Sunday, 11 December 2016

Friday market photos

I think I told you that I had wandered around trying to find a museum and seen lots of strange characters outside shops...see what you make of them....

This was the marriage about today so obviously not a good day for weddings!

Another sign to add to the collection...

Now I am in the department store looking at all the kimono bits and bobs...I always head to this section as it is where you find the crafts i am interested in even if it is only made things for sale.

This si the small museum where they had all the ikat samples and the Noh theatre kimono...

This is the chap who took me around the weaving 'factory'  - limited photography allowed as they are anxious of copyright issues...

I was walking through one of the arcades when my ears were assaulted by the huge noise of drums was a small troop of chaps who were giving their instruments some punishment....all very dramatic as the sounds built to a climax!

Yet more to drool over....
 £11,700 or more!

...that's over £14,000...just for the obi....and they end up on a market for sale at around 1000Y so bargain hunters like me can buy them and then have to pay surplus luggage charges to bring them home!!

I will be adding more posts and photos in the next few days, please stay with me while I try and finish documenting my journey.  Got to get up now as today is the big day...Ruth and Andy are moving in to London Road...yippee...we will not have to work quite so hard as the house won't be quite so available to us...they will be living in the chaos!  Hopefully we will all still be speaking by the end of the day! ttfn

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Home safe and sound but into frantic whirlwind of decorating....

Arrived home and all is well, but life just a tad frantic...first hadn't been able to connect to internet but too busy till tonight to sort that out...normal connectivity now re-established so caught up on email and the Blog is next in line!  Daytime is spent totally working at London Road house trying to finish jobs so Ruth and Andy can move in even though they will have no heating or hot water till after January 8th!!   Added to that the houses in our little row have been advised of a water leak somewhere on one of our properties and the fixing of this is the owners responsibility .....and if that wasn't enough, a small leak on the sewer was discovered at the foot of the down-pipe on never rains but it pours!!  Trying hard to take all this in our stride!  The carpets go in on Thursday so once Ruth is free we can start to move their worldly goods out of the garage and into the house......

Will be catching up with photos from both the end and the beginning of my trip and will put them all into labelled posts so you will know what you are looking at....hopefully!

I would like to thank you all for following my journey and for all the emails and comments along the way.  It would have been lonely without you all and I hope you are not missing your morning fix too much! I can't believe I have been home for a week already!

Keep reading...I am aiming to catch up with the last few odds and ends over the next few evenings assuming not too worn out with all the decorating etc!


Monday, 28 November 2016

Saturday and Sunday...a good way to end!

I am summing up the last weekend in one post as one day has tended to blurr into the next. I am writing this at the airport in Paris, waiting for my connecting flight to Birmingham.

I managed to visit the hand made needle shop and buy some needles, but only big ones as the rest were sold out. The man serving said there was a problm with too many customers and too slow production!  Guard your needles well, as you don't know if they will be your last! I got the impression the 'old lady' no longer came to the shop, but I could be wrong.  Let's hope she spends her time well making lots more needles!!  The shop itself was very small and access was gained by going through a glass door with just some Japanese on it....across a lovely little garden into the shop which was like a small version of a garden cabin!  There was a bird which kept coming to the bits of fruit set there to feed it and the chap was most pleased that I had seen this little bird. It was green with large circles aroung the eyes....looked like it was wearing glasses!  No photo though as birds fly off the minute they smell a camera!

I found and visited more museums from my list, well they call themselves museums but really they are glorified shops. One was the shibori shop, so had a very good look there (and a purchase or two), and then on around the corner to the furushiki an fukusa museum.  The museum itself was closed as it was the weekend(!) but the retail outlet was open and full of lovely examples.  At the end and to the side was an area selling some exquisite examples of mizuhiki...or is it muzihiki... (string art) and I stood for ages studying all the little dodges I could spot.  Glad I have some stuff so can have a go, but like all things I bet it isn't as easy as it looks!

