2008-07-20

my green project

the rainy season is actually and officially over. school’s out. kids are excited under the flawless sky. as for me, i already feel tired since i was tossing and turning all night. it was a bright moonlit night with no breezes. besides, my local cicada choir kindly woke me up at 6 this morning. what can I do amid the summer heat?
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before the heat got unbearable, i bought bigger terracotta pots (i really dislike plastic ones) for my overgrown babies to re-pot. so i did that last week. and i did something more: i gave my chair and shoe cabinet a makeover. it was my long-neglected green project and i’m now happy that i’ve accomplished it at long last. the result seems a bit different from what i expected, though. the colour was supposed to be mint, bluish green, not pistachio. japanese house paint manufactures offer a little variety in colours unfortunately. i am hoping that they don’t look like a product of the bbc’s changing room. never mind. it'll improve, hopefully get darker, with age.
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in the mid 90’s, my ‘london goldsmiths-yba era’, i was sharing sort of a riverside flat in rotherhithe with bridget. my bedroom floor was hardwood and painted white. it was shabby in a way, but i miss that feel so much. the saddest thing about our modern japanese homes is, we have no longer a spirit of zen, almost everything is made of synthetic materials like faux-brick walls and faux-wood or faux-tiled floorings. they can be tasteful, but they lack a little character, frankly, their textures are hideous. my pad is no exception. it was refurbished but looked bland when i first took a look at this flat. but yet, no matter how old the building was, the location was impeccable: it was walking distance from my mother’s and adjacent to a lush green huge park. so the deal was closed at once.
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my faux-wood floor and polyester wallpaper can’t really make my living comfortable. they are absolutely eye-spam to me. still, when it comes to money, i certainly know where to compromise my liking. i needed to get some furniture and air conditioners on a budget when i moved in. i even asked its former owner to leave me the ugly faux-mahogany shoe cabinet in the entrance hall (we japanese take off shoes there, you know). i was going to paint it, anyway.
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i’ve never lived in the same home any longer than 6 years in my whole life, even in my childhood. until recently my life was nomadic. during and after the separation and dissolution of my marriage i moved from place to place, i inevitably had to give up plenty of stuff and some, including my chinaware that has been handed down in my mother’s family from generation to generation, simply went missing. on the other hand, i’ve somehow kept a bentwood chair with a cane seat, which was passed over from my ex-husband’s parents. it was among my furniture i left at my parents’ home for a long time. i’m now using it as my night table.
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my ex-mother-in-law once told me how she got the chair and i'm fond of the way. that was kind of her impulse buy, or rather love at first sight like this: she saw the chair as she drove by a furniture shop in tokyo; she stopped the car; she walked into the shop; she bought it and took it home. although we still get along very well, i feel a bit bad that i have her chair. i've just missed a chance to ask her if she wants it back probably because i like its classic but modern design. the same school of michael thonet’s once-ubiquitous café chair (i dare not call it an imitation)? the colour was originally turquoise. my ex-husband and i repainted it white to blend with our surroundings when we held it in our possession. and now pistachio.
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i love to keep the chair and the shoe cabinet here, no matter dowdy the colour may look. my home could be occupied with too much stuff from muji and ikea, otherwise.

1 comment:

NeedfulFriends&Koboldkinder said...

it is really a pity that you have no zen culture left in japan...I know exactly what you mean. I love this nature look as well...stone and wood surrounding me in the house.

your furniture in this fresh green is lovely. I really love it and the chair is wonderful...

we have something in common....I moved nearly every second year in the last 16 years.

and I plan to move to berlin next summer when my daughter has finished school.

hugs anja