2019.08.25 Sunday

A celebration for the souls.


    Konichiwa !


    My name is Constance Hinfray, I'm a new resident of ongoing art center.

    I'm half french, half german, and I am very interested about japanese culture.

    It's great to be able to research about the myths and the legends I've been fascinated about, but also observe how

    the the many spiritualities emerges in the daily life here.


    Maybe it's because as a kid we used to play too much gameboy and I finally end up believing I was a pokémon myself, 

    but I think that as french kids, growing up in the nineties, we were sensibilized somehow to animism. 

    The japanese animé wave impacted France and I can't count the hours playing and watch at The legend of Zelda or Pokémon.


    For my first post, I wan't to talk about a special phenomenon that I could observe.

    Our relations with our ancesters and death. Cultivating faith and maintaining a spiritual

    relation with the people we knew and loved has to be something very intimate I guess.

    In japan I discovered a whole invitation to do so.





    And not only with our ancesters, but with people who died in general.

    Praying for everyone may be something normal in a country that encounter so many

    disasters and lost.


    How the dominant religion in your original country brings the subject of death in the 

    dogma and aesthetic must surely influence the way we see the world, the life and death.

    Or you have an intern faith as strong as a roc and you are capable to select the holy education

    you get or you might slowly adapt yourself to the vision of whatever priest is in front of you.

    (The first time I understood japanese spiritual sensibility resonates with me was the first time

    I went to onsen. I was asked to get totally naked in front of other women, it is something I never

    have been told to do in France, where the tendency is rather to hide your nudity or add artifices to it.

    The pleasure to go in the bath, naked, outside under the sknow was unforgettable. )


    Lets go back to our subject.


    Do the deads live in harmony with the living in Japan.


    Early this week, I was invited by Yukie to attend a once-in-a-year festival called "Toro Nagashi - floating lanterns

    festival" , in the west of Tokyo, in the neighborhood of the Jindai-ji temple. This festival is part of a japanese-budhist

    traditional fest for the dead called "O-Bon" (a festive equivalence of our catholic "Toussaint").

    After a dinner made of Soba noodles, we walked in the night to a river in a very green and calm area.

    On the water were floating more than one hundred little lanterns, all with cute drawings and writings on it.

    The vision of this lights, and the orchestra next to it, in the dark yet intimate night was enchanting.


    We were a lot of people to look at the lanterns going away slowly on the water.

    The atmosphere was calm, quiet, relaxing. Not too much joy, but no sorrows and sadness.

    Just as soothing as a quiet evening, altogether.

    The event was dedicated to the people who lost life during 2011 earthquacke ( the one that 

    cause the explosion of Fukushima nuclear center.)


    The budhists believe that the spirits come back on earth during Obon and enter in connexion with their 

    family and beloved (I just met someone who told me that actually the family pick up the ghost at the cemetary for the week of Obon.)

    . The family welcome this special event and prepare an "altar", with fruits and invariably 

    an eggplant that symbolize a cow and a cucumber that symbolize a horse, to help the defunct to ride between the house and the cemetary.


    This is a very special moment, where the souls can be appeased, where the spirits that lost their ways after

    death can finally find home and peace.

    This is meaningful to me as I used to lay down under the stars and talk to my grandfather ( they said he was

    going to North pole when he died.)

    I'm still asking him some support from time to time but as an adult I'm sometimes asking myself if he can really 

    listen to me, as in the catholic education, the souls are going to heaven after they die and there is no real imagination about

    how to enter in connexion with the dead people.


    Making a special time to welcome them back and enjoying time with them feels actually natural and gentle.

    That this moment is neither sad or dark but rather enlightening and calming appears also as normal.

    If death is a continuity of life, and considered as something as natural as being born and breathe, how to

    deal with the influence of the religious dogma on what we feel and how we deal personally with our intimacy?

    In the catholic church, death is among other symbols, represented by Jesus on the cross, bleeding and sacrificing 

    himself. The cross is a reminder of the sacrifice he did for us and its held in the entrance of every catholic house and schools.

