from Yumemi’s short presentation about Ukiyo-e and wood cut print. She told us about the history and the back ground, the details of Ukiyo-e, and influences to European art. JCE didn’t know that VOC brought Japanese wood cut print as the rapping paper of ceramics, and then, it became popular. The end of Edo era, there was big exposition of Japan in Paris, and Japanese art started to be called as “Japonism” since then, giving influences to Van Gogh and other famous painters. She also explained about the technique and tools.


After the presentation, creation has started! We tried to make the printings with 2 colors. Everybody made a drawing and brought it , Yumemi checked and gave them advice. Traced the drawing on wood by pencil with tracing paper, and carving!  All the participants were concentrated so well by carving, the room became so quiet, JCE thought that this is the fun moment of handwork. Everybody were so into it, just quietly moving hands and creating art.

woodcutprintWS_AM4morning workshopwoodcutprintWS_PM7afternoon workshop

Everybody made carving on the wood for both sides for 2 colors print, and we moved on to printing! Today, we used the water color (gouache) .

When everybody started working with colors, then the atmosphere in the space was changed dramatically. The space looked like ZEN, when they were carving. And with working with colors, it looks like we’re back to the real world, everybody started expressing their taste. They all tried very creative, painting the frames around the print, or trying to use different colors, or carving a bit more… It was surprise, we couldn’t imagine that everybody’s prints appeared so beautiful, when they were carving.


There were variety of designs!




The afternoon group was interesting mixture of nationalities, we had people from Venezuela, Greece, Japan, China, and the Netherlands. That’s great thing about Amsterdam, it’s great opportunity to work together with our Japanese traditional culture with people from many different countries! Yumemi and JCE had a great day too!

Thank you for all the participants and Yumemi for great work!

Our next workshop will be Japanese paper making on 11th July (sat), and we’ll organize “Kintsugi workshop” in August!

Workshop in the morning

Workshop in the afternoon

“Japan Market” vol.2 has successfully ended!


On 13th June (sat), it was our 2nd Japan Market, which ended successfully without any big troubles and accidents! Japan Cultural Exchange (JCE) team is so happy to ended safely! Thank you very much for everyone who came to the market, and who had a stand in the market!

The 1st “Japan Market” was in April, we organized at the 2nd floor of ’t Japans Cultureel Centrum. We thought that it will need sometime to grow, so we make it small. We had less than 10 stands and small amount of visitors.

And this time, we suddenly got very big reaction by Facebook!

We set the date of the 2nd market, and made an event page on Facebook, didn’t do much advertisement yet, and that event page became very popular naturally without any of our efforts.

When the numbers of “Going” reached to 2000 people, we thought that we really need to look for bigger venue, even with the uncertainty of Facebook numbers, couples of hundreds visitors might be really coming. So, we changed the location to Lloyd Hotel. We think that without support of Lloyd Hotel, we couldn’t make it!

Eventually, the numbers of “Going” on Facebook event page reached more than 5000. And actual number of the visitors was around 1800 people! We have never imagined that so many people are coming to our event, which is just 2nd time.

JCE found it very interesting that we saw most of visitors look like not “Japan lovers” or Anime fans, most of them look like they’re not particularly Japan fans, they look normal fashionable Dutch people. The visitors were nicely mixed with all the ages, and many young generation (20 – 30’s) came. We’ve seen quite same type of audiences in several Japanese event in the Netherlands, but this was something new to us.

Does that mean that the general interest of “Japan” is expanding? That would be wonderful!

By amazingly big support of Lloyd Hotel & Cultural Embassy, the venue was ready on time and no big troubles or confusions. The hotel staff was also surprised that they see first time that the street in front of the hotel was so busy at 11 AM. Their great cafe was just all the time full of people on that day.


The non-food section was doing good, the sellers were all satisfied. Those stands were mainly artists or designers who makes their own products, which related to Japanese crafts, or some sellers are small importer of Japanese lifestyle products. JCE wanted to introduce those people’s work, so that we wanted to create the space. That’s the starting point of “Japan Market” so, we’re also very happy about the result!

But we found the food stands a bit problems. Those sellers can’t make 1000 pieces of snacks or lunch boxes, many of them sold out quickly. That was really pity, many visitors came for food, but they didn’t get anything. We’ll solve this problem next time!


We did our best we could, but there were many things that we can make them better next time. Like putting bigger signs, so people find the way easily.

