Saturday, May 23, 2009

Katsuko Nakamoto

Back in December, I had a photo assignment to take pictures of the same subject using a wide angle, regular, and telephoto lens.  I chose to take photos of the white traffic markings on our street. (Don't ask me why.  That's a whole other story for another day.)   In order to get a good shot, I needed to wait until all the traffic was gone, run out into the middle of the street, snap my shutter and run back before I got run over.  As I was doing this crazy feat, an older, elegantly dressed, beautiful Japanese lady walked by and asked me in halting English what I was doing.  I explained about my photo assignment and she told me she was also a photographer.  Her name was Katsuko Nakamato.   She said she taught photography somewhere outside of Tokyo and specialized in taking photographs of Mt. Fuji.  We had a long talk right there on the sidewalk. I found her to be an intriguing, gentle, truly fascinating person.  We exchanged names and addresses and she went on her way.  A few days later I got a little note from her in the mail with a few postcards that included stunning photographs she had taken of Mt. Fuji.  

That was it until last week, when I got a notice in the mail that she was having an exhibit of her photographs in Ginza.  Ginza is the fashion and upscale shopping center of Tokyo.  I mentioned to Ken that I would love to go see her photographs.  Then, on Friday, Ken, Yumiko and I were getting ready to go to lunch when the door bell rang.  I opened the door and there she was.  I remembered her face immediately.  She said she was working with the frame shop downstairs and they were framing her photographs for the exhibit.  She remembered my address and thought she would just come upstairs and see if this was where we lived.  I told her I got her postcard and was planning to come to her exhibit the next day.  She was thrilled and said she would be there.

Then yesterday morning she called and invited Yumiko and me to come have lunch with her before the exhibit.  Well, always up for an adventure, Yumiko and I got dressed up and went to Ginza.  She met us at the metro station and took us to an elegant little Japanese sushi restaurant in the basement of a large department store.  The lunch was exquisite - with many courses - each one more delicious than the last.  She told us a little about her life.  She is 66 years old.  Her husband died when she was just 46 and he was 52.  He was also a photographer.  She never remarried, but took up photography about three years after he died.  She has traveled extensively throughout Europe and Asia.  Her photographs have been exhibited in Paris and Hungary and Romania.  After lunch we walked down the main street in Ginza which is closed to traffic on Saturday and Sunday.  People were having lunch at little  tables set up right in the middle of the street.  Such a beautiful, festive atmosphere.  The exhibit was small with maybe 30 photographs in total.  Each one of Mt. Fuji.  All of them were just beautiful.  Katsuko San is a member of a group of photographers who specialize in Mt. Fuji and the exhibit included photographs from each of them.  Yumiko and I had fun going through and trying to figure out which were Katsuko's as all the names were printed in Japanese characters.  After a little while, it was time to go home.  We thanked our hostess for a wonderful lunch, a beautiful exhibit and another adventure in Tokyo.

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