November 11, 2011


Japan has come into my life when I was a teenager. One of my good friends, whom I describe in this post, helped me discover it. It felt like I was a sea explorer, standing on the deck of a ship which has just floated out of a thick fog, only to be faced with a sight so extraordinarily beautiful – a land of poems, prints, classical theatre, the culture of admiring sakura blossoms, netzke, origami, architecture, kimono, unique literature, history, and mythology. Ever since that time, Japan has never left my heart. Whenever it felt like I know something about Japan, a multitude of new information would bring me out of that certainty. Although I often wished that I could say – many years later, having read so many books – that I know something about Japan.

I have been very lucky to meet Noriko in Toronto. I found that she is able to express many aspects of Japanese culture that are impossible to put in words. Noriko is the kind of person you’d always want to be around – and watch her performances. As a former ballerina and current instructor, she doesn’t just create choreography, she comes up with elaborate pantomime.

You can also admire her sculptures and paintings. Although the most important thing to me is just enjoying her company. At those moments, I am visited by the feeling that the world can be quite harmonious – at least while you’re spending time with Noriko.

These photos from Noriko’s performance were made with the generous permission of the owner of the house and fitness instructor -  Judith Thompson


  1. "FANTASTIC" - what a beautiful and exquisite journey! I love the art, it's so full of personal character. Thanks for the wonderful post!

  2. Great post. What a wonderful friend you have there.

  3. in Japanese culture I always admire care for details and forms, everything is always so proper

  4. I loved your post about "Mad Boy" and enjoyed this new story about your friend Noriko. As always, your writing is exquisitely enhanced by your beautiful photography. Bon weekend, Olga. == Veronique

  5. Je pense que tu dois garder un souvenir extraordinaire des moments que tu as passés auprès de la personne qui t'a initiée à la culture japonaise. Un autre monde. Très enrichissant.
    Bon week-end, Olga!

  6. Japanilaiselle kulttuurille ja tuotteille nostan aina hattua...
    Hienossa kuva-sarjassa löytyy menoa ja meininkiä...!

  7. Hello Olga:
    How wonderful to have such a friend as Noriko and through her to learn, in your case even more, about a completely different country and culture. Japan remains one of those very fascinating countries which we should love to visit.

  8. Lovely lady. And I love these paper sculptures.
    The Japanese seem to revere paper as art, in so many ways.
    Lots of style and lessons in your photos.

  9. How lucky your are having a Japanese friend. I had an (English) boss once who had worked in Japan many years, and was in love with the country. Now don't laugh - he told me to read James Clavell's book Shogun as the best introduction to the soul of the country. After that whenever I've met with Japanese people I've had the book on mind.
    For more about my boss/friend Bill you may read:
    Very recently I discovered another Japanese "must" to read too:
    I thought you might be interested on all this :-)

  10. Hello!
    Thank you very much for this great post.
    Noriko is a beautiful woman. Her sculptures are so delicate and expressive.
    As a Japanese woman, I am now so glad to read this post with your fantastic photos and writing!

  11. Very funny the expression in the first picture.
    Good photos with art today

  12. I love japanese things.

  13. I´ve always been fascinated with Japan, I hope to see it one day. This was a very interesting post - tell Noriko I said "hi"! :-)

  14. Очень понравилось творчество этой женщины.
    Японская культура так самобытна и лаконична!

  15. Thanks for sharing your beautiful friend Noriko with us, Olga! Her beauty extends so exquisitely to her art!

  16. With your involvement with others, your life has been enriched.

  17. Your friend seems to be a very good one.
    Did you know that when someone loses something in Japan it will never be stolen. You can go back and find it where you left it or go to the lost and found where it will be taken to.
    There is a great sense of honor in Japan and this is one thing among others , I like about them.

  18. Thank you for this post, Olga. I also would like to say thank you to Noriko-san, who has demonstrated Japanese essence with her art and her way of living so nicely. Her lithe and airy poses remind me that we are part of nature - I’d like to see her dancing in the nature. Her sculptures made of white Japanese paper emit lovely and wondrous atmosphere. The last sculptures look like a bit refined taste of “doguu”, clay figures of ancient Japan. I like the way you displayed those sculptures and a posing Noriko-san side by side.


