Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 19 (final)

Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 19 (final) – This is to snow you how far north we were for the last half of the symposium. We were on the way to Tsuruoka where the stitching exhibit was.

One of the last images of the trip. At a museum was this exhibit of paper threads and cloth woven with paper threads still on the loom. I couldn’t resist including it.

The pond and garden In Tsuruoka. Our last serene moments.

We stayed an extra day in Tokyo and visited a fantastic shop called “Pigment”. This is a photo of this elegant fascinating and unusual architecture shop. All the colors came from pigments. A must see.

Our final dinner. It was sad to think of us all going separate ways. At the dinner there was a demonstration showing how the bow of this obi was tied. The dresser used several large clips to hold things during the 1/2 hour job. So interesting.

At our “last breakfast “ I took pictures of my new friends. The woman on the left is from Ohio near where I grew up ( in Copley) and her friend is from Korea.

The night after almost everyone had left a few of us met at the hotel restaurant for dinner. Here is one woman trying to teach the Japanese waitress how to make her favorite cocktail. It was a riot. After a few unsuccessful tries the bar tender brought over the bottles to be shown how to make the drink. When it still wasn’t right our friend said, “oh, maybe it should have been sweet vermouth !! I think this took about a half an hour of trying to explain “equal parts of …” to the poor flustered waitress only to find out it wasn’t what she’d said it should be. Seemed hilarious at the time but maybe we were wound up before catching our planes in the morning. Here is a sketch of the scene with the correct recipe for a “negroni”.

On the way to Narita airport we passed hundreds of huge and interesting buildings. This is was my last goodbye to Tokyo!

Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 18

Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 18 – We took a 2-hour bus ride in the gorgeous mountains to the town of Tsuruoka to see a extraordinary fine exhibit of Japanese stitching. One type is called shashiko which is running stitching with white thread on indigo blue cloth using a regular pointed needle. The other type is Kogin done with a blunt needle that is worked between the threads. Again white patterns on dark indigo cloth. When the white gets dirty they over dyed the cloth in dark indigo.looks all dark blue but the stitching patterns can be seen. The show was moving to us all with so much “heart” stitched in every piece.

At the stitching exhibit.

More stitching. This is the back side of a sampler. So good that it was shown to show how good both sides look.

A futon cover or bedspread of different stitches.

All stitching.

A bit of humor.

Often done on clothes.

Interesting how she works the needle gathering the cloth ten smoothing it out.

Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 17

Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 17 – This is woven with Linden bark and the cloth is called shinafu. Cathy and I had visited a shop so I knew what I was looking at. It was way too expensive for us to buy any because one had to buy a whole obi length at 5.3 meters at great expense. When my workshop teacher showed us this piece of his work I just had to have it. I told myself I would share it with others. If anyone is interested let me know. 5 centimeters would cost about $30 for a ballpark figure. It is rare cloth made of linden wood bark. A meter would be a nice length to appreciate the sumi ink painting as well as an example of the cloth itself.

If you can believe it, this cloth is woven with the fuzz on the fiddleheads of fiddlehead ferns. Again it was too rare and precious and only available for a whole length of an obi, 5.5 meters. The more I saw it in my workshop teacher studio, the more I just had to have some. So I have shared a bit with other trip people. The cloth looks boring perhaps but it has been very moving for several people besides myself. More information follows. This cloth is slightly less costly than the bark cloth and I do have some left to share.

The fuzz on these fiddleheads is what the cloth is woven with. Zenmai is what the cloth is called.

This is what I wove in the workshop on a small frame loom. The warp is hand spun silk and fiddleheads fuzz. Our teacher started us out weaving “Mt Fuji” at the bottom then we were on our own. He had some examples which gave us ideas for the hour we had to weave. The fuzz is so short it couldn’t be made into a thread so it had to be mixed with silk. We had silk fibers as well as the fuzz to work with and I experimented as I “wove” trying everything. The top is just the fuzz laid into the warp since it was impossible to weave it in. I found it interesting to handle the silk fibers and how hard it was to pull them apart to try to mix in the fuzz.

