Water /Ink /Paper Sketches of Japan 1996

A book, a personal memoir and travelogue which captures the 90’s Japan.

In a delightful book on drawing and observation, an architect from Bangladesh pens his personal memoir and travelogue recounting his journey as a student (at the University of Pennsylvania) travelling through Japan in the ’90s. “Places, peoples and things populate Salauddin Ahmed’s book. It’s the beginning of a romance with culture/place that has constantly been described as mysterious and opaque,” writes architect and professor Khaleed Ashraf in his forward. Salauddin’s words attempt to lift the veil, and provide an aperture into the culture of Japan. “As an architect, I wish to share my time in Japan with the readers in the most honest and personal way. Of all the lines, dots and notes that I put in this sketch book were for me a way of capturing the moments of a given place at a given time,” writes Salauddin in his author’s note.

The book encounters two spaces/ views concurrently: the writer as an outsider (sketches of architecture such as Renzo Piano’s Kansai International Airport or Wright’s Imperial Hotel), and that from a more intimate perspective (observations of a step or wood joinery, food, minute reflections, the leaf wrapper of the sushi, etc). Architecture is just a part of the greater realm, captured and recorded. The only consistency comes in the form the return address of this mysterious envelope that appears frequently in the book. It also provides a removal from the immediate context, a different frame of a different culture.

The author mentions the influence of Japanese architect Kinya Maruyama who conducted a workshop for Penn students, an experience that fuelled his desire to travel through and explore Japan. The vividness of the book will no doubt strike readers; the collage like quality of the superimpositions of personal fragments, the various layers, the quality of rice paper, or sugar sachets consumed. There is immense intimacy retained in the size and quality of the book production. Beautifully bound in a vermillion red cloth, it’s a book worth possessing for its shear artistic quality.

Sketches of Japan 1996
Author Salauddin Ahmed
Publisher Loka Press, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Date 2013
ISBN 978-984-33-7434-9
Availability Loka Press

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