Exhibit of Art by famous Fukushimer (and extremely talented) Sato Gengen

I needed to return books I’ve used for my job and for my volunteer work. Also, I wanted to borrow books for research for the manuscript I am now working on.  In the photo, you can see Fukushima Prefectural Library.

My apologies for the slanted horizon. When I took the photo, I was concentrating on getting the front of the library plus the trees in the distance. You can see the leaves changing, although so far our weather has been very mild. (Too mild, in my opinion.)

See the front windows? During the Big Quake of 2011, they shattered completely. (I know this because the library has photos of the damage done by the quake.)

Because we are inland, though, Fukushima City’s buildings were NOT affected by the tsunami. The city is very far from the coast.

After the library, I headed next door to the Fukushima Prefectural Art Museum. I go to all its exhibits because I purchased a one-year pass. (A good deal!)

This exhibit was amazing! (I could not take photos inside the actual exhibit. In the photo, I am in the lobby.)

It was mostly statues and woodwork. The artist was born 130 years ago in what is now Fukushima Prefecture’s Soma Town. I asked if this artist is famous all over Japan, and was told that he is. After I saw his work, I definitely believed it. His work is fantastic!

I was told that though he grew up in Fukushima, he left for college in Tokyo. Then he studied in Paris. The first part of the exhibit appeared non-Japanese–it looked influenced by European and Egyptian art. But the end of the exhibit was definitely Japanese-influenced. I can’t describe it, but I loved it.

There was one section that had sculptures of animals—and I had flashbacks to a zoo when I looked at a lizard basking on wood in a glass case! That made me think that it would be interesting to sculpt small animals (lizards, snakes, frogs) and display them in cases–like an actual herpetarium. That would be fun.

Here’s more info about Sato Gengen. (If you are wondering, Gengen–a cool name–is not his birth name. Like many Japanese artists and writers, he changed his own name to a pen name.)


Gonna Take Hardest Level of Japanese Language Proficiency Test

I received my test voucher yesterday so I’m all set!

Luckily, the testing venue is just down the street from my home.

It’s a test for foreigners to gauge their Japanese ability. It’s basically reading, grammar and listening skills.  (I don’t have to write or speak.)

I don’t know many people who have passed it. It’s very difficult for a non-native speaker of Japanese.

I’ve passed N2 (the second hardest level.) N2 is generally what is required to get a job in the field of Japanese.

This is my first time taking N1 and I don’t expect to pass it. My knowledge just isn’t there. I’m taking it more to go through the motions and get a good feel for the test.

School Book Reading….

As a library volunteer, I go to the classrooms and read picture books to the students. But once a year, all the volunteers get together and we read a picture book together to all the students in the school.

The library volunteer leader chose Leo Lionni’s “Little Blue and Little Yellow.” I read it in English, alternating page by page with volunteers who read it in Japanese.

I did not make the blue and yellow circles! The leader made them.

It’s held in the gym, and kids watch the story on a screen as we read it.

My reward afterwards….Snack Time!!!!!!!!!