Japan Tour 2018 – Day 2
Starting Our Adventure. This is our first day going out on our own. Here we are at the track in Tokyo Station.
We took a bullet train to Nagaoka, a town in the mountains north of Tokyo. About an hour and a half ride into mountains and ski country. We went through some very long tunnels. The rice paddies/fields were flooded but not planted yet. Far behind the farmers around Tokyo.
We dropped off our Cary-on bags and took a local train to Ojiya. We had two places to look for textiles the town specializes in. We had no appointments or any connections.
We were hoping to find crepe cloth woven in Ojiya that looked like this. The crinkle is what is special. Hemp or silk cloth is woven with weft threads that are highly twisted. After weaving the cloth is put in water and “massaged” The cloth then shrinks and crinkles. Traditionally it is then spread out on the snow for bleaching.
We found one place, a shop, with these crepes which are called chijimi. There were lovely kimono fabrics and lots of small things to buy. The fabric is very light weight which is perfect for their hot summers. When we were finished and ordered a taxi a woman came in and at the sales counter asked in English where we were from. Up until then no English had been spoken so it had been frustrating. Well this woman turned out to be wonderful. She took us to her husband’s studio where this fabulous kimono was on display. He is Takashi Higuchi a famous chijimi crepe artist. This kimono is spectacular because all the color changes are due to the threads being dyed before the cloth was woven. The technique is called ikat. She invited us back tomorrow after taking us to the weaving studio. We will see them working the cloth in the water for the shrinking process. So the day turn out to be a magnificent success!
We took a bus back to Nagaoka and checked into our hotel. I was thrilled to see that our big suitcases had arrived from our hotel in Tokyo.