On April 10, Kaorico Ago, founder, owner and designer of the fabled Little Eagle Designs, Japan’s premier natural fiber folkwear clothing company, met me at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport. She treated me to a quiet green car seat on the airport express train to Zushi, where we were met by her kindly father, known to me only as Papa-chan (Papa Dear), greeted at the front door by her sweet mother, introduced to me as Michiko-baba (Grandma Michiko), and Kaorico’s athletic and musical 12 year daughter Ryoo. I slept deeply at their home. The next morning I looked out from the balcony of Kaorico’s third floor room (which she sacrificed for my stay; she slept in another room) to the coastline of Hayama, the closest beach resort town to Tokyo.
Kaorico is, IMHO, a woman of deep spirituality, which expresses itself in her activities (walking in Dennis Banks’ Long Walk for Freedom), her company’s motto (“live for journey, on the road forever under the blue sky”), and her decor (lots of natural and handmade things, and lots of altars).
Here is her “on the road” altar.
I offered her a print of my four “Feeling Good” paintings and she placed in on one of her driftwood altars.
In her living room, with a sunken dining area in the center…
..Kaorico served our elegant breakfast: miso soup with tofu and green onion, Michiko-baba’s homemade pickled cucumbers, a small green salad with grated daikon and strips of nori, and rice.
After breakfast, I took at long hot soak in the furo overlooking a bamboo grove.
After the bath, I repacked my things for a three day jaunt to Hazu, a beach town outside of Nagoya city, to sing at a rock festival where Kaorico and her staff will be selling Little Eagle clothes.
We packed up Kaorico’s car and drove for six hours to Nishio, where the Little Eagle warehouse is.
This is no ordinary warehouse. For example, check out the door handles on the front door. Handmade from driftwood with peace sign hardware.
The staff were busy coating wire hangers with strips of rags to make funky-elegant shabby-chic, recycled, display hangers.
Sakura, the ten-year-old artist daughter of Kisaki, the warehouse manager, was busy weaving strips rags into a beautiful fabric.
Kaorico (on the left) and her staff were delighted to see each other, and preparations for the clothing booth at the festival were going apace. Another example of Kaorico’s shining heart and soul in the material world.