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6/1/16

Yumiko Kayukawa's "Ichigo Miruku (Strawberry Milk)" is our June image. It is acrylic and ink on canvas (36x18) and is from 2006. The painting features Yumiko's heroine relaxing in a "strawberry milk" onsen. She is joined by a friendly-looking crocodile, who is also enjoying the onsen. Yumiko's signature sakura, ume, and kiku frame the foreground and background of the painting. It's a whimsical scene, which is perfect for June, as we transition from Spring to Summer. The strawberries are in season this month, and it's already beach weather, which means Summer is almost here! Just a few more weeks! But that's just a technicality, isn't it? I'm looking forward to it. Here's to a great June!



5/1/16

Yumiko Kayukawa's "Choucho No Tabi (Journey of Butterfly)" is our May image. It is acrylic and ink on canvas (26x16) and is from 2012. The painting features Yumiko's heroine sitting in a field of daffodils on a Spring day. She is joined by a couple of young foxes and dozens of pink butterflies. Meanwhile, two caterpillars are crawling up her leg, while another two (in the pupa stage) have attached to her arm, illustrating the lifecycle (or "journey") of the butterfly. It's a beautiful scene, which is perfect for May. The Spring flowers are blooming, and butterflies have already started to appear. Hopefully we'll see some baby animals this month too! May is always one of the most beautiful months of the year. I'm looking forward to it! Here's to a great May!



4/1/16

Yumiko Kayukawa's "Pinku (Pink)" is our April image. It is acrylic and ink on canvas (24x16) and is from 2011. The painting features Yumiko's heroine standing in water on a tropical island on a moonlit evening. She is wearing a kimono, which she is holding to keep it above the water. She is joined by a large group of flamingos. The painting is framed on top by several sakura trees, which are dropping petals into the water. It's a beautiful image, which is perfect for the first full month of Spring. The sakura will be blooming throughout the month of April, which means it's time for Ohanami, the annual celebration of Spring and the flowers of Spring. Sakura in full-bloom are one of nature's most beautiful creations. And sitting under them, watching the petals blowing in the wind is always a special experience, if even for just a moment! I'm looking forward to it! Here's to a great April!



3/1/16

Yumiko Kayukawa's "Kitaguni No Haru (Spring in Northern Country)" is our March image. It is acrylic and ink on canvas (12x16) and is from 2011. The painting features Yumiko's heroine standing on the edge of a birch forest in early Spring. She is joined by eight flying squirrels--three on her shoulders, and five who are descending from the trees. The squirrels are holding dandelions, which they are placing in the heroine's hair. Meanwhile, four butterflies are fluttering in the background. It's a beautiful scene, which reminds us that Spring is just around the corner, as we transition from Winter to Spring this month. Luckily, it was a mild Winter this year, so signs of Spring are arriving a little earlier this year. I'm looking forward to it! Here's to a great March!



2/1/16

Yumiko Kayukawa's "Kamae (Charge)" is our February image. It is acrylic and ink on canvas (18x28) and is from 2011. The painting features Yumiko's heroine in a snowy field. She is wearing a black kimono with red lining, and is holding a sword in one hand, and a torch in the other. She is joined by a herd of serious-looking musk oxen, including five adults and a juvenile in the front, and is about to lead a "charge." Although usually somewhat happy-go-lucky, Yumiko's heroine is occasionally forced to defend the things that she loves. In this case, I'd like to think that the heroine and the musk oxen are taking a symbolic stand against the harshness of Winter, as we "charge" towards Spring! Although usually bitterly cold, February also brings the first sign of Spring with the emergence of ume (plum blossoms) in Japan. Ume are known to blossom in freezing temperatures when snow is still on the ground, creating one of nature's most beautiful sights. Unfortunately, ume are rare here in the U.S., but we can dream about them as we're enjoying one more month of cold, snowy weather! And, after all, February is the shortest month of the year! I'm looking forward to it. Here's to a great February!



1/5/16

We added a new feature/page to the site today called Experience Japanese Culture in New York, which has 75 ways that you can experience Japanese culture throughout the year! It is loosely organized by season, starting with the New Year, and ending with New Year's Eve. If you manage to do all of them in a single year, I think you win a prize! Please let me know if you do! We also added a new koi pond to our "Culture" page, which has a single (lonely) koi for January. We'll add a new koi each month. So, please check out our new "Culture" page and please feed the koi (by clicking on the pond)! They're always hungry!



1/1/16

Happy New Year! Yumiko Kayukawa's "Tsuru (Crane)" is our January image. It is acrylic and ink on canvas (24x16) and is from 2013. The painting features Yumiko's heroine in a snowy field under the moonlight. She is wearing a wedding kimono with a traditional headpiece and gold kiku in her hair, and is sipping hot sake from a red sakazuki. She is joined by five tanchozuru (red-crowned cranes), who are in the midst of a celebratory courtship dance. A single red fox is sitting in the background, enjoying the festivities. The painting is framed by Yumiko's signature ume (plum blossoms), in addition to matsu (pine) and take (bamboo), which are traditionally displayed for the New Year. It's a beautiful image, which conveys the feelings of joy, hope, anticipation, optimism, and uncertainty that we all feel at the beginning of the year! And the ume remind us that the cold Winter will soon be followed by the glorious Spring. But, first let's enjoy the first full month of Winter and the New Year! I'm looking forward to it! Here's to a great January and a great 2016 - Year of the Monkey!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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