Here is the silk and fuzz fibers that I tried to mix together. The little brown spots are the fuzz alone. Again the cloth is called zenmai.

This close up of the zenmai cloth doesn’t quite do it justice but is is close. You can see the tiny bits of the fiber mixed with the silk. The warp is plain white thread. Silk?

Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 16

Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 16 – Textile Student exhibition at Tohoku University of Design. The show was terrific. This is Raindrops by Sawai Miyou.

The Galaxy by GO Ryosetsu. A favorite.

 “A Civilization” by Riddhi Jain. Follow her work on Instagram. I met her a few years ago on a trip to India. Her contemporary saris are fantastically gorgeous. She was on the trip and a lovely friend and wore a sari to the ending dinner that was more beautiful than any I have EVER seen. Do follow her. She has a business of designing original saris on commission.

BE SURE TI CHECK OUT THE DETAILS OF THIS LARGE PIECE. At first I thought this was an old Japanese screen when I saw it on the cement wall at the University of Art snd Design. Boy was I surprised when I walked up close.

Detail of big piece.

Another detail.

Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 15

Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 15 – The whole purpose of having the symposium in hot Japan July was that the safflowers would be ready to pick for dyeing. We left the hotel at 5:20 am in the rain. These are pictures of the harvest and our dyeing.

Pounding the flowers after we got back to the campus.

Preparation for safflower dyeing.

More preparation. We are about to make little patties out of the pounded and strained petals.

Little patties to use for dyeing.

Two of the colors.

This is what we were after.

Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 14

Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 14 – Here is my travel vest to date. Usually I don’t have to add any patches until after a trip is over. This time I’ve had two emergency repairs to do.

I worked on a big patch while on the bullet train going to northern Japan from Tokyo. A friend snapped this photo of me working. I’d bought needles in Tokyo. A new friend gave me some fabric she had dyed and thread. Thank goodness I had my scissors that were in My knitting bag. 

We visited a studio where this type of patterns they made by dying the threads before weaving. These patterns are made with many carved boards in a little known form of ikat called itajime. When Cathy and I were in this town of Shirataka we visited another studio using this old technique. The dye was made from logwood. A few years ago the owner got this from South America ( if I remember). The family is still working off that stash of logwood, a natural dye plant.

Our symposium began tonight with registration at Tohoku University of Art and Design In Yamagata. This is our final destination before going back to Tokyo. The university building is really modern.

The front of the main building seems to float on a large expanse of water and is quite beautiful. I imagine it changes often given the weather and time of day. This is an outdoor theater where we saw a Noh play tonight.

We watched the noh play in a light rain for awhile then snuck out and our bus took us to our hotel.

Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 13

Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 13 – I’m spinning paper thread! We learned how to fold paper so we could cut very long strips of paper to spin. Took some practice and concentration but felt so good to be able to do it in a workshop today. [ click on any image to enlarge ]

At the loom weaving with paper thread. It felt good to be weaving again.

These are bobbins wound with paper thread. I choose one that had bits of red.

This is the cloth I wove with paper thread for wefts still on the loom. I love the bumps or slubs. Notice the bits of red. The paper we used was from an old Japanese accounting book. The black spots are where the writing was and the red one where the paper was stamped with the “signature “ stamps.

Spinning paper thread is tricky until you get the hang of it!

Here is the paper cut in preparation for spinning. Actually we are twisting the paper rather than actually spinning it.

The paper needs to be folded and cut properly. So it can be unfolded to get a long length piece to spin.

Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 12

Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 12 – Yonezawa. We are now in the north on the main island of Japan in mountainous countryside. Cathy were here in May and we saw some of the same things today but had more in depth information with dignitaries and Yoshiko Wada telling about things. Our first stop in Yonezawa was at the Sake Brewing Museum Toko no Sakagura. [click any image to enlarge]

This beautiful garden at the Saki Museum had big trees pruned just right. In the winter the snow is deep and comes up to the eves. To protect the precious trees from the weight of the snow structures like T-pees are built around each tree. The framework is covered with smooth wood so the snow would slide off. All this effort shows the value placed on this garden by the people in Yonezawa.

