Sorry, but I had no time to update for a while because I had to write a lot of documents to solve my problem. I'll report about it when the trouble is out.
Well, the accessories in the pictures are handmade necklaces and rings which are made of natural stones and beads. I made them but those were originally designed by a handcraft artist Midoriko Asai. I found her kits in my favorite mail-order catalog years ago.
There are three sets. The blue-green one is mainly made of turquoise, the red one is of yama-sango (literally means "mountain coral") and the deep green and silver one is of freshwater pearls.
You know pearls are usually very expensive because those are cultured in seawater. That means those are raised in the natural surroundings which is very severe. But as freshwater pearls are not so expensive, those are usually used for handmaid accessories.
As I had no experience of making beads accessories before I made the red yama-sango set, I made them for the first time. But the directions were very plain and clear, I was able to make them easily.
Japanese plastic beads are usually not so beautiful like many kinds of them which are on the overseas market. That because beads tend to be considered as children's toy here. After the break of beads craft boom about 10 years ago, we can find imported materials of quality sometimes but those are still not many. Moreover kits which contain natural stones are very rare. So those three sets are my most favorite handcraft beads pieces even after I made some more ones after those.
Comic Review5 - Banana Fish -
His name is Aslan Jade Callenreese but no one call him that way. He is known as Ash Lynx, a prominent boss of street kids as well as the worst murderer in the American criminal record. He killed countless people in his short life, yet, one of the most fascinating characters in Japanese girls' comics.
The story was begun in Vietnam. A military unit was almost destroyed by so-called friendly fire. Because Griffin Callenreese, Ash's elder brother, was suffered from a drug and fired indiscriminatingly. That was the beginning Ash was rolled up in the war around the fatal drug called Banana Fish.
Previous to the matter, whereas his brother served as a soldier, little Ash had escaped from his hometown Cape Cod years ago. As his mother had run away when Ash was almost a baby and his father nearly deserted him, he was raised by his brother. Griffin was a gentle boy who loved literature and Ash loved him very much. But without him, no one cared Ash any more. Besides, an incident had cut his ties to the hometown.
Ash came to New York this way, joined the city as a little street kid. Unfortunately he was a very pretty boy. The powerless little child was caught by ruffians, raped and sold as a boy prostitute. There was nothing he could do then, but after years, Ash was picked out by a Maffia's big boss named Dino Francis Goltzine. Goltzine was a powerful man but in a funny way, also a gentleman. He lavished his love on Ash while Ash hated him. Goltzine noticed Ash's remarkable talent and wanted to raise him as his sniper at first. But Ash was more than that because his IQ was over 180, a genius.
After Goltzine knew the fact, he gave Ash all kinds of education, came to love him more and more. Thus, an angelic boy turned a devilish boss of street kids. Still, Ash was a kind and lonely boy in his deep mind.
Griffin came back in this situation, not only crippled but totally ruined mentally. He wasn't able to recognize even Ash any more. While Ash took out him from a hospital and took care of him, he came to know the existence of the drug Banana Fish. As he noticed Goltzine likely related to it, Ash began to search the secret of the drug as well as what Goltzine was plotting with it. The secret unexpectedly turned to be connected with a national conspiracy in the end.
Meanwhile, Eiji Okumura, a Japanese boy happened to come to New York. He followed his older friend Ibe who was a photographer. Ibe came here to cover street kids and Eiji was his assistant. They're two easygoing travelers until Eiji met Ash.
While Eiji talked with Ash at a small indecent bar, a strange thing happened. Ash was, as you already know, a cruel boss of street kids now. People knew he was a murderer and even his followers feared him much. But Eiji didn't know that. He asked Ash to show his gun to him innocently. Because real guns are rare for most of the Japanese. To everyone's surprise, except for Eiji, Ash accepted the request and handed the gun to him. Ash didn't usually permit that so easily. Maybe that was because Eiji was a kind and harmless boy who had a warm heart. Ash seemed to feel it intuitively.
But then, an opposite street kids group raid into the bar to hold Ash. A riot was raised. Eiji was caught up in the battle among groups and the hostility between Ash and Goltzine relating to the drug after that. Through the disturbance, Ash in many difficulties and Eiji who was a warmhearted boy gradually became friends. Not mere friends, the best friends for each other.
It's true that Ash was a murderer but he killed unwillingly all the time. If not, he hadn't been able to survive until he found his lifelong best friend Eiji. That was the situation Ash was in. Against his own destiny, he killed and lived. But you'll know how he was lonely even if he was worshiped by many followers as a boss. Even if he was an incredible genius.
In addition to the lure of the cool beauty Ash, not only Eiji but also other characters are attractive. Even Goltzine, Ash's lifelong enemy, is indispensable. I like him very much. His love for Ash is funny but that is real. Raising the genius boy is his artistic pleasure, even if Ash hates him. Helpless one-way love. (laugh)
Others are Shorter Won, a boss of Chinese group who is a cheerful boy and Ash's good friend. Shin, also a Chinese boss, who succeeded to Shorter after he died is a low-teen but capable little boy. Shin came to respect Ash very much after fighting against their enemy together. Or Griffin's old friend Max Lobo, a journalist and a writer, who helps Ash to search the secret of Banana Fish. And so on. All of them are very funny but attractive characters.
This is a long story but you won't be bored from the start to the end. I think it's not a mere comic. The story is already equal to a fine nonfiction novel, yet, with full of romantic elements.
Well, you can see Ash's various faces in the title pictures on this page. Sometimes hardboiled, sometimes intelligent. A killer but not heartless. Anyway, he's cool, isn't he?
The title Banana Fish is from one of Salinger's novels. A fish which calls Death.
Clearly different from Umimach Diary that I introduced before, Banana Fish is a hard and dry story. Drug, conspiracy, rape, killing, war, full of bad things and inhumanity. You may not believe the two stories are from the same artist. But this is also Akimi Yoshida. Her sharp sense, humor and her theme are alive in both stories.
Over all the bad things that are described in the story Banana Fish, you can find what is important for the author through the relationship between Ash and Eiji. I hope you learn it from the books.
This is one of my favorite Ash on title pages!
Stylish and cool but it's also based on Akimi's first class joke.
You'll know what I mean if you read her stories.