香川漆芸の美しさ The Beauty of Kagawa Lacquerware

When I finished working as a Coordinator for International Relations in August, I wondered if I would ever have the chance to do translation work again. In addition to teaching my students at I-PAL Kagawa, translation was one of my favorite parts of the job! That’s why I was really excited when I was asked to do the narration recording and subtitle translations for the newest video on Kagawa’s official YouTube channel, “Meet My Kagawa”. 
8月に国際交流員の任期が終わった後で、いつか翻訳の仕事がまたできるのかなと思いました。国際交流員の義務の中で特に好きだったのは、アイパル香川(香川国際交流会館)の生徒さんに英語を教えることと、翻訳です!なので、香川県のYouTubeチャネル「Meet My Kagawa」の新しいビデオのナレーションの収録と字幕の翻訳の依頼を受けたら、とても嬉しかったです。

Kagawa is famous for lacquerware, and in this video you get a behind-the-scenes look at how Kagawa’s beautiful lacquerware pieces are produced! One of my hobbies is going to second-hand shops and looking for antique plates and cups, and having lived in Kagawa for three years now, I’ve collected a few pieces of lacquerware as well. Today I want to introduce you to some of the lacquerware pieces I’ve collected, and some of my favorite non-lacquerware pieces as well!

Kagawa is known for five different lacquerware techniques, and one of these is called goto-nuri. Goto-nuri is characterized by its rich red color and unique, ripple-like pattern. The red color is supposed to become even more brilliant over time. I am really excited to see what my goto-nuri tray will look like in a few years!

These bowls are really interesting! Kagawa has a lot of amazing locally produced products, but it is best known for udon noodles, olives and of course, lacquerware. With these bowls you can enjoy all three of Kagawa’s signature specialty products at the same time!
このボールはとても面白いです!香川県には様々な素敵な県産品があります。漆芸はもちろんですが、香川県のうどんとオリーブもよく知られています。 このボールたちで香川の代表的な特産品の三つを同時に楽しむことができます!

The first two lacquerware pieces I introduced are mainly for show. Lacquerware is supposed to become even more beautiful the more you use it, but honestly, I am a little scared to use the first two pieces because they are so nice! I really wanted to see how lacquerware would change if I used it every day, so I bought a set of these bowls as an experiment. I have used this bowl every day for miso soup for almost a year now, but I can’t remember what it looked like when I first bought it! In another year’s time, I will use this photo for reference and check again.

Now for the non-lacquerware dishes I love! When we went to visit family in Oita Prefecture, we received these two bowls from a friend as a present. This style of pottery is called “ontayaki“, and it is unique to Oita Prefecture. Ontayaki can come in all kinds of colors and patterns, but I really love the simple design of the white and black bowl. I think the green bowl is also very special – to me, the pattern in the center looks like a rose. 

This is the cup I use every day for warm green tea in the winter, and cool barley tea in the summer. Because I drink a lot of tea throughout the day, I wanted to buy a cup that is easy to hold and beautiful to look at. I found this cup at Ritsurin An, the souvenir shop inside Ritsurin Garden. I love the pale blue color and soft patches of white – I feel so relaxed when I look at this cup!

Finally, this is my beloved rice bowl. In fact, this not really a rice bowl, but a cup for drinking matcha tea! But I love the design, and the size and shape are perfect, so I decided to use it every day as my rice bowl. Actually, there is an interesting story behind this cup! In a different YouTube video for “Meet My Kagawa”, there was a scene of me walking through the Takamatsu Shopping Arcades looking for a souvenir to buy. The director told me, “you can choose whatever souvenir you like”, so I chose this matcha tea cup. I will post that video on this blog as well if you are interested! 
最後に、こちらは私が愛しているご飯茶碗です。実は、これがご飯茶碗ではなく、抹茶の茶碗です!でも、模様が好きだし、大きさも形もちょうどいいので、「これ、毎日使いたい!」と思ってご飯茶碗として使っています。この茶碗には面白い話がありますよ!「Meet My Kagawa」の動画の撮影で、商店街を歩いていてお土産を買うという場面がありました。ビデオの監督は「なんでもいいので、好きなお土産を選んでくださいね」と言ってくれたので、私はこの茶碗にしました。もしご興味があれば、そのビデオもここにアップしますね!


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