A BEAUTIFUL PHOTOGRAPH OF THE JAPANESE COAST BY NAOKO McCRACKEN
An excellent work of photographic art taken in Kagoshima area. RLH
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
I painted this from my hotel room in Motomachi in 1962. It was a weekend and I had set up my temporary studio. I had not yet met any significant friends, thus I was alone and very interested in capturing the local scene.
There were many sake bars and beer bars nearby. I would paint for awhile, then go out for a drink and some local color. Though I could speak no Japanese, I still got on quite well with those in the bars. Some of the bars were geared mainly to a lusty type of entertainment while others were more into the food scene. Some of the small bars seated only a few customers, others could accomodate twenty to thirty customers.
My favorite food when hungry for something light was curry rice. Lots of people talked with me. I enjoyed the conversations and the difference between our culture.
I was totally fascinated by the beauty of the women. They found my pipe somewhat fascinating. Some would take a puff or two, then say something I could not understand. It was all in fun. Yes, it was fun.
My weekends in Motomachi in my early tour began on Friday nights and usually lasted until Sunday around noon, at which time I gathered up my materials, thanked the proprietors for a good room, then hailed a taxi for the train station. The trainride back to Atsugi (Sagami-Otsuka) was always fun.
When I think of Japan, the word "fun" continues to surface. So, is life not about fun? Yes, when one is young and full of energy, fun is the ingredient that turns life into positive energy.
So, the paintings were done, usually two or three. Most of the time, I would give one away to a bar or small restaurant owner. The next time I went back, I would frequently find my work framed and on the wall. It made me feel good, kind of famous. The ladies in the bar would smile, point at my painting and tell me how the owner liked it well enough to hang it on the wall.
Sometimes, there were those who wanted me to do a sketch of their profile. I am not a good profile artist, in fact I do not do faces well at all, but they pleased the subjects. And life went on and on. The music was great, some local music, some American, some Elvis music played on the 45s, some on the LPs. Taxis came and went. No honking, but the drivers would come in and ask for Mariko or another name. Down the stairs came the caller of the taxi and disappeared into the Yokohama night.
As the evening drew late, the lights seemed to dim and the music grew softer. The pleasant scent of perfume would prevail. Conversations would become softer. I simply sipped my drinks and hoped the day would come when I would find a lovely young lady I might enjoy in a romantic relationship. At 19, romance was on my mind. Oh, there was plenty of romance available in Chinatown, but it was not what I was seeking.
By Robert L. Huffstutter