Tosu, Saga

Today I had a chance to meet with the wonderful Ichiro Matsuo, of the kiln 魚蓮 坊 (Gyorenbou) in the hills of Tosu in Saga Prefecture. Ichiro san is a 2nd generation ceramicist (and the brother of our lovely Japan side manager, Nanako san) who has been working, teaching and lecturing all over the world since...well, since as long as he can remember. You may recognize some of the glaze in these photos - Ichiro san worked with us to create our Houhin and cup. He has a serene sense about him- never in a rush, always open to talking, and incredibly hospitable. And he has every reason to be in a hurry - he's quite in demand. This month alone he will have an opening celebrating his new paper sculptures, a full schedule of teaching at University, preparation for works that will be fired in April, and volunteering his time at the local hospital teaching a ceramics-as-stress-relief course. An inspiring guy indeed. Did I mention he loves to eat and drink? After a tour of the Kiln, he took us all to his go to Yakitori spot where a full menu of Chicken sashimi, chicken skin, Chicken hearts and countless other gems were enjoyed. And if I didn't love the guy enough already: After our feast he insisted we go for Ramen. He wanted to show us an "interesting" style of Pork broth ramen which was incredible indeed. We agreed its the "blue cheese" of Ramen...Ok, maybe that is hard to understand if you weren't there. But If there was ever a cure for jet lag, that was it.

We are excited to filming a short documentary on Ichiro san, which will include his upcoming April firing. Stay tuned.