Freitag, 26. Juni 2015


by Ulli Lust

 „Traveling is not good for you,“ said the Shinto oracle in Miyashima. Yes, I agree, but this trip to Japan was one of the most inspiring I ever made. My colleague Friedrich Weltzien and me were invited to teach workshops at the university for arts in Hiroshima. Hiroshima is the first place we see in Japan.  On our way from the airport we cross the river Ota, the name evokes images of floating bodies like in the manga by Keiji Nakazawa. "Survivors wanted to cool their burned skin in the river. But there is salt in water from the inland sea, there was no cooling" Charles Worthen, Professor for Sculpture, told us:  „They still find bones in the river mud sometimes.“

This summer is the 70th anniversary of this men made catastrophe. Charles told me that there are not many survivors left.  The next generations are still traumatized, he said: "I saw young people wince when they see a plane in the sky over Hiroshima. Planes over Hiroshima are rare, it's strange, as if they redirected the routes out of respect."  
In the peace museum I saw the photo of a woman, the pattern of her kimono was burned into her skin. Black surfaces absorbed the extreme heat during the short moment of the explosion much more than white ones. Thus, even a shadow got burned into the lighter surface of a stone.

Artwork by Yoshihiko Shikada, exhibited in an former bank building. 

This safe in the basement of the former bank was not affected by the atomic explosion.
Yet, there is a sign at the door: "Don't touch this door. It could get rusty." 
I couldn't resist the temptation to exert this much power over so mighty a door. I had to touch the shiny steel with my destructive hands.
The University is located on a hill outside the city.
Hiroko translates Prof. Friedrich Weltziens introduction.

In his workshop the students play with patches and blobs.

me talking

The ones that joined my manga workshop were sent outside to collect obscure observations in daily life. Here one student describs his finds. 
Thanks to modern technology some presented their observations on the big screen: Here we see a man steeling flowers in the park.
The hard work

some of my observations in hiroshima
Onishi san in Shinonome makes the most delicious sushi. His restaurant can accomodate a maximum of eight guests.
Wasabi was prepared fresh by robbing the root on sharkskin.
An everyday meal in Japan is the "Bento Box". I whish, not only Sushi would be exported in any city of the world, but also the concept of the Bento Box: Lots of small portions of tasty cooked and marinated vegetables, fish, and rice. I love it!!!
Photo: Inside Shinkansen from Hiroshima to Kyoto.
Manga Museum in Kyoto

Storyboard for a manga page
Jaqueline Berndt, Professor at the Kyoto Seika University and Shuezo Ueda, Director of the Manga Museum, during a Symposium about Japanese pop culture.

The river Ota in a manga by Kouno Fumiyo
One of Kouno Fumiyos tiny sketchbooks


I never thought about wrapping a scarf around a bottle, or a box, or a flowerpot.

In Japan, construction sites also get wrapped.

Of course we did our tourist duty and visited places like Miyashima Island.

Bento Boxes with Unadon

Friedrich Weltzien, Ebisawa Tatsuo, Charles Worthen

Friedrich Weltzien, Ebisawa Tatsuo, me (Photo: Charles Worthen)

A sign warns visitors of this temple,"Don't lay down on your back, don't lay down on your side or on your belly. Don't lay down in this temple."

Where do mothers put their babies, when they - the mothers - have to pee? Ever thought about that? In japanese public toilets, there are special baby seats.
Japanese fathers are not in need, these helpful installations we only found in women's toilets. 

Nara: captial of Japan for exactly 74 years from 710 until 784 a.c.


Friedrich and me had to try these "kawai" foto boxes, which make girls look more cute: they make the eyes bigger, the forhead higher, the chin more narrow, the body more slim.
I talked Friedrich into visiting this studio. But the female fotographer declined the job: "We don't do pictures of everybody." To be photographed there, you have to be a young, good-looking Japanese, and the photo is then additionally manipulated to make it look artificial. We showed her our cutie fotos from the foto box, she started laughing out loud. But still refused to make the foto.
Friedrich took the dissipation like a man. (I would have cried.)

When the little cuties from the pet shop grow too fast, they probably end up here, helping to collect donations for an animal protection association 
We were lucky travelers: Raining season paused until the last day of our trip.