THEY LOOK SO YUMMY…..
Takuro Tatsumi (actor)/2000
I have some friends who I do not see very often, but who make me forget the length of that interval when I do see them. I feel their presence becoming larger every time I see them.
My friend, Yasuhiko Tsuchida, is one of them. When I nearly forget him, he gave me a phone call from Venice in that blunt voice of his that makes me wonder why he is in such a bad mood. Last year when I suffered a serious injury in a canoe accident, he called to inquire of me, saying he heard about the accident on the Internet.
Despite appearances, though it may be rude to say, he has a very gentle heart.
This year, I went on a “Gourmet Tour” tour program again, and took a trip to Northern Italy to enjoy the cuisine of the region, but could not include Venice in the route.
Then, on September 3rd, the middle day of the tour, he popped up in a restaurant in Bologna.
He came over to see me, taking a nearly four hour trip by boat and train from Lido, the island jazzed up with people to see the “Venice Film Festival”. It was the first time for us to see each other since we had heater his favorish dish together in a Tonkatsu (a Japanese style deep-fried pork) restaurant in seijo in Tokyo. Not having seen him for a year, “tsuchy”, as I call him, appeared to shine before my eyes.
At the restaurant in Bologna, he casually took out three pieces of his recent works from a large paper bag and showed them to my guest tourists, letting them take the works in their hands.
They were all beautiful flower vases, and each of which had its own charm, which captured the viewer’s hearts immediately.
“They look so yummy. Got inspiration from scallions, didn’t you?”
As tsuchy is from Osaka, the same area of Japan where I grew up, I am always attempted to speak to him in the Osakan accent.
“You can see them as you like, but I formally call them the “Bamboo Collection”
“it is? But they are pretty more like scallions. It sounds better to call them the ‘Cipolla Collection’, isn’t it?”
“That Sounds good.”
I know he was compelled to agree with me, but I continued, “Yep, you take it!” I was a bit too drunk. I have heard an episode about Salvador Dali, who never praised the work of others, that he praised only Antonio Gaudi because his works looked “delicious”.
Maybe appetite is the most primitive and most instinctive sense humans have.
To me, his works was far more appetizing tan the dishes of a one star restaurant.
Later in the hotel room, he showed me slides of other works of his that he could not bring with him, and talked and talked to me about what he had in mind concerning those works. His eyes and words were filled with self-confidence.
But before anything, I was so happy to hear about this exhibition, or his great success in other words.
“But I don’t think I can write comments. There must be somebody better to do it.”
I knew why he visited me that time.
“I want you to write it for me. Please”
I could not find no reason to refuse his request.
It’s a fair argument.
“So. I’ll call them ‘scallions.’ Right?!
I am not expert of glass, nor a critic.
I do not know anything of technical or artistic value. If I wrote, for example, “His DNA as a Japanese and his sophisticated New York sense, together with the traditional techniques of Venetian Glass get together to create a brand new world of art”, it would be far from persuasive. His works, I think, need no words to explanations. He explained to me how to make the shapes of scallions, half-moons, and so on, down to the details by drawing the shapes. His explanation was east enough to understand, but to think about the techniques required, it seemed quite tough. Moreover, he must go through the ages of trial and error before he finally finished these works. I could imagine him, devoting to himself the glass works in his atelier from early morning. After I finished talking with him that night, the moon had already sunk below the horizon, and I went back to my room, deeply affected by enthusiasm.
The moon in Bologna that night, I remember, was not quite a half-moon.
Where will he go in the future? The objects of his interest are expanding to more diverse areas, driven by his own energy. He has started to work on some collaborations with architecture in the natural course of his works, such of the flower park of Takarakuza, for example, and his works are sending stronger messages than ever as seen in his installations works on such themes as Kosovo and AIDS problems. It may be sound paradoxical, but, I thin it is because he moved out of Japan when he was young that he was able to see the good qualities of the Japanese, which is actually being lost among people in Japan today; so naturally I felt his strong sense of pride as a Japanese from his words and way of acting. To sign his name as “Tsuchida Yasuhiko”, instead of “Yasuhiko Tsuchida” is just an example, but I’m sure it is a doubtless fact that the background behind such an attitude is one of the greatest reasons for him to be well accepted as an artist in Italy and New York.
Before becoming a glass artist, he had experienced a variety of occupations. He must have been living with a firm ideal at all times.
The desire “to become a great person” is a dream that any young person would naturally have, and he has it in abundance.
In his case, it comes out straight from the heart. That is why I felt he was shining brightly when I saw him that time.
I want those young Japanese people who are in the depths of realism without ideals to see his works, and, needless to say, the way of life that a man named Yasuhiko Tsuchida lives, represented in his own works.