NHT birthday

2019.07.14(Sun)

Hello to all our friends from The Tolman Collection,

Although I have not promised anyone a regular blog, still I am moved from time to time to send a report to my friends and other clients of our gallery who show a continued interest in what goes on in The Tolman Collection.  If you do not fall into those happy categories, please ready yourself to push the “delete button” and you won’t have to find out what is up with NHT.

On July 12th, to my own disbelief, I reached the lovely level that all octogenarians are slowly willing to admit - that I am in fact 83.  The other years, since I was in my 70s don’t seem that far away but owning up to being 83 is really facing the music. " You don’t look a day over xxx" is no longer valid, since you know that no one really thinks "you are not that old,” and even a simple look at the calendar and admitting to being born in 1936 proves the case.

This year I have been blessed with a long visit of my favorite grandchild, Lucas, who always reminds me that he is my only grandchild.  He is occupied with the compilation of a book on Kappa-zuri, the difficult and complicated method of printing used by Takahashi Hiromitsu who seems to be the last one able to conjure up all the steps that bring forth such beautiful prints of old Japan.

Lucas came back with me from New York, at the end of my last trip with Eiji, to Qazaqstan, Zurich, and Amsterdam. From there we continued on to NYC to take part in two fabulous parties for my older daughter Allison, who was festooned by two huge bunches of friends; dozens from her private life and other dozens from the

Japanese art establishment in New York City. The tender praises for her from all was just right for my old ears to hear. Eiji sharing the parties returned to Tokyo.



Lucas and I ventured to Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Despite the pre-conceived images that those two cities always deny, we have wonderful friends who treated us like visiting dignitaries which made us very happy. In Las Vegas we were treated to a concert, taken backstage to meet the star before the opening and then found ourselves wound up as part of the program, and if I said that I gave my shirt to be included, you would not get it unless you were there. After that, in Los Angeles we were spoiled over the top, by lawyers who extended their courtesies to us at a dinner to delight any 16-year-old, with a ride back that turned into a great sightseeing voyage.

The eleven hours from L.A. was as usual - get on, eat something, fall asleep, eat something else…and there are still six hours to go. Anyone who travels knows this and no one likes it, but sho ga nai (what can you do?) is the name of that game.

Lucas lived in Tokyo for more than five years and last year visited us in July, during this time we found time to visit Singapore.  This year Lucas has been offered the chance to put down on paper everything he knows about kappa-zuri and help bring to attention the wonderful accomplishments of Hiromitsu.  Watch this space for news of a book release. His arrival in Japan has been greeted by overwhelming good cheer by “The Boys” by which we always mean Eiji, Daisuke, Kiyo and Shin all of whom seem to be pleased with his presence.

My birthday was celebrated on July 12.  I had some appointment, or so I thought, but had to cancel it when Eiji informed me. “Your birthday starts at 3:15. Since this letter is already too long, I will release you to scan all the photos of that day, by ship up the river, and a festive dinner that only Japanese restaurants can see to.  It was wonderful and almost made me wonder what will they do when I am 84?

Norman Tolman


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