Week 2

What a hot week! Summer in Japan is no joke. I don’t think I’ve ever been in such a hot country!

This week we’ve work on many different things. The week started with self-introduction presentations. We decided that a presentation would be a nice way to get to know everyone. We also decided to have a dinner party to complement the presentations. Before cooking, 4 of the residents (including me) did a brief self introduction with a classic power point presentation. After that, Neha (an artists from India) cooked Indian food for all of us. It was delicious!

During the dinner we talked about the design of the future art exhibition flyer. In the past, artists have come up with very creative and fun design/photography ideas for the flyer. So we had to think of this year’s amazing idea. Since this summer has been remarkable, we all agreed on taking a photo of all the residents in the river’s waterfall “refreshing”. (I will update on how this in the next blog).

This week I was assigned with fixing the studio’s online shop, adding new merch on the instagram shop, and make some posts in the account. It was interesting trying to figure out how “WooComerce” and “Printful” work. Many things have changed after the pandemic. By the end of the week, we fixed the shop and got our first order!

We also worked on creating a system to archive the works that artists donate to the residency. I think this is one of the biggest challenges we have. We’re still working on it. On top of that, we were preparing everything for the ceramics workshop. It was a success! Many locals signed up for the workshop and created beautiful pots, cups, and cats! This was a very warm and fun experience. During the workshop, we took a lot of pictures for social media!

Finally, during my free time this week, I’ve been going on walks, exploring, saying hi to cats, and eating. Here’s some pictures!

Week 1

It’s been almost a week since I got to Japan. So many things have happened!

Traveling and getting to Onishi was definitely an enriching experience. I don’t speak Japanese so I knew it was going to be a challenge for me to get through the airport and use the train system. However, Narita airport is very easy to navigate and there’s always someone willing to help.

Rory and I took 2 trains and a taxi in order to get to Onishi. The train was always on time and navigating the platforms was a little complicated but somehow we didn’t get lost or miss our trains. After a couple of hours we got to the Shiro Oni artists residency! Here, Kjell (owner of the studio) and Mark (returning artists) welcomed us and gave us a tour of the house.

The next morning we met Motoe, a Japanese artist staying in the residency. After breakfasts Kjell gave everyone a tour around the town and to the different studios he owns. He introduced us to the locals. Many of them run their own businesses. There’s nice restaurants, cafes, and other interesting stores. There’s also a small school where there’s no grading system or rules! Kids were having a LOT of fun.

I really like the town! Here’s a small list why:

  • Small town
  • Everyone knows each other
  • Walkable town (there’s sidewalks almost to everywhere)
  • There’s cats everywhere
  • The town is surrounded by mountains
  • There’s 2 rivers
  • There’s nice food available 24/7
  • Most people are nice and kind

Food is really nice here! But if you are looking for something fast and affordable 7eleven is the place to go. There’s one very near the house and it’s an incredible experience (I feel that 7eleven needs it’s own post) The store is very different from the ones in the US. Here you can find so many different things but what it’s remarkable it’s the food. They have really nice to-go food. There’s a variety of options and so far everything I’ve tried has been delicious.

Fressay market is also a good place to find food and to get ingredients to cook. The market is 30 minutes away walking and 15 in bike. They have everything you need to cook a delicious meal! The supermarket was a fun experience!

Finally, we’ve been welcoming new artists to the house and having meetings and dinners together (we had a gyoza party) to plan and organize the workshops and events for July. We have a lot of fun activities to work on. I’ll talk more about it next week! See you soon!

Pre-departure

Hello! my name is Luisa Jhong, an international student from Peru. I’m a senior Marketing and Graphic Design major at Illinois Wesleyan University. This summer I’ll be an intern at Shiro Oni Studio in Onishi Japan! I’m so excited for this opportunity 🙂 Follow along as I post more about this journey!