Mokuhanga in Fujikawaguchiko- Things get Real

by | Apr 21, 2023 | All

The mountain continues to stride the edges of sight. Fuji is unthinkably iminent and lovely. I guess I’ve seen other mountains that were equally beautiful (Cortina, Alaska. and Nepal all have legitimate contenders)… but none more instantly iconic. 

I’ve been in Fujikawaguchiko now for almost a week. I’m part of a five person cohort, drawn from Italy, South Africa (by way of Germany) Columbia, and England (by way of Marin County, California). We’re here for a one month crash course in Mokuhanga (木版画), traditional Japanese water-based printmaking.

Fujikawaguchiko is located in a Lake District- Lake Kawaguchiko (河口湖)is a seven minute walk down the road from the residency building. 

When I was gearing up for my month here, I waffled over whether to bring my paddleboard or not. On the downside, it’s bulky, and I wasn’t 100% sure that I’d be able to use it.

The bulkiness was a legit concern. Between Moscow Idaho and Kawaguchiko, I blew out both back straps, and almost blew out a vertebrate rucking the thing around Shinjuku.

On the the plus side, I now have a month of morning paddling to look forward to.

Our instructors are 千紘 (Chihiro) and 結大 (Yuta) san. They’re definitely earning  their keep – the sessions are intensive- we’ve been working 12-hour days.

Mokuhanga, at least as taught at the Mokuhanga Inovation Lab, emphasizes multiple blocks, water-based inks… and an excruciatingly meticulous level of attention to detail. We has a crash course over several days- both hands on and contextual. Among other things, we were asked to develop and complete a design on the fly- more on that process later.

Aside from the work, I’ve been experiencing a relentless, low-level fugue state over the food. It’s freaking awesome. MI-Lab contracts with a local chef. We get insanely intricate bento boxes for lunch. Dinners range from sushi to hot pot (as in the photo below, served by Sato-san, our host, guide and sensei in all things non-Mokuhanga.

Or, you could just wander down to the local convenience store and get a Japanese waffle, creme-filled and fish shaped. Woot!

David Roon

David Roon

An artist working at the interface of visual art and Conservation Biology, and a professor at the University of Idaho (Natural Resources and Society).

Mixed media and printmaking, with a strong grounding in ceramics. Exploring the interface between humans and the global biosphere (particularly coastal and marine ecosystems). Installation, sculpture, and ginormous functional pots.

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1 Comment

  1. Robert Roon

    No waffling!




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