I arrived back home in Lapland late last night. I do not feel tired, but am instead in a kind of weird daze after having experienced so much and being totally immersed in Japanese life for 2 weeks.
Rovaniemi and Sapporo are sister cities, and have a past of joint business and university collaborations. This was the first time I got to join in on one of many projects instigated by our hometowns.
One of the main purposes if this trip was to establish connections and start communicating with Japanese business partners. We had some organized workshops and seminars and I continued working with a previously started collaboration with a housebuilder and their interior designers.
The trip was a huge success on at least my behalf, as Nordic (or Hokuo, as they call it in Japanese) lifestyle and craft is really popular there right now.
One of the absolute highlights for the yarn nerd in me was a surprise invitation to visit Kazuko, a friend's cousin in Asahikawa. Kazuko is a recently retired nordic antiquities seller who used to live in Stockholm. She'd recently moved back to her home island Hokkaido and graciously housed me for a couple of days in her new house (which by the way was designed after a kind of awesome Hokuo-Nippon inspired fusion architecture).
With Kazuko we visited the Asahikawa Yukaori weaving and textile museum and rummaged through her heirloom kimono and yarn stash like two girls on a forbidden quest. Priceless!!
The weaving museum revealed to me a previosly unknown world of colors used together with surprisingly similar weaving patterns as in Finland. It really was odd how similar the designs were to what has been done in Finnish woven design in the last 100 years. Really cool use of colors and shapes. I can now kind of see why my shawls are a popular here.
To sum up my trip, I am seizelessly in aweby Japanese people's ability to live in the moment and the understated passion and dedication which is hidden behind shy smiles and polite gestures.
Especially as an independent traveller I partly rely on the kindness of strangers, and as far as good and quick service goes, there is no place like Japan.
I will return here very soon I hope, and many interesting projects are yet to come I believe. In some ways I feel life is just starting!