This past holiday season brought a visit from our son, his fiancée, and their friends who live in Japan (also our daughter who will read this and not be pleased if I leave her out.) Our son has been a friend of one of the travelers since childhood. Although a year apart in school, they attended the same elementary, middle and high schools and also graduated from the same university. This long association between these two as children, young adults and men has been special for us as parents. We joke that our son’s friend is our number two son, but it is a sentiment that is heartfelt. Our second son has been teaching English in Japan for almost two years. I believe he has applied to stay for a third year. While there he met his girlfriend, who is Japanese. She speaks fluent English and is also a delightful person. Their visit to our home made the holidays even more special.
The gift exchange is an extravagant event in our home. Now that everyone involved is an adult there is really no reason to overdo the spending. Having little control when it comes to this topic, I begin shopping early in the year, grabbing things as I see them. This spreads out the financial commitment and creates quite a lot of gifts. It also gives me more time to bake and prepare meals in advance. We had some gifts for our friends from Japan as they did for us. Among many other things we were presented with three boxes of candy. In the typical Japanese tradition, the packaging was beautiful. I removed the candies, all individually wrapped and saved the boxes for a future collage. I especially liked the lemon candy. One we weren’t sure about, but I think it may have been green tea. Our visit was too short with all, but we crammed in a lot of meals and sent them off to show the sights to our new Japanese friend.
Of course all of this happened before the devastation from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. We are happy to report our friends are safe and sound. They live in the southern part of the country and are doing well. We are still concerned for the safety of all the population there and hope that the nuclear facilities somehow control the leaking radiation.
My fascination with all things Japanese motivated me to create five collages with a kimono theme. Today the sixth emerged, using the boxes from the candy mentioned above. The usual materials include gesso, matte medium, colored pencil and gold metallic paint. I am tempted to return to the sewing machine for some edge definition, but it would probably be best left as it is. Hopefully I have glued the printed characters in the correct direction.