    In my opinion this representation cultivates rather fear toward dying and culpability (even if we did nothing wrong.)

    More precisely, it can stop the natural intimate connexions we developp with invisible worlds and the ones who left who

    needs our blessings and not be transformed into something sacred and distant.


    Now, in a complete contradiction to the soothing ritual the budhists offers to the souls, last august two prisonners were

    hanged in Japan. They commited murders on women (two and three). In Japan the death sentence is still allowed and more

    than 100 prisonners are waiting for the final sentence. Often they and their family don't know when its going to happen.

    In fact, the state gives itself the power to decide in full conscience and with using a painful method, the right of death toward

    an human.



    Two opposite mentalities are existing on the same territory and this makes me do a complete loop

    to conclude. In  " Princess Mononoké ", Miyazaki's masterpiece, nature and culture appear to be in complete contradiction.

    to my occidental eyes. I treated the movie as I would do with a Walt Disney, the good in opposition to the bad.

    No bad in the good, and no good in the bad. Of course I was on Princess Mononoké side, as I defend nature and wildlife.

    After talking with Takayuki, it appears that there are no good or bad camp. The bad is living with the good. Point.


    And this is the first introduction to the complex and multiple japanese culture and mythology.


    See you on the next lecture.

















    2018.10.04 Thursday

    I like it here!


      Yesterday I went to Shinyuku Garden -National Garden- but didn't take the right train, so I dropped off at Waseda Station and walked around an hour through surprisingly empty streets and avenues. Of course, I got lost but I could find myself again. I like it much more in non-tourist locations.




      2017.11.10 Friday

      Surabaya - Haneda - Kichijoji



        Hello my name is kuro im from Indonesia, 

        right now im join with ongoing ongoing art residency program (so lucky)

        and this is my first posting on blog :) :) i hope you 're enjoy my stories



        Goes To Japan


        CONFUSE!it's probably the most fitting word for my chance to join residency in On Going Art Center – Japan. Excited? ABSOLUTELY! Nervous ABSOLUTELY TOO! Haha. I’m exciting cause I never travel to foreign country before, and now I have opportunity goes to Japan and learning many things about art, culture, people and et cetera. FOR FREE! J But in other side, my wife recently pregnant and I can’t take care of herfor almost two months. I never expecting that my family and my friend give me support to follow this residency. And the struggling journey goes to Japan has begin… 


        HURRY UP!

        When the document permit from On Going Japan has arrived, actually I’m in unhealthy condition. But show must go on! Imust go to Japan Embassy for process the document, but i think that day the earth, wind, sand and sun not recognize with me L the embassy was closed! My heart broken for a while, but I remember in Indonesia there always “CALO” in every sector. Oke,let’s find out! I drove to Japan Tour and Travel Agency and tell that I need VISA to Japan imidiately. But, what I get? Just another broken harted reality. Agency can’t read hand lettering in those document permit and saying I must have minimal 35million rupiahs for go to Japan L  SO SAD L But my wife keep pushing me go to Japanese Languange Institute for checking those document and finding help maybe those help me to get VISA.



        My day after that, I go to Japan embassy and guess what? Just need 4 days to get Visa Japan. Yay! My heart is so warming haha ​​... but when you think think everything will be okay, actually is not okay anyway. My step father Pass Away Two Has Days After That L Huft. Marathon Broken Hearted News ... And I Do Not Know What I Supposed To Do.








        After eight hours flight, I can see firsthand the country   where  doraemon lives. It feels like mixed up, between            happy, anxious and dazed. I walked to the   immigration  queue I passed by staring blankly   toward the airfield               through a very large glass, sometimes I’m taking picture.When I get to the immigration department I’m   worried           about whether he will confiscate my stuff?  I'm getting nervous because it's the first time I've  gone abroad.              They checked my bag of paper work, and I surprised  when the immigration authorities  opened my  portopholio book.     They  ask me? “this is yours?” I say  yes that was mine” and I see   they smiling to me. Imade it through immigration with a smile. Yippie! 



