Hello from Yuka from Ichiroya.
Ogenki desuka? How are you?
Here, we see many tourists from abroad enjoying sightseeing and visiting both cities and local area also. We see more tourists than before. We hope all tourists enjoy the time in Japan!
Today, we like to introduce a unique Japanese woman living in France. She is de Rola Setsuko born in 1943.
（La Comtesse Setsuko Klossowska de Rola)
She is a widow of the French painter Balthus (he is a great painter, who was often
ranked with Picaso), and now she lives in La Grand Chalet in Rossiniere, Switzerland.
Balthus died in 2001 but she still lives there and her unique life style is very interesting.
She is a painter and artist also. Balthus and she started living in the Chalet from 1977. The house was built in 1954 as a hotel. Victor Hugo used to stay in this hotel, and it was a biggest wooden architecture in France with a long history.
She keeps living there, wearing kimono most of the time. She enjoys working in the garden, painting in her atelier(she was appointed as Unesco's Artist For Peace), and also working as an honorary President of Balthus Foundation. She writes essay too.
At first, she started wearing kimono because her husband liked kimono but gradually she feels comfortable wearing kimono in her daily life and also travelling. Her mother sent kimono from Japan to her beloved daughter and among those kimono there were beautiful and fashionable kimono from her aunt. Setsuko surely has a sense of beauty and her kimono coordination is very elegant. Most of the time she wears kimono in traditional way but sometimes her coodination is inspired from European taste.
Her creative and rich life in La Grand Chalet is getting a lot of attention.
Here is one of the event in a major department store (Hankyu) which took place recently. In that event, more than 180 pieces of her things from the Chalet were showing, not only her paintings but her small hand craft goods used in the Chalet also.
Here is the page telling about this event:
This is not the first time- the exhibition showing her things has been held in other places in Japan also.
People are not just curious about this women living in a huge Chalet- her eye for beauty show in her kimono coordination and somehow looks so impressive in the Europeian scenery. People are amazed by her coordination and the rich life surrounded by her handmade item.
She uses lacquereware given from her grandmother to celebrate new year's day and arrange flowers in Japanese bamboo vase matched with wooden screen from India. She wears obi made of Indonasian Batik with her kimono in Chalet. She walks in her deep red sha kimono on the Sahara Desert together with her elegant red parasol. Married to a great painter when young but she keeps her identity and enjoys the fusion with the culture from where she was brought up.
She might have had hard time adjusting herself in different culture, but the photos of her wearing kimono in Chalet all show how happy and confident she must be. Her eyes for beauty must have been sharpen in Western upper society and she must have had harmonized the different culture in her.I wish I could show each page of the book on top of this newsletter, because the photos are great.
There are many other books showing her life style available at Amazon Japan.
At first, I thought she was just a loyal wife devoted her life to her husband and wore kimono just to please him but it seems she is a strong woman with firm identity! Her beaming (and elegant) smile shows she enjoys her life throughly and truly.
Japanese women are not so weak???? (It is often said Japanese women have backbone!)