May 2014

This May, I visited Japan again to continue on one side, my projects in Rikuzentakata and, on the other side, to make the firsts step in supporting the  traditional textile industry in Japan which is highly threatened.

 

With Nobuyoshi Araki for Tohoku

My dear friend and photographer Nobuyoshi Araki is recently taking pictures of the sky towards the north. He is impressed by the the collaboration with the women in Rikuzentakata. I gave him a pin cushion as a present and he was very fond of it. Thank you Akaki-san for your lovely support!

 

Drive to Rikuzentakata

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Thank you Mrs Kanno for picking me up from the trainstation and driving me to Rikuzentakata. We had a wonderful chat during the drive.

 

Rikuzentakata under construction

This time, the achievements in rebuilding the new city of Rikuzentakata were clearly visible. They built a giant conveyor belt to transport earth to the place, where the new city will be built up. In memory of the great earthquake, they are not going to break down a big destroyed building in Rikuzentacata but leave it there to remember all the victims.

 

Selfmade lunch 

The Tohoku Grandmas prepared a traditional Japanese dish for me. It was delicious!

 

Visit of a silk chirimen weaving factory and a screen printing manufacture

I visited one of the last remaining silk chirimen weaver based in Nagahama on the lake of Biwa. The owner, Mr Yoshida is aware of traditional weaving techniques. These  little white doughnut-shaped ceramics are used as weight to control the silkthreads. This technique is from the Edo period, 300 years ago. The bamboos are very old, too and they’re also based on an ancient traditional weaving technique. Mrs Yoshida and her team are checking the quality of each roll by ey. That is why hama-chirimen is the worlds finest silk for kimono. When I was in Kyoto, I visited a chirimen print supplier and selected some new designs for my upcoming collection. In the screen print manufacture, I’ve seen that all prints are still handmade. They use a special method of handpainting on a hanging cloth with a big brush, though sometimes it is a very precise work.

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April 2014

First General Assembly of the Three Cranes Association

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First General Assembly of the Three Cranes Association took place on April 23 in Zurich.

We would like to thank all the members who came to our first General Assembly. It was wonderful  to  look back  and share the past developments and achievements within our projects since the establishment in April 2013.

None of these progresses would  have been possible without the great support and interest of each member and donator.

Again, we would like to thank all of you for sharing this memorable day!

 

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March 2014

Pin cushions are now available in Japan

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Three Cranes Association established together with traffic Inc. the Three Cranes Association Japan.

Feel free to contact and please order the new pin cushions made by the ladies in Rikuzentakata  three-cranes-association@traffic-pr.com, +81 3 3725 88 77

 

Broadcasting on 3-111

In memory of those affected by the devasting earthquake on March 11, 2011 NHK  broadcasted the documentary film about Kazu Huggler’s commitment in Rikuzentakata worldwide and in English.

http://www.nhk.or.jp/japan311/tomorrow/

Date & Time of broadcast was:

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

NHK World
1:30 AM, 5:30 AM, 9:30 AM, 01:30 PM, 05:30 PM 09:30 PM (UTC) London Time

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January 2014

New Year’s Meeting at Rikuzentakata

In January 2014, I visited the Tohoku Grandmas  in Rikuzentakata. It was their first working day in the new year and we celebrated this special occasion wishing each other a fruitful and successful year.

I was touched by their invitation for lunch where they served  a typical Japanese dish. We enjoyed the time together  and I was happy to exchange about our family lives.

Since my visit in Rikuzentakata back in summer 2013, the Tohoku Grandmas achieved a remarkable improvement of their efficiency in producing orders.  The Year 2013 was a very fertile year for our collaboration.

The Grandmas produced towards 2000 articles which were ordered internationally.

For 2014, I brought along some new ideas for more products. We discussed our notions in details during the meeting. Each time I meet the Grandmas, I  am very impressed how creative they are in finding technical solutions for the production of new items. They love devellopping new designs, too. For me as a fashion designer, it is such an enrichment to share their inspiring knowledge about traditional Japanese handcraft.

This year is the 150th anniversary of diplomatic and friendship relations between Japan and Switzerland. We will keep you posted about our promising new products that are coming soon in 2014!

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November 2013

Pre-Christmas Charity Shopping at KAZU

We were pleased to welcoming so many guests!

The Tohoku Grandmas products were a big successs for this year’s Christmas presents. Our studio turned into a screening room where the documentary sequel of TOMORROW beyond 3.11 was shown hourly. The guests were very interested and our little cinema was well attended.

Thank you Ile Four and Laurent-Perrier for sponsoring delicous Yuzu Sake and Champagne. We were indulged at the highest level!

 

 Announcement of NHK Documentary film sequel

 

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NHK, the Japanese TV station reports on Kazu Huggler’s ongoing project with the Tohoku Grandmas of Rikuzentakata.

Tune in TOMORROW for a TV series on new movements for change after the March 2011 disaster.

TOMORROW Tohoku Grandmas succeed in the world

NHK Main Chanel Japan

Date: Sunday, November 3 2013

Time: 10:05am – 10:48am

 

 

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September 2013

Welcome to Switzerland, Mrs.Oikawa and Mrs.Kanno!

