Saturday, 3 October 2009

Final day|lecture @ Printing Museum

The final whole day in Tokyo. Some pleasure and some business. I meet Yoshiro, his wife & son at 10am. They were my guides for the morning. It was an awful day rain but veru warm, they said its due to the two typhoons on their way. Our first stop was the tourist area of Asakusbashi. Many visitors to the area due to the stalls and temple. It was difficult dodging the umbrellas and puddles. I wanted to stop and browse the stalls but the Japanese are not ones for such things, well my great hosts weren't. We went for lunch in a soba house. My first soba experience, like any other a little apprehensive. I watched as the others carried their eating etiquette out. Soba is a buckwheat noodle, eaten cold (or hot) which you place in your soya, wasabi and relish mix then slurp (loudly). It was lovely very refreashing but eaten at great speed and then we were off again.
Post lunch we did a quick visit to Akihabara - electric city. As the title says its an electric feast.

To the business part of the day...the printing museum-Toppan. Where my lecture would take place. First we toured the show and watched the letterpress workshop in action (part of the museum and on display). Three pm Yoshiro and I set about delivering the presentation. He was so worried that i would keep to the written script as he had translated and was to read from it. This is a awful way to deliver a talk. It is so artificial and cold, unfortunately for him i just had to add some new words etc but never again without a trained interpreter as they recite what you say!
However i think it wasn't as bad as i thought as we had many questions and lots of people came up afterwards to talk to me.

A final meal followed with five of the societies members (from the typography for science of design). This was alittle trippy as 80% of the conversations was in Japanese and i just wanted to lie down.

Now i am
The experience is almost over. Am i relieved? Yes as i am so tired its untrue. But i have a great experience in Tokyo and had a wonderful host...

'The plane boss, the plane...

Friday, 2 October 2009

Day 5 | Musashino

The last day of the workshop/project, day 5. My last 80min journey to work via train & then bus. Being almost the only western bound that way. The day was a busy one with students frantically finishing their posters, designing to the last minute. A different kind of relationship today as i sat down on the computer with them, adjusting elements and reviewing work as they printed off tests. An interactive session with students. Yoshiro and i took a few of the students to lunch to the staff canteen, where we slurped our noodles together over Japanese tea and smiles. My slurping was very British 'reversed' and messy. Theirs noisey and rapid. I am amazed at my chop stick skills as i even ate cake today with them!

The afternoon session saw work being printed on the large format printer. Students returned to the studio with Cheshire smiles and their glossy designs. Out of the 15 students 13 completed and displayed their outcomes. A good review took place with the interpreter taking over from Yoshiro. I started the session off by giving them 3 coloured post-its. Each coloured represented a criteria (best typeface , best poster and best name). They had to vote. This loosened the review up and became from interactive and fluid. Nothing worse than having to do all the work! Students asked many questions at the end about western designs and they seemed eager that they had that style! They were also concerned if they were 'different' from western students. The students expressed that they enjoyed the project and the speed in which they produced such work and that they had not had this type of experience before and had never designed a poster either.

At 5.30pm they had arranged a reception where there was a feast of food and drinks. Many other students attended and a few staff members. Yoshiro gave a speech and toast and i had to summerise at the end of the drinks (with interpreter in tow). This finished about 8pm...another long day at Musashino. I certainly have earned my crust.

I have to say Yoshiro has been an amazing host and has certainly looked after me over the week. He is a really lovely man and you can see the care and passion he has for the subject and his students.

Only one day remains and i still have work to do! Tomorrow Yoshiro and his family (!) are meeting me at my hotel at 10am for a morning tour of Tokyo. Then at 3pm i have a lecture to give to the Japanese Society of Typography/Science for Design (gulp)...

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Day 4 | Musashino

Day 4 of the project, which began with students frantically finishing their 26 letters for a review.
The final part of the project was briefed and students looked exhausted at the prospect of designing a poster to promote their new typeface by tomorrow afternoon. Yoshiro and i spent the morning reviewing their work on an 1-2 ratio. While the rest of the students began designing their posters. There was certainly an air of pressure and stress within the studio. I got the impression they are not used to this style of quick turn around projects. I was slightly surprised as they are year 3 students.

The afternoon Yoshiro took me to the poster collection. Which is an archive of international posters from approx 80 years until now. They were housed in a dark room in plastic sleeves, locked away. This is a missed opportunity to view them and shout about such an amazing collection.

The hour came. My open lecture to MAU at 4.30pm. A good turn out and a successful talk (even if the delay of interpretation was odd). Several questions from the audience showed more where awake than thought. Glad to have got that out of the way. Now on the home straight. Final project day tomorrow and then the final lecture on Saturday pm.

No exciting evening meal to report, just a bowl of pasta and sauce which was a great change from fish!