Thursday, March 15, 2007


SWEET STREET ART

Decades ago I remember seeing, only very occasionally in Tokyo - and only once during the eighties in Kyoto – the amezaiku street artists/vendors (even then rare) who, in front of the growing crowd would take hot taffylike sugar, handle it like rhythmic lightning with tongs now and then in flame like a glass blower, color the shapeless blob, twist it, mold it and cut it with well-worn shears until it was fashioned into a Doraemon on a stick, or dragon, pig, bunny rabbit, monkey, phoenix, whatever fanciful creature came to mind as the candyman cracked jokes, did tricks, told stories while teasing the sweet creature of his story out of the melting sugar before all those wide-eyed faces... or working as per customer order for one of the noisy crowd of mostly kids around his stand... I don't even see amezaiku at big festivals anymore...

There are a few young amezaiku-nin taking the art up again, but back then when an amezaiku artist had been at his craft for 60 years or more and was cracking up the crowd while crafting faster than the eye could follow, the results were breathtaking. Unfortunately, all those splendid works were purchased for just a few yen, then happily licked into oblivion...

2 comments:

Annette said...

Aren't the best things in life ephemeral? What beauties! Found this page which show s the more ostentatious taste of the royals: http://www.historicfood.com/Royal-sugar-Sculpture.htm

Robert Brady said...

That sure nutshells the difference! Thanks, Annette.