 

Tohoku Grandmas on their business meeting at Modissa Zürich

Tohoku Grandmas stay in Zürich started with a business meeting at Modissa in Zürich. Modissa is a traditional department store specialized for women’s wear and knit, located at the main shopping street of Zürich called Bahnhofstrasse. Mr.Jan Pierre Kuhn was interested to see the products of designed my me and hand made by the Tohoku Grandmas of Rikuzentakata. Mrs.Oikawa and Mrs.Kanno did present the tote-bagsa and Kinchaku pouches in a very touching and charming way. Well done and congratulations! We are sure that soon their products will be show cased at Bahnhofstrasse in Zürich!

 

The first trip to Bernina International at Steckborn, who did invite the grandmas to Switzerland

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Mrs.Oikawa and Mrs.Kanno did enjoy being introduced to the process of manufacturing Bernina sewing machines in Steckborn. In front of Bodensee, a lake facing three countries; Switzerland, Germany and Austria. After a boat trip they did visit Stein am Rhein, the most impressive waterfall of Europe.

 

Kimono Sweing and Furoshiki Performence in BERNINA Zurich with Tohoku Grandmas

We were overwhelmed by so many guests joining the evening with the grandmas. Mrs. Oikawa is a professional Kimono tailor since 20 years and until the earthquake she hand stitched approximately 260 Kimono per year. There was no day which she did spend without holding a needle. Since 3.11 she stopped making Kimonos. For that evening she did find the motivation to start again and did complete a Yukata in front of the audience. It was a very touching moment for all of us and we enjoyed it a lot to share this special moment with her. Mrs.Kanno did present how to wrap a gift with Furoshiki and the guests did like it a lot. It shows the spirit of Kimono and it is very ecological way to warp a gift. It was the premiere of my new design, a needle cushion made with ceramics and Japanese print.We did sell a lot of them and received more orders. We would like to thank Bernina Zürich for making this event possible!

 

Kimono Sweing and Furoshiki Performence in Museum Bellerive Zurich with Tohoku Grandmas

Museum Bellerive is located right next to the lake of Zürich and is one of the most beautiful museums of Switzerland. At the occasion of an exhibition “The Empire of Folds – Fashion and Textile Art from Japan” we had the great opportunity to present Tohoku Grandmas performances again. At this day the museum was completely full by visitors wanting to meet the grandmas and learn about their textile skills. It was a tremendous success which non of us did expect in such scale. Many thanks to Mrs. Jacqueline Greenspan and Ms. Sonja Gutknecht for making this event possible!

 

Farewell party at my parent’s home

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July 2013

The Tohoku Grandmas are coming to Switzerland

In Summer 2013 I visited the Grandmas to prepare their trip to Switzerland. Their debuting product which I did design few month ago is ready to be presented in Zürich. I was very happy to see how enthusiastic and motivated the grandmas are. I had a chance to visit Mrs.Oikawa at her parents home, where she did start to cut her very fist Kimono for the first time after 3.11. It was a very special and personal moment for me to see her getting back to her profession of a Kimono tailor. Mrs.Kanno did show us her house which she and her husband did build one month ago. She said she was lucky to be the first of the grandmas to build her own house after tsunami, because they did own a property on the hill side of Rikuzentakata. See you again in Zürich!

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October 2012

I was determined to assist the students by spending my time and by visiting with them. During my visits, I shared my experiences as a
fashion designer and taught them fashion and sewing skills as a means of finding the joy of creating something new after a period of great loss.

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March 2012

When I visited Takata High School for the second time six months later, the school was closed due to a flu epidemic. Mr. Kudo, the director of the school, and Ms. Yamaguchi, the home economics teacher, welcomed me into the empty school building.

I said to myself: “How lifeless a school can be, when the students are missing…”
Since my previous visit in October 2011, and together with Mrs.Yamaguchi, I had developed and worked on the Takata High School Fashion and Sewing Project. It is about showing the students the joy of being creative during such a difficult time. Because the students were absent, I gave the fabrics, materials and samples for textile accessories to Mrs.Yamaguchi, and discussed how the workshops could work.
When I entered the director’s room, I saw that he had put portraits of each student who had lost their life in the tsunami in black frames and hung them on the wall.
“When I am tired and on the limit, they tell me not to give up”, he said, while telling me stories about the students on the wall. It was like I had met them personally.
In the evening I met Mr.Tamura, a member of the Board of Education in the Iwate prefecture. Soon after March 11, it was he who had advised me to donate the sewing machines to Takata High School.
He said: “The citizens of the affected areas are facing a much more difficult time now. The attention and support of the public and the media has unfortunately reduced very much, and this loss is extremely perceptible.”
My long coach journey back to the station was filled with sadness.
I looked at the landscape and the citizens, and thought: “Nothing has changed. How hopeless the citizens of Rikutezentakata must feel, if the rebuilding is taking such a long time.”
Then, right away, I started to plan my next journey to Rikuzentakata.

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