It is such a great opportunity for us! We’re so thankful for all the visitors and participants, and the people who supported us, and of cause, for Lloyd Hotel and ’t Japan Cultureel Centrum (They supports us all the time!).

We’ll continue organizing “Japan Market”, and next time will be better! We’ll announce the date and location as soon as we know for sure!

* Those pictures are taken by Japanese photographer Hiroshi Ono. Please enjoy!

Gathering about artistic experiences in Japan

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We had our first artist talk event “Japan Experiences” ton last Saturday, and it was a great success!

It was sunny great Saturday afternoon, but many people came for the event, and we’re sitting in the dark room together and hearing inspiring talks…. Thank you so much for coming!

The contents of the event became really rich at the end. Ms. Mami Odai, a director of Sapporo Tenjin-yama Art Studio joined the discussion and Mrs. Douke IJsselstein from Mondriaan Fonds gave a short lecture. That was really great help for the Dutch artists who are willing / planning to go to Japan.

We had 2 great presentations from Elodie Hiryczuk and Jorge Manes Rubio. We had contact with Elodie and Jorge before they were going to Japan and listen their plan of residency. We wanted to support them, and they promised us to give the presentation after their residency. They’re good artists with interesting ideas, and we were purely interested in knowing what they will take from the experience of their stay. We wanted to see their artistic result of the residency, and listening their experiences in Japan must be interesting, and it should be inspiring for other artists too.

The presentations from both were much more interesting than our expectations! The presentations of Elodie and Jorge were quite different, Elodie went to AIT Arts Initiative Tokyo for research project from 19 January to 16 April 2015. She told us about her researches of perspectives and optical views of East and West, and her experiences of meeting various Japanese people and trying to understand “Ma” or “in between”… it sounded like a journey, she was asking many people questions and couldn’t get the clear answers, and she went for travel, and eventually she understood “Ma” a bit better from the experiences.

After the presentation of Elodie, there was the presentation of Jorge. He went to Yamaguchi prefecture for participating in the Akiyoshidai International Art Village Residency between 12 Feb and 15 March 2015. He told us the story… it was fun and full of surprises, and we didn’t know what’s the truth and what’s the fantasy…. And event for Japanese people, the detailed story of Ube was fascinating.

After 2 presentations, we had Q& A and discussions together with Mami and Duke. Many questions from audiences and everybody gave information and advice, it was just really good.

Ended the event with chatting with many people and making contacts to each other, drinking, and everybody looked happy and satisfied. For us, as Japanese living in abroad, there are always something surprising and inspiring from knowing foreign artist’s experiences. We simply like to see Japan from other perspective, which give us the opportunities of realizing our own culture. It is also just so nice to share the journey together with foreign artists what they find out in Japan.

We’d like to thank Isjah Koopejan for leading the event as a moderator, and Elodie and Jorge, Amanda, Mami, Douke. We’ll continue organizing this event…so, till next time!!

Study visit arrangement of Alzheimer Cafe

In our blog on 15th April, we wrote about “Alzheimer cafe” in the Netherlands. “Alzheimer Cafe” is a gathering event for everybody, mostly for the people who has alzheimer and dimentia and their families and people who are working for care, to share the information and knowledge, difficulties, and to create the network of alzheimer and dimentia patients and families.

JCE has arranged the study visits of some “Alzheimer Cafe” in the Netherlands for Mr. Tomoyuki Yabuki, a lecturer of Tohoku Fukushi Unversity (Faculty of General Welfare) and Chief trainer & researcher of Sendai Dementia Training and Research Center, and his wife, who is working as a care staff. They visited our office in the beginning of May, we could finally meet them after so many e-mail conversations!

They were visiting many “Alzheimer Cafe” in diverse areas almost everyday, and talked to many organizers and volunteer staffs of the event.

They have visited UK before the Netherlands. They told us very interesting story of the differences between UK and the Netherlands. The visitors of the events and the energy or atmosphere are very different, the time of the event can be different too. In UK, it can never be in the evening, but, here in the Netherlands, all generations go out often, so the events are mostly organized in the evening of week days.

And in Japan , it must be in the afternoon of weekend.

It seems that elder Dutch people are enjoying going out more than Japanese and English people!

To visit the places and experience, and compare. Bring the report and ideas to Japan, and change the shape as the most benefittable for most of the people in Japan.


Mr. Yabuki and the organization is working on opening the first Alzheimer Cafe in Japan.
JCE hope that this study visit will give big inspiration and knowledge for Mr & Mrs Yabuki and their colleagues!