        After that, I call Yukie, Sachi and Nozomutold them I was here. Yukie guided me to buy a Kichijoji bus ticket at the bus counter.The bus I use may be the same as the inter-city bus in Indonesia, the bus is big enough only at that time I became the only passenger. It seems that it does not matter, the driver still runs the bus normally and heads to Kichijoji.

        Along the way, I looked out the window. Looking at the view of the city of Tokyo that make me amazed, because all the way I was treated to a beautiful view of the house and building.






        Finally has arrived in Kichijoji! The moment I got off the bus I was on the bench opposite the station, it was a kind of public seating with an elephant statue nearby and a pay phone shelter. I also see the square in front of this station, used for the campaign event of the Japanese politician before general election. Sitting down on the bench, Yukie guided me to go to Ongoing.She said that the distance from the stadium to Ongoing only takes 10 minutes walk. While looking at maps and photographs sent as a guide I enjoyed the bright sunshine of Japan that was quite stinging that day.

        Kichijoji itself is also included in the Tokyo section. If we take the domestic train very easily and close Ifyou wanna go to the city center like Shinjuku, Roponggi maybe need 20-40 minutes. I think in Tokyo, especially in Kichijoji is a very nice place to live. Not many buildings towering up here,never see traffic jam or solid vehicles on the streets. The air is very fresh. Maybe I will discuss about this city in another article.






        Well, actually that day Ongoing was closed but Nozomu Ogawa was inside waiting for me. After chit chat welcoming greeting, we both walk to residency house. The house I live in will also be my studio for the next two months. After bathing and smoking this feeling gets so happy and then I go downstairs to talk to Ogawa san. He lays a few things related to what's in his house like garbage and how to cook rice. The Japanese are very orderly with matters concerning cleanliness. Garbage should be able to be sorted independently making it easier to recycle. There are certain days where garbage officers come to pick up trash, there are days where only plastic waste is picked up, there are days taking cardboard, paper, and glass bottles. Even the color of plastic is distinguished, so officers easily distinguish the contents of the garbage bag.

        Ogawa san tasted me food that day and until now I'm lucky to enjoy the various dishes made by him. It's so tasy. Especially his soba noodles!  He said that the soba noodles are from flowers, so very good for health. I hope I can cook something here but I've never learned to cook. We talk a few things and he also said that tonight is Ongoing to organize a small party. Sound interesting!


        This party is so special for me because I can meet many people from members of collective Ongoing.  This farewell party for one member who will residency in chiang mai Thailand for approximately one year. Eating and drinking beer was an exciting event and before the show. I started to get acquaintedwith some of the members, but my memory was pretty lousy, so I had to ask them names a few times. Making Japanese dumplings is also the thing I did before the show started, and we eat the dumplings together.



        pin from chiharu kun and tomo kun



        Beer on hand, cigarettes, and delicious food and many friendly friends gave me a wonderful memory. Previously I was very nervous to chat with them, because it was my poor English skill and this is the first time I've been a minority in a They make me feel very comfortable. Many people are nice here. What a great party!


        see ya in the next posting






















        2017.03.16 Thursday

        Bunchi Diary


          5 March ( Sunday )

          Get Lost Everywhere 


          Arrived in TOKYO NARITA Airport around 2 pm, the first situation I faced is the wheels of my suitcase was broken. The first task is to buy a new one. The next task is I need to find the place “Kichijoji” because I get lost later on. Finally, I arrived Art Center Ongoing at 8pm …  Good job. Hi Nozomu and Sachiko, they are waiting for me. After I put down my luggage, I had a nice dinner with Sachiko in a traditional Japanese restaurant. That place become one of my favorites restaurant because of the family-style. 




          6 March ( Monday )

          See Doctor Day

          The first activity for me is to go to see doctor which is a Chinese medicine shop recommended by Sachiko. I finish the task with google translate and the hands dance. I think it is not expensive. The medicine just cost 600 yen per day! 4536 yen for one week treatment. I hoped to get well soon. Later on, I just walk around Kichijoji. I found that Muji here have sell bicycle. and then, I discovered a second-hand book shop near-by which is 古本よみた屋. It is excited.



