CD-inspired original artwork by Japanese artist Kina Sato

Stray Cat’s Dream – CD release by Sargasso

Almost two years after my first album release on the Sargasso label 'Clouds That I Like' (SCD28067, the new album ‘Stray Cat’s Dream’ continues the exploration of the Japanese aesthetic concept of wabi-sabi, which has also been the main subject of my doctoral and postdoctoral research since 2004. This concept, although impossible to accurately translate due to the huge amount of aesthetic connotations that have accumulated over the years, relates to terms such as simplicity, irregularity, emptiness, humility, primitiveness, impermanence and unpretentiousness. Having spent several years, studying, analysing complex contemporary works and trained to compose in this idiom, but also

  • Kushiro Ice Festival, illumination on ice

  • Typical view from my bedroom window

  • Ice maize, Kushiro Fisherman’s Warf MOO

  • Ice maize, children

  • Illumination on ice

  • Ainu shop, Akan

  • Traditional Ainu hut, Akan

  • Traditional Ainu houses, Akan

  • Snowfrog, Akan

  • Nearby park, Kushiro

  • 'Extra' cold drinks' vending machines

Winter in Hokkaido

Days and weeks passed without surprises like the weather that followed pretty much the same pattern; cloudy with snow–sunny but icy cold. My progress in Japanese was slow but steady and when I felt like it I would compose. Despite the fact I was literally surrounded by snow and ice (in the mornings the temperature in my room would drop to around 1C and the windows were covered with icicles) I would feel more inspired by imagery associating with warmth rather than my surrounding images. That came as a surprise to me as I recalled the winter I spend in

Hokkaido and wabi-sabi

It's been exactly two years and one month since I embarked for the second time to Japan overwhelmed with mixed feelings of anticipation, excitement and a bit of worry. From my first time experience Japan as a postdoctoral fellow (2010-11),  I learned that the ability to speak, read and write Japanese is essential otherwise things can get a bit difficult and in many cases most unlikely achieve what you want the way you want it. Of course with modern technology you can translate within seconds any electronic document (i.e. email) from Japanese to English by using translator software but even