First time when I met a Japanese journalist, Ms. Hiroko Wakai, was in 2010 at a big design exhibition called HIRAMEKI DESIGN x FINLAND in Tokyo. She asked interviewing me who was exhibiting among Finnish designers as a Japanese designer living and working in Finland.
Probably in the same year,I heard from Hiroko that she was planning to produce a space combining an art gallery and a bookstore. She has been making enormous effort to make it happen with help of professional people around her like designers, artists and a translator. And now she managed to open the Books and Modern website in this month, and gallery will open on the 3rd September.
And we made a Books and Modern's original version of Folding Bag for selling at the gallery. She had an idea to use 2 colors in one bag, and suggested 2 combinations of color felt. I was surprised when I actually made the bags according to her color suggestion because they really go well and I never imagined to choose those colors together. She also sent me her idea sketch of handle and joint part to make it narrower so that it gives more compact fit on your shoulder.
During exchanging e-mails with her, she mentioned particularly a list of future exhibitors, MUTE which designs the website, and illustrator Mihoko Seki who created the lovely stencil illustration on the top page of the website. I was amazed to know that there are so many talented people around her, and I could easily imagine that she appreciate their works like as treasures. Hiroko is a person who works with love and never goes to a short cut, even when she has too many works to do.
I anticipated reading her e-mails because her writing has a kind of fever like an aftereffect of her passion as a professional writer. And I had to upset to read a line in her message, "Would you like to write serial essay on my website?". Of course I thought it would be embarrassing to show my writing to such a professional writer, but after all, I said "Yes". I sent the first draft to her, and my heart was beating fast when I opened her reply. ... But I found that she was good at praising, too :). I will write about things that stay in my mind in the essay.
Books and Modern website is bilingual (Japanese and English). Professional translator translated my Japanese text in English and I had to upset again... you know why, because native English can express much further, being different from my simple and probably strange English. In writing, Japanese language could be left ambiguous (that is one of the characteristics of Japanese), but not in English. I felt like that my Japanese was rearranged vertically and horizontally, and decorations were undressed to show its nature.
There are 3 more contributors from the overseas, and each of them embraces interesting personality.
And Hiroko wrote about our meeting and the process that the original version of Folding bag was born, by her own words.
Design, art and books. Books and Modern, created by main force of Hiroko who is active in curating and writing. I am hopeful that it will be a space where you can be absorbed in the beauty of writing and art thoroughly.
Books and Modern
201 Palais Nogizaka
Tuesday to Saturday
and Sunday during an exhibition session
12:00 – 19:00
Sunday and Monday
1 minutes from Exit 2 of Nogizaka Station of Chiyoda Line
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