  19. Wonderful. I love the whimsy in her sculptures. You're very lucky to have a friend like her!

  20. I have never visited Japan or met anyone from there so I think you are very lucky to have met Noriko. Interesting post. Diane

  21. Thanks Olga for transmit customs of other cultures. Japan is a country I like to visit
    You were lucky to know Noriko:)
    Have a good Sunday.
    A kiss for both.

  22. Оля, большое спасибо за такой хороший пост! Встречи с творческими людьми очень интересны и обогащающие. Завидую (в положительном смысле), что ты как человек творческий, имеешь возможность дружить и общаться с мастерами искусства. У меня с искусством "не сложилось": музыкального слуха не имею, а так люблю хорошую музыку; рисовать не умею, а на полотна смотрю с широко распахнутыми глазами; танцую как слон, а балет, танец меня завораживают. Вот я только и наслаждаюсь всей этой красотой:))
    Я тоже в подростковом возрасте влюбилась в таинственные японские танка и хокку, сакуру, праздник хризантем, нецке, кимоно, оригами, архитектуру. Но Япония остается для меня неизвестным миром, далеким, неизведанным. А у тебя есть Норико:)) - очень душевная частичка маленькой большой Японии:))

  23. The photos are very nice, i like them

  24. Hi DeanO,
    The first photo is of Noriko playing an old woman enjoying her tea :) I'm glad you like it, because she really is an extraordinary person.

    Hi Randy,
    Thank you very much. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I never thought I'd capture Noriko's performance in a way that would make sense.

    Hi Ola,
    The word "proper" is very appropriate for Japanese culture. I think it relates to the word "harmonious".

    Hi Veronique,
    Your compliments make me blush :) Thank you. It's very encouraging.

    Hi Wong,
    Thank you. It wasn't easy to capture this performance.

  25. Hi Richard,
    La culture japonaise est une chose fascinante. Je ne me lasse jamais d'apprendre de nouvelles choses à ce sujet. Malgré le fait que je suis si loin du Japon.

    Hi Pierre,
    I'm glad you liked my friend and her creativity.

    Hi Eko,
    Uskon, että japanilaiset ihmiset ovat yksi tärkeä piirre, että pidän - vakava suhtautuminen tahansa.

    Hi Jane and Lance Hattatt,
    To visit Japan is one of my dreams. I'm so glad that I can see posts from Japan on my friends' blogs, and image myself there :)

    Hi Rick,
    Yes, they do have a special relationship with paper. I never would have thought to use paper so creatively.

  26. Hi Pet,
    Thank you for the book recommendation. It's shameful, but I've never heard of it. I don't get upset, because it means I have an exciting journey ahead :) I will definitely read your posts about your boss.

    Hi Tomoko,
    I really like to think that other Japanese women are as nice as Noriko :) Like many artists, she has a bit of eccentricity. I'm so glad you liked this post.

    Hi Fabio,
    I'm glad you liked it. There were many comical moments in her performance.

    Hi Andressa,
    I love Japanese things too! It's pleasant to look at them and think of them.

    Hi tinajo,
    I'll say hello to Noriko from Sweden :)

  27. Hi tattina,
    Норико такая спокойная. Это удивительно. В ней полно эксцентричности, но всё каким-то магическим образом приводит к спокойствию.

    Hi Dr. Kathy McCoy,
    Yes, all the forms in her artwork and performance are so laconic and yet so expressive.

    Hi R. Jacob,
    I really think that, if you find something in common with a person and befriend them, it is a gift from fate.

    Hi A Lady's Life,
    I think that honour is one of the key words that you can apply to Japanese culture. The word is simple, but there is so much behind it.

    Hi Yoko,
    I was very worried about the way you would interpret this post, and the way I conveyed Noriko's art in my photos. I'm glad you approve of it :)

  28. Hi Talli,
    I'm glad you liked Noriko's art and creativity. It's really a unique culture, and so much to learn about it.