The beams inside the museum had to be reinforced with poles in the winter to keep the roof from caving in. That’s a lot of heavy wet snow! I’ve just now put seeing this area in the wintertime on my bucket list!!

In the old days to time how much how longbto give each process in the saki making the workers sang songs. There were songs especially for each step in the process. This man was retired but came in to show us around. When it was discovered about the songs he sang some for us. What a treat.

Almost at the end of the day we stopped at this shrine. This was our view as we came upon it in a wooded area.

It was gorgeous with a thick thatched roof and lots of wood carving under the eves. So beautiful all by itself with other small shrines on little paths nearby.

Our last stop was to stop at the shop of a wood carver and basket maker. He make beautiful baskets as well.

Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 11

Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 11 – Tokyo Tower reflected in a nearby building near our hotel—Shiba Park Hotel. One day here to do everything there is to do in Tokyo. We all spread out after Yoshiko gave us tips on where we might like to go.

My first stop today was to the Amuse Museum in the Asakusa area that is well known for its exhibitions on “boro “ — old cloths with patches of rags and scraps of cotton. It was done in northern Japan where cotton was precious and warmer than the hemp cloth that they made. The rags were shipped from the southern regions where the climate was warm enough to grow cotton.

In an exhibit case in the Amuse Museum. Something other than boro but made and used by poor farmers. Guess what they are.

 I thought this was very interesting, especially the fins on the bottom.











I’ve been to this museum a few times so I really thought took time this time to read some of the labels. They were touching.

This really moved me. It was at the beginning of the boro section.

Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 10

Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 10 – Mt. Fuji from the bullet train to Tokyo. My best view ever. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it completely and it always seems to sneak up on me. This time I had a window seat and was on the correct side of the train! [click on any image to enlarge]

We went to the International Contemporary Shibori Exhibition at Tama Art University Art Museum. This was my favorite piece in a terrific show. It’s by Lucy Arai who is from the San Francisco Bay Area. She has just become a special friend on the trip.

Lucy Arai beside her piece on the exhibition.

Another favorite at the show. The artist has been on the trip with us and is one of the people I hang with. I was thrilled to see her work in the show. I only know that she is Carolina (Caro-Leena) from Chile.

I really liked this one. I’m not absolutely sure it is a garment.

 I really liked this one a lot.

Of course I related to this one.

I’m proud of this Bay Area artist—Ana Lisa Hedstrom. I adore anything she does and I own a couple of her art to wear clothes. These are paper—something I plan to begin exploring soon.

Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 9

Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 9 – (Facebook + email readers must view the videos on my website – just click the link) This woman was dressed in the stage for us on stage at a reception for our last night in Nagoya. This would be the dress for a very high up person indeed. It was fascinating to see how each layer was added. The model only moved her eyes for the 20or 30 minutes it took for to women to dress her—one on front on her knees and one in back putting on the layers. Both worked together to get everything arranged perfectly.

Here you can see her from the side. Perhaps you can count the kimonos that she has on. Every sleeve had to be tucked as a arch layer was added. I forget how many kilos we were told the outfit weighed but she could walk around on the stage. No on was to see her face; that’s why it’s covered.

Here is a 1 minute video showing the women adding a kimono and how the sleeves are put in place.

This performance was at the reception. Notice the puppet moving and the person manipulating it underneath it.

This big arrangement had a puppet on top and you can barely see its arm is moving. All the action (slow and subtle) was controlled by the group of men below.

Here’s a bride and groom all dressed traditionally along with our previous aristocrat. It was a lovely show. The bride and was the climax after 10 or so lovely women in gorgeous kimono modeled on stage.

Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 8

Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 8 – Here is Shibori. This is what we came to see and learn. Today we took a bus in to Nagoya to 3 museums—all different and very enjoyable. This old kimono was in a shibori exhibition in the Nagoya castle. [click any image to enlarge]

Another magnificent old shibori kimono in the Nagoya castle exhibit. Shibori is many forms of tie dye. Where the cloth is tied it resists the dye. With this one a whole lot of tying was required to cover so much of the cloth to get all the white undyed area. The tied cloth is immersed in the dye so it took a lot to resist being dyed blue in an indigo dye vat.

Here is a large piece of cloth tied before dyeing. It very likely a whole kimono length.

Another shibori dyed kimono. I think this is the scarce purple dye Cathy and I saw. Too tired to think of the name of the dye.

Another fantastic one.

Yet another type. All these have been in exhibitions we’ve seen.

The fine scale here meant finely spaced ties. For this one and the previous one cloths were wrapped on poles and scrunched tightly to resist the dye.

Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 7

Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 7 – The real symposium began with me taking 3 workshops. This was dying with akane which is Japanese madder. Lovely color. I tied a knot in the cloth before dyeing to get the variation in the color this was dyed using alum as a mordant.

More akane. The darkest color used camellia ash for the mordant. The lightest had no mordant. Medium color used alum.

Kakishibu workshop. That means dyeing with green persimmons. I learned some more but it was a basic workshop.

Here is paper we tie dyed and dyed with the persimmon dye.

Workshop to dye with bengara a pigment that is red ocher in color usually. Our artist figured out how to get many colors. We folded the cloth like a flag is done and clamped wood shapes to make the patterns when dyeing. This was my second piece which I was happy with.

My first bengara pigment piece. Came out better than I expected. We were in a hurry to get something in the dye. I had no idea what I would get. I manipulated the small triangles which makes them fuzzy rather than crisp.

Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 6

Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 6 – The famous rock garden at Ryoanji Temple in Kyoto. I’ve been here 3 times and this small garden is as beautiful as the first time. The mud walls are especially gorgeous. Yoshiko got us going at 7:30 that morning so we could be the first group to visit. We had the whole place to ourselves. As we left boards of students came in. The next photo a friend took of me sitting there. It was a very hot day and I wore a hemp short kimono that I’d gotten at the flea market the day before. Thankfully I had 2 clothespins to hold it closed. It was completely open under the arms and Boy did I love the air circulating.

I spent a half hour just sitting peacefully.

The Silver Pavilion in Kyoto. I love this little jewel. There is a gold pavilion too and is covered in gold. This one never got its silver coating but is lovely and the garden is too.

Here you get a view of the Silver Pavilion with the cone shaped mound of sand in the garden. I was told long ago that was to look like you were viewing the moon from inside the Pavilion. I’ve always loved that cone of sand.

After the morning of the most special temples we went shopping. Here is the dye supply shop I love. Did a lot of “damage” here again by buying small pieces of many different fabrics to dye. Here you can see rolls of white fabrics for dyeing. The name of the shop is Tanakanao. All kinds of dye supplies are there. I got a package of soot for dyeing.

More at the dye shop. There were piles of different fabrics you could buy. Each type had a sample to show what it would look like after dyeing. There were shelves and shelves of things.

Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 5

Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 5 – Last night at Benese Park Hotel. Much art around inside. Here I am with Yoshiko Wada our fabulous leader. I can’t think of the famous artist behind us.

Lunch at the hotel’s museum was squid ink soup. Delicious but too thick to dye a napkin.

One of the courses in our Japanese dinner had a tidbit on pine needles.

This is inside the Kyoto train station. Gorgeous we were careful not to get lost in it.

An interesting way to use a square furoshiki.

Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 4

Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 4 – An art site on Teshima Island. We took our little boat to this island in the rain but it cleared when we got to this island to see more art installations. We weren’t allowed to take photos inside any of the sites so these were post cards I got. Sort of innocent looking but WOW inside. It is about the size of half a football field. A lot of people could fit inside but only a few when I went in.

Here’s the inside. We were instructed to be quiet and listen for any sounds of water and not to touch any wet places on the floor. We took off our shoes and went inside.

