On April 14th, 2021, nearly 20 participants attended the YCAPS-ICAS hosted Community Conversation webinar “Water, Wood, and Wild Things - Learning Craft and Cultivation in a Japanese Mountain Town”. Writer, artist, and food stylist, Ms. Hannah Kirshner was invited to discuss her latest book, “Water, Wood & Wild Things”. Ms. Kirshner shared her adventures in Yamanaka and stories behind each section of Water, Wood, and Wild Things, while discussing her motivation for writing the book. This session of the Community Conversation series was highly interactive, as participants shared their thoughts on Yamanaka’s rich culture and asked questions that addressed possible ways to help preserve the culture, different values of Yamanaka and similar regions, and the future of traditional Japanese arts and crafts. Many participants expressed the importance of preserving the traditional cultures of the rapidly depopulating rural Japan, highlighting the significance of Ms. Kirshner’s book. She closed the proceedings with a message that you always find something when you look closely at your local culture. The event provided participants with a great opportunity to realize the richness of not only the local culture of Yamanaka, but also that of rural cities across Japan.
Sema Gelegen from International Christian University (ICU)