I returned to the hotel about 4.30 as was once again was now cold and tired, but in good humour. Decided to repack and weigh can tell I have this on my mind can't you.....Watched the last part of the sumo tournament and was glad that I hadn't missed seeing the final.  I won't bore you with the details but skill overcame bulk!!

I had an aweful night and felt like I had been awake for most of it, don't suppose that is true, but you know the feeling...The weather was dreadful, howling wind and rain pounding on the windows....I got to thinking about earth quakes....and what if.....So I am in my nightie snuggled in bed, say th alarm went off, do I get dressed/stick on the robe provided/grab clothes and run...mmmm. Then the qustion of what to take on my escape....just my passport as will need that to get home should I survive this potential take camera bag as would be devastated if lost all those way can I carry suitcase down the stairs to safety....should I grab and obi or can tell my mind was in overdrive.  I am not sure what I decided but when I finally woke up, there was no earth quake and all was well but extremely wet. My final day was definitely going to be damp.

I had deliberately left the Nishijin textile centre and the museum of Kyoto till the end so I had something juicy to end on.  The Nishijin place was as I remembered in general but the kimono fashion show was now done on the 3rd floor with seating provided. Last time it was on the ground floor on a raised dias, but no seats.

I was a tad disappointed as the kimono on show didn't strike me as spectacular as before but maybe it all depends on the fashion trends....

I spent quite a time drooling over the silks and looking at the roll ends of fabric, but resisted the latter...was restrained with the silks too. There was a lady weaving on a loom the traditional way...she was incorporating gold threads as supplementary wefts using a special wooden hook.  The method is referred to as finger picked.. and you could see why.  It took a while to work across each pick as there were several colours to be incorporated as well as the automatic zoom across of the background shuttle. I couldn't really be sure of the order but think the gold went through last, so background silk, all the coloured bits for the pattrns then the gold. She attracted a good amount of attention from the visitors, so I expect her rate of weaving was much slower when we were about!

After the prolongd visit, I had no alternative but to return to the very wet outside and make my way to the Museum of Kyoto....I wanted to go here because they had a special exhibition about Egypt and I wanted to see that.  Good way to pass a wet afternoon!
 Luckily there were some English translations but only as general notes about each section.  It wasn't a s good as I had hoped as it concentrated on th tomb builders rather than the contents.  The exhibition was a joint collaborative with the Museum of Cairo and most if not all the exhibits had come from there.  Lots of statues of this chap or the other sitting straight .....a funery mask but even that wasn't that exciting.  I looked at the book (with you in mind Jean, but it wasn't available in English so not much good to you!).
My next challenge was looming as I now had to retrieve my luggage from the station and get myself to the airport.  If I said that I got stresed here, it would be an understatement!  I had my locker keys, but could I find the damned took about 45 minuts, in fact just long enough for me to miss the train that I had planned to catch.
As luck would have it, while I was standing on the platform in the queue for the next train, the lady behind me spoke to me....she looked really elegant, not in kimono but in attire made by herself, she was proud to tell me, from vintag kimono.  To cut a long story short, she was a Buddhist oike (teacher?) and was making her way home from takiiiiiiiiiiiiiing some lessons.  She lived near to Shinagawa and offered to help me to the right platform so the remainder of my trip to the airport would be fine.  We had quite a conversation, interrupted by lots of pauses while she tried to think of the word she wanted.  We didn't gt a seat until near Nagoya (quite a long time to stand on the train!) but eventually got sorted.  She then got out a small notepad and tore a sheet of and gave it to me....origami lesson she said!! We passed the remainder of the two and a half hour trip making what she called diddy origami...small things....mainly lillies!! They are quite fiddly but pleasing ...she said to do them in lots of colours for Christmas and make them into  aball by stitching together....Anyway, the journey flew by and she escorted me to the correct platform where I got an earlier connection. She also gave me her email addresses so will try and establish contact when I get least to say thank you again. I love the Japanese people as they are so kind and helpful! 
 What a good way to end!!

 Thought it was an hour later than it is an so was champing at the bit to board and everyone walking up and checking screen. Just realised it is now just after 7 not 8! Ah well won't be long.  Will re-publish this and pack away, ttfn!  

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Friday is market day

I had a few issues finding the place as hadn't got a good bus map...mine was mostly in Japanese! I have learned that in some ways it pays to have two - an English so you can understand it even if you have to hold it upside down and a Japanese version for wafting in front of anyone you need to ask for help!
 I actually got off the bus a stop too soon I think, but at least was able to work out where I was and just got walking.  As markets go, it was a very similar to the market at Osaka except I think it was more surprise as Kyoto is a place for folk with deep deep pockets! Whereas kimono could be had for Y500 in Osaka they were at least Y1,000 and more. Still, you have to look hard wherever you are and be watchful. Many things are polyester nowadays, so if you have to pay more for a real 'vintage' job, then so be it...although you still need to watch what your doing.  I really wanted obi more than kimono....and I got some, but they are heavy!! I also got some silk rolled up, - it had come from the Nishijin area as had stickers son it and it said it was kanji, which I had looked up!   I also asked and was told it was silk...and thy opened up the rolls to check!
 I think it is a very good job I don't live nearer as I would never stop buying all this gorgeous fabric...and braids as got some more for my collection.  I did a bit of haggling, and made one chap giggle when I asked him in Japanese if he would do me a special price...I then said I had pretty face(in English) and beamed at worked...I think I gave him entertainment value with my effort at the Japanese!  He called to his pal and said something and pointed at me and laughed...(more than likely spends half his time in London!!).  I don't care, if money is being saved (for another trader!!) then I can become thick skinned!
 I tried another delicacy or two but these were sweet things so should be safe.  One looked like a thick scotch pancake but was more chewy, tasty enough, especially as it had chestnut puree centre ( is used a lot here and I have had it before) I decided to avoid the eggy thing this time as it was quite possibly responsible for my dodgy tum a few days ago.
Eventually I had spent enough and couldn't carry any more anyway, so decided to change tack and start on my list of small museums.  as usual the first one I went to....long walk and much checking of the map, but found it in the end only to find that it was closed!  This is getting to be too much of a habit!  In fairness, the book I had used for reference did say to check opening times for special exhibitions....and the upshot meant that this was if it was going to be open at all!  Luckily there was another museum to go to nearby so that was OK.  Funny thing was I nearly ended up at a Buddhist museum as the tourist info place had circled the wrong dot on the map...I tend to find that if a place is closed there will be something to make up for it and this was true here too as I found a little area where most of the shops etc had some sort of funny character outside ...a bit like we might see scarecrows at harvest time in some rural will see when I get to the photos!

 The next museum was a little weaving museum and it was brilliant. I was welcomed with a cup of tea first and told to relax!  The chap explained where to look and gave me a leaflet in English although he did speak a few words of English.  His name was the country!  Photos were flash, but hardly ever us it anyway, and I was left to wander at will and could look as much as I anted.  When I had done, I went to go downstairs but Canada stopped me with a shout no Winn Sylbia, show more!!  Mmm this could be interesting as I couldn't see anywhere else to go.  before you new it , a door appeared out of nowhere and I was ushered through and along a corridor, round a corner and up some steps into the adjacent weaving 'factory'.  This really was like going back in time. It was quite small but had lots of looms being used and each setup was much longer than I have seen here.  My guide, a weaver himself, had only a handful of English words so I didn't get as much info as I would have liked.  He explained that silk was sticky so they had long looms...5 meters long, with 24 shaft Jacquard bits at the front end. The remainder looked antique!  As the looms are only about 33cms wide, they were very close...a bit like sitting at your desk in an office with another colleague next to you...There were patterns about, copies of original works that were being faithfully reproduced for use in Noh theatre of today...just like in the past.  I tried to ask how long it took to set the loom up and also how long to do the 5 meters but the answers might be incorrect.....4 weeks to set up and 2 weeks to weave.  I don't think this could be true as the patterns are so complicated with different colours being used for little sections as you look across the weft line.

Before long my visit came to a close....I went away with a far better understanding and much greater appreciation for what was in my swag bag!

As I made my way back towards the bus,  spotted Takashimaya and thought I would go and have a look at the haberdashery area......I was so disappointed as in the past I have been to department stores that had a whole floor for craft and textiles...not here!  Later I asked at tourist info and they didn't know of anywhere other than the Nishijin area and that is really weaving and not much else!
 Along the way I had managed to locate the hand made needle place.....but guess what....sign on the door...closed...but only today!  Never mind, will be back on Saturday no worries!!

As I was in the main shopping area, I took the chance for a McD as I couldn't face another soup and sandwich night!  Getting a bit sick of burgers too so opted for a fish thing...won't do that again!  Still the sit down was good!

I am writing this at the airport so don't know if I will get a photos done for you but will try and continue my story when I get home....however am going to be a bit busy as Ruth is moving and has to be out of the flat by midnight Friday, and they are coming to live with us for a few days before moving into London Road, the house that Paul has been working on for months.  They will have no hot water or heating though as National Grid/Hinckley council and a bus company are conspiring against us and have been since July!!

 Don't mean to shout...hit the caps key by mistake, but maybe the folk involved will hear me!!

 Going to post this as it is nearly time for boarding and I need to visit the facilities next update and the final flurry of Saturday and Sunday will follow...eventually.  I still haven't forgotten about the photos from the first few days, so will do those in due course.  Keep reading and following till you see a post that says I am done, as there may be other bits and bobs that I remember and think you might be interested in.  ttfn from Japan.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Kyoto ...coming to the end of my trip now...

That sums it up really! Today the logistics worked and I was able to leave my luggage at
the hotel while I went off to explore...this was in the subway near a Starbucks where I stopped for tea!
 The clock had John Lennon written inside...wonder what that was all about....and they were playing Beatles music!!

 I had a list of things to achieve in Kyoto, and first on the list was gallery Kei, (thanks Lesley!) .....This meant a walk up Teramachi dori..and this was a lovely start to my stay in Kyoto, interesting places to investigate, and little bits of swag to add to the collection.  I went into this specialist paper shop and drooled at the lovely stuff....also had materials for muzihiki, so had to buy a bit to play with....Hope that luggage has elastic sides!!
 Eventually found the gallery but it was too expensive for me but I enjoyed looking at all the fabrics ....wisteria looked interesting...

I found the manhole covers disappointing compared to the rest of Japan....

......and that is all the photos for today as you can't shop and take pictures,,,and most people in the shops/streets are extremely reluctant to allow photos.

I truly had a whale of a time and the purse thought it was it's birthday!! By the time I got back to the hotel I had bamboo tubes, bits of bamboo  to play at ...perhaps a mat or ten.....who knows!! Also bought small bits of washi paper....and some fabric remnants ...and a braid with one of the bits....delightful! Hope the money doesn't run out!!

Returned to the hotel to find my cupboard...sorry room...actually better than the previous tiny one, as at least the case can go on the floor without causing an accident.!  The  check-in was by machine...first time I had come across that!  The staff (scant!) were very helpful and I felt that I would be OK here.  The hotel couldn't have been in a better position as it is in the street immediately behind the station so I only have to cross the road and walk along to the corner and turn left and left again and am almost in bed!! That will be good after a long day sight it is back to the camp out style of cuisine....and no microwave in this hotel...but I do have a kettle and fridge.  At least with the massive station complex so near I can always buy food of one sort or another......and I do still have some soup left!  There is bound to be a Mo burger or McD somewhere near...or a Starbucks, but haven't found any of these as yet.

