Spreading colorful seaweed strands on postcards is an artform.
A tiny strand can expand to many times its size.
But there is one key difference: People eat seaweed, but can’t consume seagrass.
Seaweed grows along rocky stretches, blanketing the seas like great underwater forests.
Seagrass grows from sandy soil, creating flowers. It carpets the ocean like wide open underwater meadows.
Together they sway under the sea; the grasses, the weeds, and of course, the fish.
The thread of life binds them. As in the oceans and rivers, so too in the shores and mountains.
The proprietress of Shirai, a kombu and seafood market, gathers washed-up seaweed herself from the strands and beaches of Noto.
The leaves are taken to Shirai’s pressed seaweed gallery on the second floor, where visitors can hand-pick them in a soothing and natural experience.
They’ll dance anew in a richly painted world within the postcards you make.
Each hanayome noren tells a story.
Monetary cost is immaterial, for they are stories of parental love.
The proprietress of kombu and seafood market Shirai is a lively and bright woman who never stopped laughing, even during our interview.
But her countenance unexpectedly sobered when she said, “I’ve had many noren in my life, and I have different memories for each one.”
She received her own noren from her birth mother at the time of the noren exhibitions.
Her mother married immediately after World War 2.
“We didn’t have enough to eat back then,” the proprietress said earnestly, “But mother gave me a noren.”
Six years ago, her mother became sick, and is now staying at the hospital.
She cannot move, nor can she speak.
The proprietress put a postcard showing her mother’s hanayome noren in a tiny frame at her mother’s bedside. Her mother, who is now over 90 years old, broke out into a happy smile when she saw it. Maybe it reminded her of her youth.
She told us “The story of our noren wound up in a book once,” And she smiled so big the corners of her eyes crinkled.
She told us that her brother’s wives try to get their mother-in-law’s attention, but she’s always looking at that postcard.
Her mother didn’t remember her own noren before the owner of Shirai got married.
And yet no matter how much time passes, it’ll be there to remind her of her wedding day.
The proprietress goes to her mother’s bedside. She tells her of the hanayome noren, if only to comfort her.
“This year’s exhibition is about to begin,” she’d say.
And her mother would silently nod.
When Shirai’s proprietress walked through the noren on her own wedding day, she didn’t know what it meant.
But now she understands completely.
She understands a love that crosses between generations of women. From grandmother, to mother, to herself, and finally, back to her own mother.
It is a love that always comes back to the source.
Her son’s wife married into the family from far away. She bequeathed her own bright red noren for her daughter-in-law’s wedding day - a noren that is displayed during every exhibition.