« Mystique Series #18 : Printing done! | Main | Update to yesterday's post about the flooded prints ... »

She Floats!

Posted by Dave Bull at 2:28 AM, January 26, 2012 [Permalink]

Everybody has heard of course about the huge triple disaster that hit this country last spring - the earthquake, tidal wave, and nuclear plant problems - but not too many overseas friends heard about the 'second wave' of trouble we had last year.

A couple of major typhoons swept across many parts of the country, and these were of the 'once in a hundred years' type. Although not on the same scale as the devastation up north, they caused a huge amount of damage, and also many deaths.

As it happens, the village where my children's mother grew up was greatly affected, both by floods and landslides. One of my long-time collectors - Mr. Shigeyoshi Ushiro - lives there, and I wrote about him in a newsletter story many years ago, featuring the log house he was building at the time.

Well, I have sad news to report. His house - although built on what everybody thought to be completely safe ground, well up from the river - was flooded up to the second story. Pretty much everything inside was destroyed ...

He doesn't have any video of the event, but he took a number of photos, and threaded them into a slideshow he has uploaded to YouTube:

And at 4:19 in that video, press the pause button and take a look. Over at the left, sitting on top of a pile of stuff, is a small brown box with a print on top. Here's a screenshot:

Yes, Ushiro-san was able to report to me that the Mystique of the Japanese Print set has a 'feature' that I can't honestly say that I planned ... it floats.

The box was picked up from the desk by the rising water, and deposited there in the next room when the levels receded again. He says that the prints inside are fine, and that the one on display on top must have just sat there peacefully while the box sailed around the room.

The rest of the news is not so good. Ushiro-san has been collecting my prints since 1989, and has everything I have made. They were in two places: the '100 Poets' set was in a room upstairs, where it came through completely unscathed.

But all the rest - the Surimono Albums, the Beauties series, and everything else - were on shelves under the stairs. And no, they didn't float.

I've talked to Ushiro-san about replacing many of them from my 'overstock' here, but he has asked me to hold off 'for now'. He's not quite sure how he wants to proceed with his life from here on, and it sounds like he will be abandoning the log house, and returning to the city. He really doesn't seem to be in much of a mood to accumulate things just now. There isn't much I can do about it, but wait and see what he decides ...


Following comment posted by: Albert A on January 27, 2012 12:50 AM

I'm certainly not going to forget that typhoon season.

Before Raven and I came out to Ome to visit you, I took my parents up to Koya-san. Still some weeks after hurricane Talas, there was still damage. A downed railroad bridge turned what could have been a shiny fast express train ride into something more resembling an actual pilgrimage!

And then we were traveling through Nagoya on our way up to the mountains the day Roke hit. Not the best day to be in that part of the world; we ended up stuck there overnight. (fortunately we realized this and bailed to a hotel early enough to easily find a room near the station. Our hotel was totally full that night and turning people away)

Following comment posted by: Anita Cage on January 27, 2012 6:00 AM

Please convey my thanks to Mr. Shigeyoshi Ushiro for sharing the excellent slideshow of his photographs. The music is perfect for the heartbreak one feels when surveying the remains of such a disaster. Many here in New Orleans also have known the sadness of losing a unique home. Even when some possessions miraculously float to safety, nothing is as it was; it has all been touched by the storm. It seems strange that something so impersonal as a flood can feel so personally violating. Only time and a great deal of hard work--and help--moves us forward. My deepest sympathy and very best wishes to all those affected by the disasters Japan has suffered this past year.

Following comment posted by: Sue Kallaugher on January 28, 2012 8:12 AM

Sounds like Keith Jarrett playing piano, Mr Ushiro seems to have a good spirit despite losing so much and having to clean up such a mess. Sometimes when people lose belongings in a tragedy they feel they can live without more possessions. I hope life goes well for him and he can live in his lovely log cabin again

Following comment posted by: Dave on January 28, 2012 8:45 AM

I should have mentioned the keyboard player - it's Ushiro san's son Katsushi. Go and listen!

Add Your Input

Remember Me? (with a cookie ...)

(you may use HTML tags for style)

Back to the Main Page