Thousands of Miles from Home


The People That You Meet

I've never considered myself a Final Fantasy nerd, although I have known many people who deserve the title. I played the games (perhaps 3 of the...11), and faithfully watched the movie. And I have to say that I like the series. So I was especially excitied when I heard that one of the concept artists for the Final Fantasy Movie: The Spirits Within was going to have an exhibit of his artwork in Tamano. I was even more excited when I found out that the artist is Shun's friend's father.

This weekend, Shoko took Andee, Shun, and I to Kazumasa Uchio's exhibit in Tamano. Many of the artist's works were being displayed, as well as some sculpture from a fellow artist. Shoko had called Uchio-san, so he came to give us a special tour of the exhibit. Uchio-san does all of his artwork using a computer (a mac with photoshop), and spends about 1 month on each piece of art. He gave a short tutorial on making a cloud, as well as a small tree. You can see some of his older work here.

He says that each of his art pieces uses thousands of layers. To make the door on one of his castles, over 100 layers were used. His art is "fantastic," to say the least, and you can really see the Final Fantasy influence in his work (or the influence in Final Fantasy's from him).

Also this weekend, Masatoshi, two and his friends, and I took a trip all the way to Tottori, about three hours away on the Sea of Japan. In Japan it is currently crab season, and Masatoshi likes to travel to where the crab is fresh. After three hours of driving we arrived in Tottori, where I was shown some unconventional sights. Apparently there is a large sand dune in Tottori, strikingly similar the the desert. When we stopped the car, I even saw a camel! That was perhaps the last thing I expected to see in Japan. We went to the coast and stood on a cliff for a while, overlooking the sea.

Around 11:30, we headed to a local restaurant for a crab feast. The restaurant was inside of a house, so we ate inside of a tea room with with tatami mats. This feast of crab perhaps rivaled the Marine Hotel's layout. I didn't eat any breakfast, so I was sufficiently hungry to eat sashimi, miso soup, shrimp, salt-grilled seafood, shabu shabu, and a whole crab. On top of that I had a sort of rice, egg, and broth mixture (for dessert) in a pot which tasted delicious. The whole meal was great, and outside the restaurant, in the Sea of Japan, locals were surfing the powerful waves. During the meal I talked with Masatoshi's friends, and found out that one of them really liked Final Fantasy. He was jealous that I got to meet the artist, and even thought about going to Tamano to catch the last day of the exhibit. The whole day's atmosphere made me smile.

Before we went home, Masatoshi and his friends wanted to stop at a fish market to buy some crabs to take home. Crabs are usually expensive, but I saw one "king" sized variety that cost 10,000 Yen a piece ($100 US)! After the ride home, I didn't eat any dinner and fell asleep feeling very stuffed. However, as of yet, no weight has been gained or lost during my time in Japan.


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