2024 Japan Trip, Day C – A Day on My Own: in two department stores

Japanese department stores are full of wonders. I wallowed in two near the Osaka train station all day. It was glorious to do whatever I wanted. Here’s what I bought. You’ll be surprised.
Here are what women wearing a fancy kimono would wear on their feet.

In the fine kimono department you ordered your “shoes” custom to go with your kimono.

Department stores have one or two floors with food courts. They have been crowded every time I’ve been in one. If fact on a trip years ago I was bumped into and fell flat. (Ambulance, hospital , stitches). Ever since I am very careful to watch where I’m going so that doesn’t ever happen again. In this case one of the floors was devoted to sweets and the other to a grocery store and many foods to take home.

Lots of individual designers have areas of interesting clothes. I bought this nice shirt. I liked the seam that was off center.

Went looking for an interesting apron and found this right away. In both stores there were lots of apron racks. This one has a little loop to hang a towel. What I really wanted was something way out with lots of pockets that I saw behind the counters where we ate. Most of what I saw were boring prints.

Then I found what I’d given up to find. An old fashioned mamma one. Look closely and see some lacey front. It has sleeves big enough to protect everyday kimono sleeves. It was in one of the kimono departments.

Here is the underware layer for a kimono. Had a fun experience finding them and then trying on one for size. Not sure what I’ll do with it but I think people will be interested.

Had lots of fun looking at the gadgets in the kitchen departments. It was a fun day searching out the odd things I wanted. I have a kitchen brush I got before Covid that needs to be thrown away. But it’s so handy because it hooks on my dish rack. So I finally got to the right gadget department and found one that I think will work. Found a mirror that I think will be good for checking for clear sheds in double weave.

After a delicious long soak in the deep bathtub, I treated myself to Room Service.

I bought sake in this jam jar a week ago and carried it with me in my suitcase. Tonight was the perfect time for it.

2024 Japan Trip, Day 13 – On Our Last Day a Demonstration by a Kimono Dresser

It starts with an under garment made of cotton and tied in place with elastic bands. The desired shape is for the body in a kimono to be a rectangle. (A woman with large bust line would wrap towels under her breasts to create the required shape )!! I went shopping for one for an adventure the next day angot one.

The kimono is put one. Note the green piece which will be part of the neckline.

A tape is put around so can hike up the length in a big tuck.

This cord secures the tuck that shortens the length.

A stiff band holds the obi flat.

Starting the bow of the obi. This took a good bit after manipulating.

The first knot in the obi.

A pad is placed inside to give the bow depth as the bow is getting started.

The completed bow.

The final view a few steps later.

We all were interested in this under garment.

We had a wonderful farewell dinner.

2024 Japan Trip, Day 12 – From a Crowded Resort Hotel to an Indigo Workshop in the Mountains

This was the crowd in the huge dining room in an enormous resort hotel on the Japan Sea. Last night I thought we were having a private room and this crowd was a shock. A buffet with lots of good things. This is actually the breakfast crowd.

Not a good photo but I wanted to catch a view of the Japan Sea where the resort hotel was as we drove away.

We drove 31/2 hours today passing many villages large and small nestled in valleys between the mountains. All had rice paddies.

Newly planted rice field. Another village.

More from our bus. A village and rice fields.

I couldn’t get enough of the villages and the progress of the rice growing.

Rice seedlings are planted with a tractor. I remember seeing people stooped over planting by hand on my first trips.

There were some fields of wheat in amongst the rice fields.

A scene in the country.

We had an indigo workshop in an old school building at the end of that lovely ride on the bus.

Of course the cloth comes out green right after it comes out of the indigo vat as usual. Then it turns blue as the oxygen gets to it.

2024 Japan Trip, Day 11 – Two Artists on Our Way Out of Kyoto

We visited the studio of Mr. Shinto, a very famous artist and indigo dyer. His technique we call pole wrapping or Arashi Shibori. Cloth is tightly pleated on a pole then put into the dye. The dye doesn’t get to the inner part of the pleats so the dye gets only to the edges of the pleats. I was very surprised to see the openness of the weave and thinness of the cotton fabric.

His set up for wrapping: cloth is bunched together one a beam and wound on to another beam where the cloth is tightly pleated. The second beam is actually a drum.

He uses these tools to push the cloth into tight pleats. Someone asked if he would sell the tools. They are from Amazon!!

Here is one of his poles filled with the tightly pleated cloth ready to be dipped into a deep dye vat. The vats are under ground to keep the perfect temperature.

We drove onward to the studio of Tamiya Roden where they have developed a way of putting mother of pearl onto paper, then cut it into strips to weave as wefts in high end textiles. In the photos see the shell and the gold strips.

These weft strips have the image of petals in the mother of pearl applied. The gold is gold leaf put onto Japanese paper—a traditional technique in Japan. I saw gold on paper wefts being woven the first time I came to Japan 50 years ago.

Here you can see that each paper weft only goes across the cloth just once. In other words a new strip is used for each weft. Fine regular wefts separate the strip wefts.

Again, one weft per strip. However on many cloths it looks like they figured out how to make a single weft go back and forth continuously.

2024 Japan Trip, Day 9 – Two Wonderful Visits Today Around Kyoto

First we went to the Kawashima factory where they wove gigantic theatre curtains.

Many curtains are made with tapestry techniques with multiple threads to make thick and heavy curtains.

They are woven on huge tapestry looms— the looms are as wide as a full curtain. We were not able to photograph them. They also make machine woven curtains today on jacquard looms.

We drove way out into the country to visit a famous artist Jun Tomita. Here he is with a painted warp. It is ready to wind onto the loom.

