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before my visiting to Japan
& after my returning from Japan

Virge Joekalda
Talllinn, Estonia

I have understood, that people in a world are inside the same.
We have different history, culture, different appearance, but the wishes, feelings and instincts are the same.
Art is a formation to reflect words in a visual way.
I am always suprised, that we have never gone to an agreement, how to read this language, but we do it.
Visual forms and lines explain, why, who, when, what... I am exited to go to Japan.
It is very important to have a look at my country from so far, from so different point of view.
As I am alone, it gives me much information about me.
I have possibility to see very exiting country and the same time myself in it.
Am I the same???
It is difficult to expect, how Japan influences my balance.
I can see it later in my pictures.
I want to draw every day one plate in Japan-trip -it is my diary.
Thank you for this possibility.
It is the present for me.

July 2002

JAPAN - it is something more I could  EVER expect -.
Black mountains from the airplane-window, thick clouds and under of them  typhoon in Narita, humid and hot  air - now I know exactly, what it means;
Yuriko-san  -  our first meeting, but we recognize each-other immediately; kind atmosphere from beginning;
A mount of people - warm, shy, helpful, correct people everywhere; and very pretty; fans, black suits;
Quick trains and machines, which eat tickets;
Traffic - it is vice - verse!, but very calm, still, polite;
Electric-posts - like christmas-trees;
Small houses, very small, SO MANY small houses everywhere, free architecture, so narrow streets somewhere;
Very nice children, their eyes, noses, schoolgirls and their uniform;
Green tea - cold and hot, tea-ceremony, and green-tea-ice-cream, beans in the  ice-cream, blue ICE...
My dear friends - Noriko-san and Koichi-san - their  open houses - it is the fairy-tale!
The meetings with printmakers, discussions in magic Japanese restaurants -  tofu and sticks and me, fish and anothers fishes, crabs, calmars, sea-schells, oyster, shrimps, rice and mogitsha - the taste - now I know, these taste like Japan.
Printstudio in artschool - just like  home, in Estonia;
FUJI I saw  from the balcony of Koichi, party there;
Washi-papers, pouders of ink... ;
Galleries, their different spell, it is not easy to find of them;
Kabuki-theatre, Japanese magic music;
Kyoto -  new different feeling , smells - mountains, river,  Tuula-sanユs house,  Buddhistic temples, monks, Shintoistic shrines, geisha, mi-mis, tortoises, crane,  ricksha, Keizo Sato's  printstudio and our wonderful evening in restaurant, its special spell;
Kyoto has deep effect to me - History is nonrecurring...
Drive from Kyoto to Nagano,  new nature, high mountains on  right, small houses, small rice-fields in front of them...,  Nagano - rain there, mountains and mountains - not black at all, how like they looked from airplane,  new smell..., grapes  and apples in the bags on trees ;
Suzaka Hanga Museum,   the noble director of the museum cutting bushes -  fine exhibitions there, well exhibited prints;
Observant , gentle, open people everywhere, new friends - printmakers  and gallerists from Japan, Russia, Holland... -  meetings, opening-ceremony, gallery-talks, demonstrations, hotspring, Ryokan, museum of Hokusai, making and eating  SOBA, fantastic parties,  gifts...feelings...;
Back to Tokyo, rain...
Noriko  handmade-kimono-show - unbeliveable! Her prints! Nostalgic walk in dark Tokyo - river, smell of it, magistral above of it, Asakusa at night;
Koichis  wonderful studio, his new works..., his  small nice Mother, marvellous home of her, The Pacific Ocean, its smell ... skyscrapers, Kanagawa Gallery, China-town, view to ocean... last party,
Imperial Palace; bus-, and taxidrivers with white gloves;
Last evening  in Japan in mr. and mrs. Miyayamas house - fireflies, snakes (I could not see - I am happy...),  expromt mastercourses  and shows of printmakers, ...nostalgia in air...
Airport, warm meeting with mr.Ueda-san there  - to drive 50 km to meet us for some minutes, I can never forget it...
I do not want to forget anybody and anything.
A lot of so deep impressions in two weeks!

It is my  very short diary. All things I have mentioned., they are magic for people from Estonia, from country, where highest mountain is 317 m, where lives 1million estonians and where is already some snow in october. Where all is a little different, but people are inside the same.

My cordial thank to PRINTSAURUS-organisation for this unforgettable Japanese-trip!
My special thanks to  mrs. Noriko Ueda and mr. Koichi Kiyono for their kindness and friendship!
And my special thanks to head of  PRINTSAURUS -mrs. Yuriko Miyoshi- for very hard work to make it all possible!
I remember always these two weeks in Japan, these people, these smells, tastes, feelings - atmosphere!  This trip gave me another dimension to understand  a world and me.
Sincerely yours

Autumn 2002