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Colours of Japan


 [Une tentative de dresser une palette des principales couleurs japonaises lors d'un voyage de 3 jours en trains locaux entre Tokyo et Sapporo]


Japan railway trip


I have just been crossing Honshū island from Tokyo up to Hokkaido and Sapporo with the Seishun 18 railpass. Three days at the slow pace of local trains, punctuated with only brief stopovers. 19 trains, few encounters...People don’t speak much in japanese trains. So it’s been many hours of simply watching landscapes scrolling through the window, gently shaken by the train bumps. A blur sensation of not touching ground anymore. Railway lullaby, like on boat...A floating memory of the mooves printing itself in the body so that at night, when going to bed, remains that impression of still being on cruise. Few opportunities to draw, but it felt like absorbing the landscape into the very pores of my skin like a slow infusion. I keep of it an essence of its colours, a tones spectrum of Honshū.



 Colours of Japan, from Tokyo to Hokkaido


Japan is mainly green, green, greens !

It is not the green of Auvergne, not the one of Chartreuse, neither the Irish one,

It is Japan’s greens !

Luminous, vivid green of the rice fields

More yellowish, or brownish, or blueish greens of the vegetable gardens

Dark, almost black green of the pines

Forest-green, blueish Vosges green and Payne grey of the distant mountains

The more you head to the North, the more the green of trees darkens and the more yellow and bright appears by contrast the green of paddy fields

Wooly white, pearly grey of clouds

Gaps of sky blue

Light grey of asphalt

Vermilion of torii

Cerulean blue of some houses’ roofs

Shining umber of the temples’ roofs, a colour close to the one of kombu freshly grounded on the beach

Pale rust of sheet (barns, station structures)

Radiant white of egrets in the paddies

Bright yellow of sunflowers

Winsor blue of farming tarps and nets protecting the crops (would the nets be made of tarp’s scrap pieces?)

Silver gleaming blue of the rivers

Pearly yellow stripe in the sky when the light decreases around 15 or 16 PM (night falls early)

Orange stripe around 17 PM
Vivid colours of the women’s hanabi yukatas (many of them feature opposite colours : yellow and blue, purple and orange, red and green...Or girly tones : pink-purple-mauve-lavender. Other frequent ones  have coloured patterns on dark cloth)

Prussian blue shades of men's yukatas

Black of people’s hair - if looking closely, there are some differences : some have auburn or brown reflects, others are frank raven black

And all the tones of people’s flesh (we commonly describe asian people as “yellow”, but they aren’t. When many japanese describe themselves as white, their skin has a different undertone or light reflection than most western ones, but it is hard to describe and render)


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I’m Florence, a Belgian artist temporarily living in Sapporo on Hokkaido island, in the north of Japan. This blog is dedicated to my japanese travels, artworks & projects.


© 2017 par Florence Plissart. Créé avec

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