MONO JAPAN by Tomoko

Hello, this is Tomoko. I would like to look back and talk about MONO JAPAN, which I joined as volunteer staff. Even though I cannot write sentences like Masako, but I hope you will read it like an experience report.

Because MONO JAPAN is the reason I started to think about an internship at JCE, I was very glad that I could help out at the event as staff. Even though I saw most of the booths at the event, I was not able to check out every little detail, so I am going to write about the Akabeko workshop I participated in instead.

“Akabeko” is a doll-making technique with paper and water. At that time, the participants were a mother with two children and me. The lecturer, Seki-san, came from Aizu city, Fukushima prefecture.

After a short explanation, we started with the workshop. At the beginning, I could not stop thinking ‘Wao!’. The materials we used were really simple, just water and paper. We painted it black before putting on a red layer, to make it look more deep. “Even though it looks easy, it is bit difficult.” “The mastery of craftsmen” oh, “the boy in front of me is really quick”, and more moments and thoughts like that made me very excited.

Fortunately, I still had some time after the family left, so I could continue with the workshop. Since I am more interested in the process of how a product is made and the people behind it, rather than the product itself, it was a really valuable experience for me to talk with Seki-san for a long time. It was a rare chance!

Also, during the workshop there were many people who wanted to join after seeing what I was doing. It is really interesting that the interest of one person, can influence the feelings of other people.

What I felt most excited about, was the hearty communication between visitors and craftsman. For example, I could see that Seki-san was talking really happy about his customers in Japan. Another visitor and craftsman talked about an abacus enthusiastically next to my workshop booth. There was direct communication in each room. I hope that in the future this event will continue to provide a place with warm communication.

One more thing, I was really glad to meet the people from the Ukiha booth, from Fukuoka prefecture. Visiting and meeting these people two years ago, became my turning point to come to Amsterdam. If I had not meet them, I would not be here. I did not expect such a miracle.

Of course there were some hard moments as stuff, but I enjoyed MONO JAPAN very much.