Thursday, 25 May 2017

Amy Katoh Japan, Country Living, Spirit, Tradition, Style

I met Amy Katoh at the opening of her newly re-opened landmark store, "Blue and White" in Tokyo a few weeks back.  I had wanted to meet her for 25 years.

I shyly, slightly red-faced walked up to her.

"My name is Bryan, nice to meet you."

"Bryan the indigo-silk farmer...I've wanted to meet you for years.", she replied.

Big smile.

The first time I saw and went into a Japanese farmhouse it was love. It hurt even. Like a broken heart.  It hurt.

It took a few years to get one and it would be hard to leave.

Amy wrote eloquently in her book,  'Japan. Country Living, Spirit, Tradition, Style':

..... I almost feel them before I see them, and when I look up, I see a friend. Even if no one is living in them, those straw and earth walls are alive. They are unspeakably beautiful and uncannily human, being of the same organic material we are. What will be the legacy of the plastic replacements that now plague the land? What will a child think of his or her heritage, never having seen the eloquent predecessors.

I read her books when I left Tokyo to go set up a life in the countryside. She had walked the same path that I was eager to walk almost 30 years ago.

A wonderful group of women just left the house today. I tried my best to show them some of that countryside Japanese spirit that Amy wrote about.

Ten days of hard work at the indigo vats, stitching and stitching, laughs and good food and good will. Thank you, Laura, Jessica, Ronnie, Kim, Anna, Thurid and Midori.

Momo went for a walkabout for a few days... perhaps looking for Geiger. We worried and worried but she arrived back at the house as if nothing had happened.

Back in her chair.

No time to rest. Tea harvesting starts right away.

Amy san....I took my guests to a local potter a few days back and kept a little of that old spirit of Japan alive.

*Picture credits to Laura and other otters.


  1. the view of your tea fields up on the hills always warms my heart.

  2. I still haven't made it to Blue and White - have all the books including Otafuku. Guess I have to plan another trip to Japan - for more pottery, too. Hopefully Momo will stay home now. Good luck with the tea.

  3. Beautiful post- a reminder of what life is all about. And I want that jacket Amy is wearing! Has she got any more- you know my size!! I have to keep up my jacket fetish . Maybe she will ship to Aust. Lovely Momo , wherever she went I guess she's not saying.
    It was a private little sojourn.

  4. Lovely story. Beautiful photos.

  5. So thrilled to see the photo of you and Amy! P.

  6. I never knew of her and I'm already in love. I will get my hands and eyes to reading all about her.
    What a natural real awesome way of introducing both of you, the day you finally both met each other!!!