Kanagawa Gallery Stroll
Shino Yamamoto (Galerie Watts)
If someone asks me, ``Do you like drinking alcohol?'', I'm the type of person who would immediately answer ``Yes!'' without hesitation, but after hearing about it from ceramic artist Asako Okamura, I've always wanted to go there. There was a place where
Its name is "okeba". Okeba means okeba, and refers to a workshop where sake barrels and tools are repaired and manufactured.
Gallery walks have not turned into sake brewery tours this time (lol).
The gallery shop we will introduce this time is ``Okeba'', which is located in a corner of ``Kumazawa Sake Brewery'', the only remaining brewery in Shonan that was founded in 1895.
At the entrance, old sake bottles are lined up as if to greet visitors. As expected, it is unique to the brewery. Open the elegant sliding door and step inside with excitement.
Immediately after entering, an exhibition of sister-brother pottery by Asako Okamura and Yutaro, who introduced me to Okeba, was being held. Both of them are from Hiratsuka, and are well-known artists who hold events here every year. This space hosts exhibitions by artists of various genres every month.
Asako says, ``I prefer to express shapes using ceramic plates rather than making vessels,'' and her works have the comfort of drawing everyday scenes.
On the other hand, Mr. Yutaro creates a wide range of ceramics, from playful to orthodox. In addition to his pottery activities, Yutaro is the executive chairman of the popular event in Kanagawa Prefecture, ``Oiso Utsuwa Day,'' and works with fellow local potter Hiroyuki Tomita to create a place where pottery and people can meet. Masu. This is the 9th time this year! It is expected to be held around the end of October.
Asako Okamura (left) and store manager Wakako Muraishi, who have been working with Okeba for a long time, are like sisters.
Now, when you go inside, you will find a huge and impressive space. We sell crafts made by artists in the Shonan area, as well as vintage furniture and second-hand tools, in a renovated warehouse that was used as a trough for over 100 years.
The shelves near the ceiling were filled with tools that had no longer been used to make sake, leaving behind the remains of the sake brewing industry.
The items lined up include rare antiques and cute, nostalgic items, all selected by the store manager, Wakako Muraishi. Because he loved second-hand goods and used to buy and sell them under the trade name ``Mononomeya'', he developed a connection with Okeba and was appointed as the store manager.
During the conversation, it was also discovered that Mr. Muraishi was a founding member of "Tsukiyama", which I introduced last time. Apparently, he is an indispensable person to liven up the Shonan area.
``Modern artisan items are filled with the thoughts of the maker, and second-hand tools are filled with the thoughts of generations of users, and I feel that both have a spiritual richness that is essential for daily life.'' said Muraishi.
Indeed, everything lined up in this historic space has a similar taste, and it speaks for itself.
On the second floor, there is a corner for picture books and old books, including rare picture books that the owner of Okeba himself collected while raising his children. There are so many fascinating books that you can touch on the culture that once you pick up one book, you'll be intrigued by the next one. If I were to be careless, I could easily spend several hours just here.
``We introduce things from a wide variety of genres, so I hope that you can take your time wandering around, encounter things that you feel sympathy for, and enjoy your life,'' says Muraishi.
Now, on the grounds where Okeba is located, there is a trattoria run by Kumazawa Sake Brewery, a cafe, and a bakery that makes use of beer yeast, gathered together like a small village. The entrance, which is covered with large trees, makes you feel like you've wandered into another world, like something out of Alice in Wonderland or The Chronicles of Narnia.
Kumazawa Sake Brewery's Shonan Beer is famous, but local farm beer made with fruits from local farmers is also popular. Luckily, I was able to order the Kataura Lemon Ale, which had just been released. Well, just one drink (lol).
The juicy, richly flavored homemade sausage goes perfectly with the refreshing lemon beer!
It's easy to see how many customers enjoy their day at a leisurely pace, taking a break with delicious food and brewery-specific sake, then returning to Okeba to enjoy their time.
It's heartening to see a sake brewery that has been brewing for over 150 years fostering local culture, and as I imagine the richness of spirit that will be passed down for the next 100 years and beyond, I feel romantic, and as I enjoy my second drink. He had a beer in his hand.
7-10-7 Kagawa, Chigasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture 253-0082
Opening hours: Weekdays 11:00-17:00 / Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays 11:00-18:00
(Business hours may change)
Closed: 3rd Tuesday of the month (excluding August and December)
▶︎10 minutes walk from JR Sagami Line "Kagawa" station
*Okamura sisters and brother pottery exhibition will be held until May 15th (Wednesday)