Well, actually, my name is not Hidari.

My name is Tobias and I welcome you to the IamHidari blog!

Wait, so who is Hidari then?

Good question!

I guess Hidari could be anyone trying to employ a certain mindset in  their daily operations which is said to have been championed by a figure from Japanese history (or lore): the master carpenter and sculptor Hidari Jingorō (左甚五郎).

Hidari Jingorō was a (maybe fictitious) artist of the early Edo period in Japan. It is said that he excelled at his craft in an unprecedented way, leading to great admiration among his supporters but to great jealousy in his competitors. This jealousy became so intense that in an attempt to stop him from sculpting forever, attackers badly injured (or even cut off) his right hand which was rendered useless as a result.

Yet, instead of giving up his life work, Hidari Jingorō trained himself to use his left hand instead, enabling him to regain his former level of excellence. From this day onwards he changed his name to Hidari, 左, which in Japanese means ‚left‘.

I named this site IamHidari not because I consider myself a master at my craft or in any way equal to Hidari Jingorō , but because the energy and mindset needed to train yourself in alternate ways to succeed (or simply make a living) is a thing I deeply admire and that I strive to employ in my own progress as a designer and illustrator.

Moreover, the works supposedly carved by Hidari Jingorō, which can still be seen at various places around all of Japan, are truly beautiful and it is easily conceivable that to this day he is considered a master of his craft (that is if he really did exist).

During my seven-year stay in Japan, I was lucky enough to see some of his works and I will try to include them in the blog posts to follow whenever suitable and possible. For now, please have a look at the illustration above which could serve as a kind of self-portrait and which includes interpretations of some of Hidari Jingorō’s most famous pieces: the sleeping cat at Nikkō Tōshōgū Shrine as well as the the shackled dragon and the child-rearing tigress, both part of the Chichibu Shrine in Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, Japan.

Funnily, when looking more closely at the Japanese character (or Kanji) for ‘left’, I found that, with a bit of imagination, it contains my initials: T and H, and I decided to, therefore, use it as my logo for IamHidari.com and will stick to Hidari as my pen name when writing on this site.

So what can you expect from this blog? Well, most certainly all things Japan, but more specifically travel reports, cultural observations and probably things you wont encounter on your regular holiday trip to Japan, in other words things off the beaten path.

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