Snippets of Home: Finding Japan in Limburg

Photo exhibition at the Meertens Institute. This exhibition is a result of collaboration of a sociolinguist Anna Strycharz-Banaś and a photographer and cultural anthropologist Paweł Banaś.

“You know it’s not your home, but you want it to be home for your children, for your grandchildren. How can you do it? […] You can learn to belong. And belonging is in the detail. Tea poured from a Japanese kettle into a Japanese cup tastes differently than in any other cup.” (Noriko, born in Osaka, has lived in the Netherlands for over ten years)

Snippets of Home explores these details of belonging, created through seemingly simple everyday objects brought by Japanese women into their Dutch homes in Limburg.

From a kitchen knife to a Buddha statue, these objects create a language in which the Japanese women express their feeling of belonging to two lands. Some of these objects are proudly exposed on shelves and in the windows, some are hidden in drawers, and yet each and every one of them creates a link to the distant homeland bringing to the fore real or imagined geographies of home. Taken out of their original place, these objects themselves undergo transnational migration to gain a new life and new meaning, whereby through uprooting they become, perhaps counterintuitively, used for regrounding.

This exhibition is a result of collaboration of a sociolinguist Anna Strycharz-Banaś and a photographer and cultural anthropologist Paweł Banaś. The photography is part of a larger research project investigating linguistic and cultural practices of Japanese immigrants in the Netherlands, and funded by NOW (Rubicon grant). The fieldwork in Limburg and artwork preparation was funded by Meertens Institute and University of Maastricht.

 

We would like to thank all of the Japanese-Dutch families who have invited us to their homes and shared their stories, and snippets of their lives with us – arigatou gozaimashita!