Japan Tour 2018 – Day 12 – Today was our first day in Morioka. Friends from Tokyo joined us and made appointments for us and did translating as well as help to get us around town on a very rainy day. Our first visit was to a lovely shop featuring purple dyed shibori silk kimonos and smaller pieces. Mr. Fujita is the president of Soshido Ltd. and he answered questions after we saw a video about this interesting purple dye and the shibori (tie dye) process. I had never heard of this natural dye which is from Shikon (Lithospermnm erthrorhizone) root. The color is called murasaki. These words were bantered around and I think I have it right. Anyway this dyeing with them root to make purple goes back to “early times”. I bought this lovely silk piece which is about 14” x 9”. It is nicely finished with a grey silk lining.
Soshido Ltd also does dyeing with what we call madder root and is called Akane by the Japanese. The red is gorgeous. This piece I bought is about 14” x 22” and is finished the same as the purple piece to be used as a table runner or mat. I love the shibori design. I hope my tech guy can make the red as lovely as it is in real life. We were told they have 800 shibori patterns and about 10-15 older women who do the shibori tying. They also do contemporary design some but want to keep alive the traditional ones. A stencil is used to mark the fabric for the pattern then all the stitching for the shibori is done and then the threads drawn up tightly and knotted. He said untying after dyeing can take longer than tying.
After sandwiches and lattes at Tulley’s Coffee shop we visited a homespun business called Oriza. It was begun after the war by and for women and today is still completely a women’s business. Sheep were raised for home use in the area after World War I. Today they get wool fleece from New Zealand and Australia. They have two huge carding machines and 3 people who are spinning with motorized spinners. There’s a huge warping reel a chemical dye area and a weaving room with about 10 looms— I forgot to count. I bought this gorgeous scarf with a lovely soft hand and subtle colors in a 3/1 twill made by the woman who showed us around. I don’t need a wool scarf in San Francisco very often but I loved it and couldn’t resist.
I bought this very large beautiful shawl at a large shop featuring crafts made in Morioka. It is made of bamboo and feels good of course. I loved the grey which is dyed with coal. The white areas stuck me and the two colors make it really attractive.
This is a very very large shawl made of cotton mosquito netting. I bought it with the idea of cutting it up and dyeing it when I get home. However it might be a perfect fabric for the hot Japanese summer we’ll have when I come back for the symposium in Yamagata in July. The other day I got a nice top made with the same cloth in a light blue.
We went to a unique to Morioka soba place for dinner. All you can eat and they encourage everyone to eat a lot. Here are the 20 empty bowls of soba noodles that I had. Cathy had 41 bowls! The place is called Wanko Soba. Each table has its own waitress who keeps filling your soup bowl with more and more bowls of soba.
Here I am slurping soba noodles. The waitress kept piling up my empty bowls until the stack was 15 high. Then a new stack was started. In the video you can hear the waitress throwing the bowl onto each person’s stack. We each got certificates for eating the number we had. Notice the bib. The noodles were warm and I think they tasted good.