Here’s a peek inside the entrance where it was allowed to take photos. All was silent inside and we slowly walked around and noticed very subtle things.

On the floor I soon found drops of water and small puddles here and there. I really had to watch were I stepped. Then I noticed some of the drops were very slowly growing bigger. Then some drops overflowed and started making rivlets and some of them ran into other drops and they joined to make little rivlets and I watched with fascination as the drops ran into others and ended up in a puddle. This is hard to explain. Looking closely I could see a tiny ball with water dripping out of it which made the drops enlarge. There were some teeny tiny black dots that fed tiny drops. And some of the tiny black dots were actually holes so the water drained out and the puddle disappeared. This photo from a post card was out of focus but you can see some drops. We didn’t see anything that looked like the metal rings in the photo. All so subtle and completely absorbing and wonderfully inventive. The guide outside said it was a secret how everything was controlled. Obviously the floor and the water droplets acted like oil and water not mixing. I loved it!

My photo outside.

Another installation on Teshima Island. This is called Yokoo House and I liked the red areas. There were other paintings on the mysterious walls too. This is the entrance.

An enclosed garden inside.

Looking at the garden through a red window!! It was fascinating to see how the colors changed.

A look inside the women’s restroom!

This “ room” was Waterfall. It was a very tall cylindrical room with a mirror at the top. Maybe the mirror on top made it look taller. The walls were covered with photos of waterfalls. All of the installations we saw yesterday. It took much of today to absorb all of it. It was glorious to take the day off.

Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Day 3

Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Day 3 – On day 3 we took a small boat to visit islands with art installations. This was the view as we approached the island called Inujima which was named Dog Island after a large rock that resembled a dog. This is an architectural art work that was made out of the ruins of a copper refinery. It was more creative than one could ever ever imagine. Our first art experience on our first island. It now is the Inujima Seirensho Art Museum—a very large installation.

This is what the copper refinery was like in the early 20th century. These photos are from a booklet I bought at the museum.

There were many walls made of brick made of waste that I think is called slag. Many walls were made on the site made of this black material.

This was the entry into the inside of the museum. There were mirrors that were disorienting at the many corners. When I thought to go straight I would be banging into a mirror forcing me to turn the corner. It was pretty dark inside with bits of light coming from the outside somehow.

This room is what we entered at the end of the hall of corner mirrors. Unbelievably odd and unusual.

A few of us were ushered into a small square room. With the doors closed we saw this video which was mirrored so we were surrounded. You know how mirrors can work to see to infinity. That’s what it was like.

This is what you saw when you went into a stall in the women’s restroom.

One of the ruined buildings being over run gradually with vegetation. Everything was visually stunning.

More of the ruins that made up the museum.

Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Day 2

Shibori Symposium – Day 2 of Inland Sea & Kyoto Pre-Symposium Tour. I’m at the place that is supposed to be the highlight of the Inland Sea part of the tour but I am so full of what we’ve seen already that I’m taking the morning to absorb the art seen and enjoy the patio on our room. I hear surf, feel a delicious soft breeze and taking a breath before the busy Kyoto days and then the symposium begins. There are 33 on this tour from all over and all doing interesting art work.

This is the Benesse House Park Hotel on the island of Naoshima which is surrounded by art outdoors as well as inside. Nothing is usual about this architecture and art. My roommate says it’s called “ brutal architecture “. It’s modern elegant simple comfortable with wood glass and lots of concrete. It’s so peaceful sitting and enjoying relaxing listening to the surf.

Example number one of the art I see from my private patio.

Example two. The large lawn is interspersed with concrete walls and spaces. I see the tops of the walls which are level with the ground. This space is below ground level. It’s another artwork seen from my patio. There are works of art to be visited around the island via a shuttle bus. Everyone else is exploring it at their own space. I’m enjoying being alone. There are art installations on other islands that we have seen. And that is what I was ant to absorb today. I’ll show them in another post.

These “sticks” move from side to side. On the way to dinner last night I saw the rest of the moving sculpture from ground level! The art projects on these islands are unbelievably creative interesting and inspiring.

