June 2015

An heart whelming time in Rikuzentakata

Back in June I did visit Mrs.Oikawa and Mrs.Kano at Rikuzentakata. We did spend 2 days together and did enjoy a wonderful lunch with all Tohoku Grandmas from Rikuzentakata. I was touched to have all of them gathering from different parts, just to see me… ! After lunch Mrs.Oikawa and Mrs.Kano did take me for sight seeing around Rikuzentakata and I am impressed how beautiful this ares actually is! Sea and mountains next to each other –  in their full beauty and  richness! I will definitively come back again to see my friends!

The new Takata Senior High School

In May 2015 (just few weeks before my visit) the new Takata Senior Highschool did open their doors for children and teachers. The new school building is located much higher now and is overviewing the sea and forest. I was so happy to meet Mrs. Yamaguchi the home economics teacher again after so many years. I remember when everything did start. I met Mrs. Yamaguchi with the school director Mr.Kudo back in 2011, few months after the great earthquake. She is doing well and the Bernina machines which Bernina International did donate in 2011 and 2012 are frequently used by the students in the after school Fashion and sewing program.

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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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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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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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January 2013

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