    Hi Diane,
    I think that so many people have the wish to visit Japan, and get a sense of its culture. What a shame that it's so far :)

    Hi Laura.M,
    I think of Japan very often. Particularly in the spring, because we have an alley of Japanese cherry trees in our park. Also, there are some very beautiful Japanese maples. I'm glad you liked my post.

    Hi Tisa,
    Все мои знакомые, всегда были неравнодушны к японской культуре. По моему, это не удивительно. Всё в ней непохоже на то, к чему мы привыкли. А всё-таки есть один момент - тоска. У них есть это понятие. Своё, конечно, но по сути, похожее на наше. Не могу припомнить ничего похожего в других культурах. О! нет, ещё одна финка мне её упоминала однажды, эту самую тоску.
    Я всегда мечтала, чтобы у нашей семьи был интернациональный круг знакомых. Похоже, что это осуществилось.
    И, насчёт творческих людей. С ними интересно. Иногда не просто. Я всех своих друзей и знакомых ценю, буквально, на вес золота.
    Сегодня ходили с представителями одной большой семьи в галерею. Чувствую себя совершенно замечательно! Такое удовольствие.

    Hi Sergio,
    Thank you for your visit. I'm glad you liked this post :)

  29. Beautiful and enriching journey you had! Thanks for sharing!

  30. it's so beautiful to compare her bodily movements with the sculptures.

  31. How wonderful to be so graceful and to help others to understand things that are hard to put into words.

  32. Dear Olga,
    I begin to tell you that these photos are beautiful, and transmit such serenity.
    The Japanese culture intrigues me a lot, do you have some reading to recommend?

  33. This post was very soothing to read and look at. I especially like the facial expressions of your friend. Your friend is very talented. How can I forget Mad Boy-great story! I will pass this post on to Dori- she loves all things Japanese. Thanks for sharing. =)

  34. Hi Olga, I love to visit your blog as I don't know what I am going to find!
    I don't know much about Japan, but I do find the people and their culture fascinating.I loved the movie 'The Last Samurai'and was totally enthralled with the sense of order and calm within the home.I was once in a Hotel lift and a group of Japanese men and women got in. I was wearing a gold starfish brooch, they all started to point at it and say things in Japanese, I don't know if it was good or bad!
    You are lucky to have such a friend to learn from. Her sculpture is beautiful.
    Thankyou for your lovely comments Olga, have a great week, love Linda x

  35. What an extraordinary post, stunning words and photographs. Your blog is always one I look forward to visiting and today was no exception. x

  36. A lovely post dear Olga and such a wonderful friendship to share. The photographs are beautiful, so too Noriko's various forms of art.
    xoxoxo ♡

  37. Hi Romance Reader,
    I'm glad you liked this post about my Japanese friend. She is a really lovely person.

    Hi Nas Dean,
    Thank you, glad you enjoyed them :)

    Hi hila,
    I'm glad you noticed my idea on the subject that Noriko's sculptures resemble her in some way :)

    Hi Jenny Woolf,
    If you could see Noriko's performance, I'm sure it would have impressed you, just as it had impressed me.

    Hi Mary,
    The next post will be dedicated to your question :)

  38. Hi Sandy,
    I'd be very flattered if you showed this post to Dori. I hope she likes it!

    Hi Linda,
    I think that the most interesting thing is to learn about a new culture and be immersed in it. Of course, we aren't insured against mistakes in this adventure, but how much excitement awaits us!

    Hi Froggy,
    I'm glad that you have some time to blog. When Froggy is not in the blogosphere, there is an empty space :)

    Hi Fernando,
    Thank you for the compliments :) I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    Hi Dianne,
    Of course, my photos are just an attempt to appreciate a talented person. In reality, when I saw her performance, I was almost in tears.

  39. I can see why you feel so harmonious when you spend time with such a talented person. I can feel the peace and warmth, and happy feeling you must have in her presence, just by reading this post Olga.