A Visit from Germany • ドイツからの訪問

Well, well, well,WELL! I am lucky enough to be part of an extending network now. Sumiya San from Itohen invited me to meet Christa Schwarztrauber, a letter press printer from Germany, who was travelling in Japan for a couple of weeks.

Sumiya San (the only guy in the pic above) already had an aquaintance with Christa (seated left), and had been to visit her in her printing studio "Handsatzwerkstatt FLIEGENKOPF" in Germany. Straight off the plane she came to visit him in Osaka, before making her way to Kyoto where she was staying for a few days. 2 other friends of Christa came to meet her all the way from Tokyo: Chie Tanji (seated in the middle), who lived in Germany for a year and spoke quite good German, and Tamaki Hirakawa (seated right), who runs LUFTKATZE in tokyo, publishing some very, very wonderful childrens books and Illustrations. Hirakawa San had been studying German hard core for the past few months anticipating Christa's visit. For 2 weeks last year she worked with Christa in her studio, and is one of the reasons Christa came to Japan.

I got a present too!

This is a accordion fold palm-sized book with the lyrics to the old Japanese song "Sakura" in both Japanese and German. Christa said that most of Japanese friends have contacted her through her website. Tanji San said that the first time she visited Christa in her studio, Christa pretty much started the conversation with "So, what are we gonna make?". Tanji San now sports custom letter pressed business cards: very cool! (I'm so jealous.)

Hirakawa San brought some samples of the work she does at LUFTKATZE. I brought an oversized postcard from her; a woodblock print of 'SUPER'. She told me that each print had it's own unique colour, and that no two prints were alike. Oh yeah; I LOVE analogue! Here it is, now on display in the office. I also scored a bonus letter pressed placemat (design handcrafted by Hirakawa San).

The one thing that really hit me during the day was that Christa dosen't speak English. Unusually, I found myself speaking Japanese, waiting for it to be translated into German by Tanji San, and then listening to the reply in Japanese. Basically, in the company of a foreigner I had to leave my English at the door. I've never felt more Japanese in my life!

After a chat and a cup of tea we went to lunch and then moved on to Beyer, a very nice cafe/gallery/bookstore near Tamatsukuri station on the JR loop line (actually, my next blog entry is about Beyer. Check it out!)

All in all a great day, met great people, and I owe it all to Sumiya San. Thank you very much.

Hirakawa San sent me a great link regarding Christas activities in Japan, which you can view here (Japanese only). Have a look.

Tsunagari D! Creative worldwide!

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