          7 March ( Tuesday )

          Discover Mitaka City 三鷹市


          It is still in a sick day. I feel tired all the time and just try to discover the place near-by. I went to the Mitaka Station and meet a Museum soon - Mitaka City Gallery of Art. It shows a lot of little sculpture which have some birds, insect, wild herb, monster, etc. Tiny but delicate. Later, I went into a book shop and drop down some places in travel books. I followed the information and find a vintage shop with cafe called”小古道具”, and the coming is another vintage shop call”Smile-antiques”. They are good but a bit expensive in price. It is come to the dinner time and I just went into a Japanese restaurant with “大眾食堂” in the title. I know that It will be cheaper by my experience. They are passionate! As I have said that I don’t know Japanese but they still keep serving me in Japanese. hahaha therefore, I just point at some dishes in the menu and let see what I had ordered. Oh! It is sausage and Fried meat ball! Great and delicious! When I back to my House, here is Abe jan! The house keeper came back! Haha She is nice as we shared a song with “Cho tto ma te” which is a Japanese Song and sent to HK which sing by Sammi Cheung.





          8 March ( Wednesday )

          Discover Kichijoji 吉祥寺


          I feel dramatic everyday with the gardening here. Btw, I find a new way every-time from my house to the station. This time I found a shop underground “ Vada antiques” which is beautiful and I chat a while with the staff. There are lots of ceramic goods which come from 沖繩 Okinawa. After visited some book shops there, I back home to prepare a sharing on tomorrow.






          9 March ( Thursday )
          House Warming Party

          It is a real Japanese and English practice day. Haha I meet a lot of new friends from Japan and also US (Matt jay). We chat a lot and smoothly move to my presentation. After that, we discussed about my work, the politics in HK, the poetic, the housing problem of HK, Japan and US, the superstition, my two moles in hands, blood type …… until 12 am. It is funny to hear that Japanese believes in moles and the blood type. They all know their blood type and for me, blood b, is bullied… haha maybe they are lazy. The Party was ended around 12 and the other party in my house started. Kanako chat with me the whole night with two slept beauties. She is a smart and cute girl. I think it is what cultural exchange is in our chat, we really talk deep.




          10 March ( Friday )

          A Lazy Day in Inokashira Park 井の頭恩賜公園 and Nishi-ogikubo 西荻窪

          Walk around Kichijoji and the big big Inokashira Park. Relax and enjoy. At night, I went to Nishi-ogikubo until 9pm. As I am so hungry, I just walk into a Japanese bar. I think it is too passionate for me. But anyway, I meet a couple to help me translate. The chef cook the foods in front of me and I made new friends.




          11 March ( Saturday )

          A dating with Sachi and a talk of HORIO Kanta


          We went to the 初台 station in the afternoon and visited some gallery around. As our goal is to listen a talk of HORIO Kanta. It is weird but luckily that we found the free ticket of that show in a private gallery! We meet another ongoing artist outside Yumiko Chiba Associates, and the also the artist Motohiro TOMII 富井大裕 with his current exhibition. Later on, we went to ICC to see the show OPEN SPACE 2016 and we both inspired by the talk by HORIO Kanta. For the dinner, we went to a Japanese bar and have a really nice chat. We talked about the arts community here and my difficulties. We talk too much and nearly forgot to back home.



          12 March ( Sunday )

          Antique Market and Opening of Isaji


          Get up earlier to visit the Tomioka-hanchimangu Shrine Antique Market 富岡八幡宮古董市場. I got a lots of goods there but it closed really early around 2pm. Afterwards, It is Isaji’s show opening! Many people are there and It happened again that a party ended and another party started in my house. Kenji and Isaji came to our house with two sleeping beauties again hahaha. We chat from art community to politics to love relationships until the morning! Amazing talk!



          13 March ( Monday )

          When I get up, Kenji bring me to a second-hand book shop in Kichijoji which I haven't visit before and we go to 新御茶丿水 station. There are a lot of second-hand music instrument shop and book shop! I am excited. He bring me to a book shop call 夏目書房. I spent a whole day there!