The Inland Sea from my patio. Just now I see a big tanker ship going by!

This is how my saki was served at last nights elegant dinner. Breakfast was a buffet that was as large as I’ve ever seen. Cappuccinos were available of course and last night I had a decaf espresso. This is a fine place. Tonight will be a special Japanese dinner. We had a choice. That or French dinner. I chose Japanese. The setting is supposed to be wonderful.

Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Day 1

Shibori Symposium – Day 1 (Facebook Viewers – Go to my blog to see the videos) – I led a group of us on the train to Nagoya to see an utterly fantastic museum. Toyota originally was a loom making company. Old looms complete with guides/weavers to work them are there and it’s totally wonderful.

This old loom was run by peddling. It was great to have guides hanging around to run the various looms and explain how they work.

Mr Toyoda got the idea uto motorize a bicycle in 1930 which led him to make his first car in 1933. 1936 was when he made his first passenger car.

Here robots are seen at work. This was so fascinating.

Getting an old power loom going. Wait until it gets started and notice all the pulleys in the museum. Each one ran a loom. Notice too the metal things going up and down slightly behind the shafts. If a thread breaks it’s metal piece will fall down and break the connection and stop the loom. Now I understand why videos need editing! The stuff is truly interesting but making a video of it is hard to keep in mind where the camera is. Or to remember to stop the video.

Be patient a little then you will see how a modern power loom used forced air to move the weft across. The weft thread is red in the video. There are several air jets across the loom that continuously force the weft along. Again at lightening speed. Air is used for cotton weft threads and water for weaving with polyester. Interesting isn’t it?

This close up shows how a power loom today moves the weft between the warp threads by force of water. The display was set up so you could push a button to start the action. The water forces the thread through and the it is cut and the next thread is shot across the warlords. All st lightening speed.

Jacket to be shared!

Here’s the jacket–Cathy Cerny and I are sharing it. I have the summer when I go to Japan and Cathy has the fall when her exhibition opens in the fall. After that we’ll dicide how the sharing will go. Neither one of us could bear to part with it.

Here’s a map of where I’ll be for the 11th International Shibori Symposium. I’ll begin around June 23rd or so. Bye for now! 

Japan Tour 2018 – Day 23

Japan Tour 2018 – Day 23 – Parting sights Friday from Tokyo. Old and new side be side.

Clouds and skyline.

After the fantastic textile reception on our night.

The reception was in a gallery on the Ginza. The show was of furniture by G Nagashima and textiles. One room was an International show of cutting edge textiles. It included large and small work—very exciting. The other room was of wonderful innovative Japanese kimono lengths. One woman we met wove her fabric in a gauze weave out of shinafu—fibers from linden wood bark. She gave us business card folders out of that fabric. When we went to visit where it was made we couldn’t afford a thing. It was very special. Her obi was woven with shifu—weft was made of threads made out of paper. Another length was woven with zenmai threads— fibers made of ferns. We had searched for it but it was too rare to find some.

Our last visit to our favorite tea house inside a flower shop.

Tea was delicious but the ice cream dish with rose buds and rose jelly nuts other things I couldn’t identify was sublime. They were still featuring peonies.

A video of the flower shop at the tea place.

Japan Tour 2018 – Day 22

Japan Tour 2018 – Day 22 – We went by subways and trains (I think we did) to get to the big monthly flea market in the town of Kawagoe. By now I’ve been there 3 times so it didn’t seem daunting at all. I got 3 old cotton kimonos to use for fabric to dye and finally some skeins of sashiko threads. I just couldn’t accept that it was only available in small packages. Tonight I spent doing preliminary packing. I bought a big carton from the front desk at our hotel and will take it to them to send home tomorrow. It will cost an arm and a leg. Next trip I’ve got to leave more room in my suitcases when I leave home. I will take a good look when I unpack and take note of what I didn’t use.

This is the map of the subways and trains in Tokyo. Cathy’s copy is almost worn out. I always had mine at the ready in case she asked for it. Then I just tag along. We transfer all over the place and walk miles and miles underground from one train line to another. You can see from the map that the lines are color coded. Cathy tells me which line to look for in the maze underground. There are thousands of steps up and down to make connections as well as enter and exit from ground level. We are thankful when there is an escalator going our direction or better yet an elevator.

There are signs all over the place to guide you in the subways. We have cards and put $100 on it when we arrived. Then you just tap your card when going through the gates. You need that card at the ready because you may exit and enter several times when executing a transfer. I think we may have around $60 left on our cards—in preparation for another trip hopefully. I’ll be using mine when I come back mid June for the International Shibori Symposium.

This is one of many maps in a subway station. It’s important to get out at the right gate or you’ll have a huge walk when you get above to ground level. Cathy is amazing at this.

This was a sign on a track at a train station where we transferred today getting back from the flea market. They are close and on time. You could easily walk on the wrong train if not careful. Our train was for 13:50 if I remember.

One of many posters and signs telling you what to do and not to do in the subways. One sign on the escalator at a department store had a graphic sign saying not to use your iPhone while on the escalator. Tomorrow is our last day and we plan to hit our favorite places again. There is an art exhibition relating to textiles I assume opening tomorrow night which should be interesting.

Japan Tour 2018 – Day 21

Japan Tour 2018 – Day 21 – A nice ball of fiber made from the bark of linden wood trees. The thread and cloth made from it is called shinafu. I loved the shape of the ball which is wound around the thumb. This one is about the size of a croquet ball. It’s the biggest one I’ve seen. They weighed it to determine the price It was unaffordable. I’d like to make them as sculptures. The thread pulls out from the hole in the center. That will be my post for today. We have to get up early to get to a big flea market in the morning. We went to a small one today. Unfortunately I am still buying stuff that can’t be resisted.

Japan Tour 2018 – Day 20

Japan Tour 2018 – Day 20 – Tokyo Tower. A welcome sight the tower was as we neared our Shiba Park Hotel after another full day.

After lunch and two folk art exhibits with two Tokyo friends Cathy and I returned to the fabric store in the Shinjuku area. I wanted more wool because when I washed a little piece in the bathroom sink last night it fulled (shrank nicely) easily. I also wanted the special thread for sashiko stitching. Cathy wanted some of the wool, too.

Shinjuku was really crowded today, Saturday. Yesterday it was so bad we stopped for dinner to avoid the rush hour going home on the subway. This is a photo of people waiting for the light to change.

This is a Starbucks on the third floor of a big building in Shinjuku. This is the line waiting to order—there were 18 people in that line. There were about 20 in the line waiting for their drinks. It was the third or fourth place we tried to get a coffee—all too crowded. We thought no one would know about this place on the third floor. Boy were we wrong. Cathy lined up to get a table while I went for the drinks. A mad house it was.

We stopped to get food to take back to the hotel for dinner. Another mad house. There are food courts in the basements of the many department stores. We’ve made many meals this way and found bakeries too.

This octopus salad was my main course. I also had a tomato salad and a salad with avocado and fresh vegetables. All delicious to eat wearing my pajamas and the hotel’s free slippers.

Japan Tour 2018 – Day 19

Japan Tour 2018 – Day 19 – Finally arrived at Mrs Sooma’s to shop. We got some nice things.

We took the train to Tokyo today. Left at 7:38 and arrived at 1:24 to hot and humid weather and crowds of people. We met a friend who took us to a fabric shop where fashion students go. I bought these linens and silks and one lovely wool for dyeing.

Okadaya fabric store was 5 floors chock full of fabrics. Thank goodness I had in mind what to look for.

Another shot in the fabric store, Okadaya. Originally I wanted light weight wool that was loosely woven and see through. I got one piece then moved on to linens and then quickly to silk organza which dyes fantastically well. Then we got out of there before getting overwhelmed. I am excited about dyeing them with the natural dyes that are new to me.

Our last views of rice fields from the bullet train.

It always surprises me to see the houses so crowded together.