City art club fuels enthusiasm

Published: 04/05/2009 05:00



LookAtVietnam – Nestled on a small street named Huynh Khuong Ninh in HCMC’s District 1, the Over Land Club, a club opened by a Japanese national in 2001 to offer cooking, folk music, pottery and ao dai making classes, is a favorite destination of city art lovers.

A staff of the Over Land Club (L) guides a pottery student from Hong Kong.

With the theme “cultural opportunity for everyone,” the club welcomes anyone who wants to learn international culture and art.

For 40 year old Japanese expat Tomizawa Mamoru, founder and director of the Over Land Club, this is home, a place to share art and culture, especially Vietnamese pottery. It also marks a turning-point in his life.

The 1995 Kobe earthquake claimed Mamoru’s house and job as his seaside import-export company headquarters and house were buried, Mamoru told the Daily.

For such a tremendous life change, Mamoru had to find a place to re-start and after reading and researching about investment in Vietnam, he decided to visit the country.

Mamoru said that after visiting Vietnam and tasting the cooking he was won over and decided to set up his new life here. He spent years working for a tourist company of the Japanese government in Vietnam to lead tourists on bus tours through nine countries from Asia to Europe.

The time working in the tourism industry gave Mamoru the love of art and culture and the idea for a place where tourists do not need to travel so far to learn something. He quit his job and in 2001 founded his own cultural and art club in HCMC.

Mamoru zeroed in on Vietnamese pottery making. He spent time in pottery handicraft villages such as Bat Trang in the north and the villages of Binh Duong Province in the South. He joined the Vietnamese Art College to learn.

He said that pottery uses a pure, eco- friendly, wonderfully textured material, namely clay, and that it enhances creativity, especially the creativity of children. Tactile work can be good for the mind as it relaxes the student and gives him an escape from the stressful environment of big cities, he added.

Mimoru said that he expected sponsorship so that he could organize free pottery classes for elementary school children as this art was not only fun but also good for tapping creative potential.

The club is offering pottery classes from 9:30 a.m to noon every day and from 1:30 p.m to 4:30 p.m on Thursday and Sunday. The fees are between US$12 and US$20 per class.

Cooking classes learn French, Japanese, Malaysian and Vietnamese cuisines. The fees are between US$25 and US$28.

Folk music and Vietnamese ao dai making classes are available upon request.

For more information contact the Over Land Club, 36 bis Huynh Khuong Ninh Street, Dakao Ward, District 1, tel:(848) 3820 9734, website:


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