Posted by on 23 June 2011 in Blog | 2 comments

こんにちは! Hello! A special welcome to the Japanese readers of this blog. I’m aware that some of my most recent website visitors have been in Japan. It is so easy to fall in love with Japan. 日本がだいすきです。I love Japan. I returned to Australia earlier this week and I already miss Japan very much.

I have not been very good at blogging about my residency but here is a post that I really wanted to do…

As part of my residency, I spoke at various classes for my host organisation, Aichi Shukutoku University, as well as Chukyo University. One of my favourite classes involved me running a collage workshop for creative writing students at Chukyo University. I briefly spoke to the students about collage and showed some examples of collage (including examples from Japanese artists and Australian zinesters). The students had already brought along their own materials for collage and I brought along some stuff too, including Australian zines for the students to cut up and re-mix. They worked together in groups to produce collage pieces. The only rule was that their pieces needed to have some text, and this text had to include Japanese and English. But the nature of that text was up to them.

The students produced some great work. I was impressed with their wit and inventiveness – so much so, that I got their permission to post photos of their work. There are many photos that I could show here – all of the students produced good work – but I’m going to limit myself to 5 photos showing details from various pieces. This is just a sample of how the students creatively used text and images.

Let’s start with my favourite use of English among the pieces, which works even better due to the juxtaposition of the accompanying photo:

Free sex baby 0%

That delightful instance of wit is a detail from a larger piece, Lip Service News, by Minami Okamura, Hirona Nakano, Chiho Matsubara, Karin Fujita, and Mai Yogo. I liked their piece so much that I’ve included another detail from it below:

We are lesbians - is there anything wrong with that?!

The Japanese writing in the above photo translates to “We are lesbians – so what?!”

I was hoping that some of the students would combine English and Japanese in the one phrase, sentence or word. Japanese writing is itself a fascinating system that comprises 3 writing scripts or systems: katakana (used mostly for used for loanwords, foreign words and names, and onomatopoeia), hiragana (used for Japanese words) and kanji (Chinese characters). (I really enjoyed learning Japanese writing during my residency and intend to learn more in Australia, but that’s another story).

Anyway, Ayaka Era and Natsumi Morizono didn’t disappoint me. Not only did their piece have my favourite title of all the pieces in the workshop (Stupid People), but it included this sentence, which uses English and Japanese (in this case, katakana and kanji). It translates to “My Mens – Wanted!”

My Mens

Fuki and Ikumi’s piece, World is One, contained the following re-imagining of a certain famous statue. I really like the crown of text in particular.

Statue of Liberty

Finally, I loved this rendering of the Japanese flag in the piece, Love, by Misa Lee, Ayuka Matsuo and Aiko Kamei. This depiction uses a page from an Australian zine, combined with a piece of fabric:

Japanese flag on Australian zine background

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