A Local Perspective on Life in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.

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Dancers, Musicians and Artists Converge On Rustic Chestnut Farm for Unique HAPPENING inspired by Fashion Designer`s Latest Works

Mako Karasawa Improvising among the reeds

Mako Karasawa Improvising among the reeds

By Avi Landau


A drive to Chiyoda-village, just North-East of Tsukuba City, is a journey to the HEART of the  OLD RURAL JAPAN of our imaginations. With a high percentage of its farmhouses still of traditional design, many featuring spectacular gates and storehouses, and scenery dotted with rustic shrines, temples and sacred stones ( including the mysterious rock carvings- The Magai Butsu 摩崖仏), this area, now part of Kasumigaura City, makes for a delightful day-trip at any time of year. In autumn though, with its high blue skies, musky air and ideal temperatures, it can be absolutely DELICIOUS.

This weekend ( oct 17-18th 2009), might prove to be the perfect time to make the short trip to Chiyoda ( a mere 30 minutes from central Tsukuba).  Besides the predicted fine weather and the roadside stands which should be teeming with the bounty of the areas numerous orchards ( you can also do some fruit picking- persimons , chestnuts, pears…) , there will be an Multi-Media ARTS  HAPPENING involving dance, music and fashion design , held on the grounds of a CHESTNUT FARM, which might prove to be the EVENT OF THE SEASON.

Tomorrow ( Saturday the 17th),  choreographer and dance artist Mako Karasawa, will be leading a troupe of 5 dancers from around Japan  in two sets of improvised performance pieces which will  generate out of the synthesized guitar musings of Thomas Mayers, and the WEARABLE WORKS of fashion artist Hatsumi Yoshida.

Yoshida-San creates her unique pieces in Bali, using local materials. Anyone familiar with Japanese culture, from The Tale of Genji ( with its amazingly detailed  and frequent descriptions of textiles) to the Harajuku-Shibuya scene ( where young people strut their stuff in the most eye-catching of original outfits) knows that Japanese culture has a flair, or I should say GENIUS for clothing design ( just look at how many Japanese dominate the world of high fashion). Ms. Yoshida fits firmly within this tradition, and a look at her new creations should prove surprising.

Mako Karasawa and Thomas Mayers Outside an old storehouse in Chiyoda

Mako Karasawa and Thomas Mayers Outside an old storehouse in Chiyoda

One person excited by these unique wearable creations is Mako Karasawa, a truly dedicated and very talented dancer and choreographer, who is always trying to reach new levels of beauty and expressiveness through the use of movement (as well as stillness). Putting on the fabrics has inspired her not only to move in still newer , fresher, ways, but to assemble a group of other professional dancers who join her for the event. Both Mako, and guitarist Thomas Mayers are skilled and seasoned improvisors who always give you EVERYTHING THEY`VE GOT, so one should expect  powerful and exciting performances.

All this should be intensified by the setting of the old chestnut farm!

The first piece will begin at 11am, and the second at 3:30

Here are some more details

Clothing by Hatsumi Yoshida
Musical improvisation by Thomas Mayers
Dance improvisation by Masae Karasawa, Tsukuba; Yuri Nakajima,Niigata;
Sawako Takimoto, Chiba; Rika and Rie Saito, Saitama

The location is at: Shimaki Noen in Kasumigaura Shi (formerly Chiyoda
Mura), a chestnut farm in the old style. The event will be held
outside but in the event of inclement weather will move into an
old  Ishi-Kura (stone warehouse).
Google Map Link:

Shimaki noen


Check out some rehearsal footage at



And for more of what Ive written about Chiyoda: