Seeing Double

I visited my friend David a few days ago. David was born in England shortly after the end of the war, and after some years of travelling here and there, and doing this and that, finally settled here in Japan, where he is now making a living as a successful woodblock printmaker.

(Just a minute! Who is writing this column this week? Isn't it David, from England, who is working as a woodblock printmaker here in Japan?)

Yes it's me, David, writing this column just like I do every week. But perhaps today's topic may make you think you are seeing double! There is also another woodblock printmaker David from England living here in Japan.

I have to admit that when I first met the other David a few years ago (his name, by the way, is David Stones), I had mixed feelings. On the one hand, I was glad to find another person doing work like mine. At last I would be able to talk about the world of printmaking with someone who understood what I was saying! But on the other hand, I felt a bit of rivalry. This was my territory! I didn't feel so happy about somebody else coming here and doing the same thing.

As I soon learned though, such negative thoughts were out-of-place. For one thing, David has been here in Japan for more than twenty years. It is me who is the 'new kid'! And of course, Japan is a very big place. There is more than enough room here for both of us to study and work at woodblock printmaking.

Actually, there is no conflict at all between us. We work in two completely different worlds. David S. is an artist/craftsman, creating modern designs - and David B. is a shokunin/craftsman, working with old designs. We complement (and compliment!) each other quite well!

(But which of us do you think has the best beard?)