The 800-Year Old Japanese Craft Heritage of Tamba Pottery

Originally written for Voyapon / Part of a 4-day trip to mainland Japan exploring Kyoto, Hyogo, and Fukui prefectures in January, 2020. When I was a kid, my mother thought it was best to keep my brother and I occupied with a myriad of craft-making camps and workshops that filled our summer vacations. What probably…

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The Swordsmith of Arao, Kyushu

Originally written for Voyapon Sponsored by Northern Kumamoto Administrative Headquarters “Strike while the irons hot.” I always knew what this meant, though never witnessed it in its complete, literal meaning. That is, until one a stormy day, while the furnace roars and hammers clang, as Mr. Matsunaga of Arao, Kumamoto leads us into the elusive…

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Ontayaki Pottery Village

We are lucky to be in Kyushu, as it homes some of the most famous pottery styles and techniques in all of Japan. One of these is Onta-yaki, a small town rich in decades of pottery history. On a cool, cloudy weekend day, we took a 2 hour drive to Onta. As we drive, we…

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