15 May '11, 3am

Quake-hit Japan pottery town picking up pieces

MASHIKO (Japan) - JAPAN'S massive earthquake crushed many of Mashiko's ancient pottery kilns and left its world-famous ceramics in shards, but two months on, its craftsmen are picking up the pieces. The picturesque town, as rustic as the ceramics it has fired for generations, was shaken hard by the March 11 quake, but now the potters of Mashiko are seeing a silver lining despite continuing aftershocks. Workers from the 300-plus studios in this rural town cleared through the rubble to salvage unbroken works and rushed to create new ones in the surviving kilns for an annual spring pottery fair, Mashiko's biggest money-spinner. Their fans came in droves - 468,000 people flocked to a recent seven-day fair, despite the lingering fears of many of radiation wafting from the tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear plant 130km away. The turnout during the string of holidays, although 20...

Full article: http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Asia/Story/STISt...

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