Looked at all the swag and decided to weigh contents and convince myself all would be well...especially as it is Market day tomorrow...and I have planned this last leg of the trip so I can splurge on fabrics... you all know what I am like...and so do I as I have long ago come to terms with my habit! Only marginally cheaper than heroin or cocaine but much more fun!!

That's all for now! ttfn....don't forget all you's Ashby Magna on Monday and I am planning on calling in for a while since it is the last one before Christmas....

Wednsday was Shikoku Takamatsu...

....And not too successful either!  I had always planned to take the train across the bridges spanning about 8 miles to the island of Shikoku....just to say I had been and to see if it appeared to be any different.  I am glad I didn't have a long list of places to go as like some of the other places I have been to for the day, hours are wasted in the logisitcs leaving hardly enough time to do anything.  This was definitely true of Shikoku, partly, with hindsight, becasuse I suspect somewher along the way I ended up overshooting my planned destination!

I had made the main train trip and disembarked with no issues, but then found I needed to wait about half an hour for a train to go to the folk village I planned to investigate.  After the local train there was a bus trip...again a delay...would I ever get there??  The instructions I had ben given at tourist information were to get a particular bus and alight at the second I did as I was told.  Got off, looked around, seemed a bit bigger than I expected - large car/bus park......oh well, follow the crowd.  I had not wandered far when I started to get a bit suspicious.....anyway there were interesting shops to look in and a sign pointing to a temple. Not wanting to miss anything, I followed my nose and found a lovely, quite big Buddhist temple. Lots of folks about having lunch etc, I realised that this was one of the 88 temples that pilgrims visit.  In fact this was temple 84 on the list.  I enjoyed the peace and watched life - animal and bird as well as human for a while then decided that I must get back on track, or I wouldn't gt to Shikoku Mura.  Now which path takes me there.......well to cut a long story short, I followed several paths but not having a map for this area was proving irritating and I decided to return to the bus stop to ask.  Of course no-one spoke English in the shops....but a very helpful Chinese couple asked if I was OK. I explained what I was looking for and they took me under their wing for a while.  They chatted amongst themselves (in Chinese) and between us we came to the conclusion that I had overshot and come a stop to far!  It was anothr half and hour or so for the bus to come and Mrs Chinese spoke to the driver to establish where I should get off.  He said the bus didn't stop there on the return trip, I needed to see the mountain (!!) and walk down to the village....Grrr!! Mrs Chinese established an alternative route if I got off elsewhere and legged it...(risky!!).

 As we sat on the bus I decided that there was a danger I'd get to the village, but end up missing my train home as this wasn't supposed to be being undertaken at after 2.30!!
 I was disappointed but have already been to 2 such villages, so cut my losses and returned to the main Takamatsu station to decide what or where to go instead.  I asked if there was a museum and how to get there....yes...and by local about 35 minutes....
 Now you can call me a wimp if you like, but it was cold and I was fed up...and the return train to Okayama was on the platform and leaving in 20 I got on it and went home!

 Now although this wasn't one of the better days, I did see some fabulous thread balls with little paper bits inside. They could be mobiles or just have one on a little stand....yes I thought they would be nice, until I saw the price.  I don't doubt that somebody had spent a lot of time making them, but at the end of the day, it was only a small thing and it might get spoiled in transit...and I would be £25 or more worse off!  I wish I could work out how they were made as they were like temari without the stitchin, but with no insides...if you see what I mean.  I regret not having bought one now, but I had also though tI would see more of them elsewhere.... ah well!!

Station artwork...


Here the badger is reveered, so lots about!!

The temple had a pagoda with 5 floors....

Look who popped in for a photo shoot...more than likely blurred as it took me by surprise!

The views from near the top of the mountain...

Along one of the paths that didn't go anywhere I wanted!! Wonder who it was that lived here and what the story was!

I had forgotten I also went into the grounds of the old castle,....surprising what I remember when I see the photos!!

A bridge over the gravel garden...

 Nearer the station... and ok if you appareciate modern architecture, I suppose!