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 again....you 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 disaster....no...better take camera bag as would be devastated if lost all those images.....no way can I carry suitcase down the stairs to safety....should I grab and obi or two......you 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 lockers....it 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 home...at 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!