|Anapurna South, in the|
|A Nepali Traditional House|
at Rice Harvest Time
But there’s nothing like experiencing the real thing. I’ve only been here such a short time but I can easily see why the tremendous people I was able to interview and become friends with in the process of the book, could really love this country. It is a very gentle place, and yet in love with beauty and full of vitality. The mountains, of course, take your breath away, but the people’s ways, and their art, and their food, and their hand crafts, and perhaps especially the way they make things by themselves, and use them, using just their own hands, it has moved me time and again. It’s peaceful just to be here.
After all these years, I feel like my understanding of what I have been writing is so much closer to complete. I’d just note here, with some photos, how Nepal has touched the lives of so many people in the book.
Osamu Nakamura, profiled in Chapter 2 lived for almost 10 years in the mountains of Nepal. I have seen here many of the characteristic black and red woodblock prints I first saw at his cabin in the mountains of Japan. Also, his kitchen arrangements, and the woodstove he cooks on are distinctly Nepali.
Jinko Kaneko, profiled in Chapter 10 cooks Nepali style curries at her restaurant Bontenya. She documented the different ways the curries were spiced in many different Himalayan valleys. She also studied fabric dying and design while there.
|Nakamura Showing his collection|
of Nepali cloth printed with woodblocks
|Nakamura collected samples of Nepali cloth|
and then made versions on handmade paper
by carving individual woodblocks
|Jinko Kaneko painting|
|Inside Jinko's restaurant|
|A delicious Nepali curry|
in the mountains of Japan
Gufu Watanabe, profiled in chapter 8, who I just spoke to on the phone, explained to me the festival of lights here in Nepal, in incredible detail, explaining the cultural significance of the many lanterns and candles. Gufu hasn't been in Nepal for 30 years. Here's an illustration from one of his journals of a tea stall in Kathmandu, where many of the people in the book first met each other.
|Interviewing Akira Ito about his book|
documenting handmade paper in Nepal
And finally, a man who deeply loved Nepal, Akira Ito, profiled in Chapter 6. Ito-san wrote much about traditional woodblock carving in several magazine articles, and about the traditional mountain cultures here. I've translated parts of these articles in the chapter, and I think you can feel Ito's spirit in his writing. Here is one of the pages of one of his illustrations of Nepali handmade paper making.