Here’s the long warp he has painted and he showed how he wound it onto the loom.

The warp was tensioned while painting and them less tension so the warp would have good tension while winding. People will recognize this tension device on AVL and Ahrens looms and looms around the world.

An interesting area he was weaving on another loom made with merino wool yarn. He then felts the cloth and these areas pop out.

Jun then invited us to have tea in his home. A fabulous day!!

2024 Japan Trip, Day 8 – A Pongee Silk Making Factory

Silk reeling. Wonderful to see this special silk being made (reeled) from larger silk cocoons that had two silkworms inside and both making silk with the two strands inside. One skein shows the silk just after the cocoons have been unwound (called reeling the silk). The fluffier one after the gum (serisin) has been removed. The smooth strands are what raw silk is. The other in this case is pongee silk.

A close look at the skein of the silk from the two-worm cocoons. I’m calling cloth woven with this as the weft as pongee. The warp threads on the looms were smooth only the wefts were of this irregular silk. I’ve never seen this before so am excited to learn about the reeling of these special cocoons.

Here is one of the women at reeling the silk. The cocoons are in a bowl of hot water.

Several cocoons are unwound and comprise one thread.

The first strands to come off are discarded. Then I’ve seen these made into very lumpy thread called kinds.

2024 Japan Trip, Day 4 – A Mixture of Scenes from Today

This morning a walk through a local market similar to our farmers markets in Takayama. Here the garage turned into half shop and half garage.

The car parking situations interested me along our walk.

I was happy to see the traditional way a shop keeper would wrap a purchase. I learned to allow several minutes for wrapping a purchase. Now they put in a plastic bag and use 3-4 pieces of scotch tape. Takes just as long. The old method was to use the smallest piece of paper possible. Surely only one piece of tape.

A common shape of small buildings. Apparently taxes were charged by the width of a lot. Here a shop is on ground floor. Often the garage would be there.

I liked the 4 stones to this shop entry.

Everyone seems to be planting their flowers in their tiny spots. Here grandpa is planting while the family watches. Grandma was in the doorway minding the pet dog. All on a Sunday morning.

The rice plants have been planted and the paddies flooded all over our part of Japan. I liked the reflection of the landscape in this rice paddy.

We spent the night with home stay people in the town of Shirakawago which is known for steep thatched roof houses gorgeous countryside.

Shirakawago village. Lovely rice paddies and thatched roof houses. We awoke in the morning to an earthquake warning on our phones. It was 100 miles north and 5.9. Only a few of us felt it.

2024 Japan Trip, Day 3 – A Shibori Festival in Arimatsu

We went to Arimatsu near Nagoya and lucked out that it was Saturday and a big festival honoring Shibori patterning was happening. A technique the town is famous for. Going there for the traditional architecture is special enough but the festival was a fantastic addition.

People dressed up in Shibori patterns.

Two ladies strolling in a break from the crowd.

It was packed. Cops had to direct the people traffic.

Men dressed up too.

These dogs in a prank got attention.

Stalls had Shibori items. Lots of T Shirts.

Demonstrating tying Shibori patterns before dyeing. Very involved tie dye it can be.

There were several demonstrators.

Lots of families were there.

The waitress came to serve me sake.

The only way to attack the glass of sake she poured me!

A Day of Saori  Weaving

We went to a Saori official business (school). Everyone had a loom for themselves. Sa means all have own dignity. And Ori means weaving. Read more: https://www.saoriglobal.com/

The looms were specially made for this process. Easy for anyone who hasn’t woven before. two shafts. A bobbin winder attached. A narrow shelf for the special shuttle scissors etc.

The shuttles were nice and had 2special things. Read on.

Easy opening the bobbin holder rod.

Two sizes holes. For finer yarn and bulkier textures.

To cut off the woven part instead of the 2-stick heading or trying on: the assistant laid this stick on top of the unwoven warp. See more.

The stick was pressed into the slot of a special stick and the warp wound round a few times.

The warp was cut in the previous photo and here wound round and round the stick.  Then to be attached to the loom front beam.

The stick with the warp wound on it was attached then to the front beam. Very fast and also secure with tension perfectly retained.

2024 Japan Trip Day 1 – A Day at the National Museum of Ethnology in Osaka

This is a fantastic museum complex. So modern and interesting is the museum itself. We saw a full size outrigger boat, huge collection of drums and music instruments from around the world, costumes, tools household and hunting devices. That’s just to name a few things. It is so, so interesting.

There was a special exhibition of masks. It made me understand how important they are in some cultures. In Japan especially. There were ancient simple ones made of wood and many for so many purposes. The ones kids made in art classes of simple cardboard to huge ones for ceremonies were fascinating.

This was the only photo allowed in the giant mask exhibition. I don’t know what it is about but fascinating.

The rose garden was to die for.

I thought this very interesting. A portable fan that also sprays a mist. It was by an outside eating area.

A large lake is on the grounds walled in by stone walls that look like they came from a castle grounds. This was a quiet waterfall.

I do love stone walls. The stones are huge. The grounds have a lot to offer.

Then back to our hotel in busy Osaka. Our hotel has the red stripe on the roof line. It’s right in the middle of things.

A Day in Kobe

We took a day trip to Kobe. Of course we got some Kobe beef.

There is soft ice cream every place there are tourists. I’ve had it 2 times already.

One stop was at a Japanese bath. A great soak after being in a van a long time.

This is the typical towel you get at a Japanese bath. Thin and a little over a yard long. You put it on your head while soaking. I never thought I would get dry but dried off by getting dressed.

Entry way to a place to eat. Now I know for sure in Japan.

Also seen a lot women with umbrellas to keep off the sun.

Paths and steps can be beautiful and thoughtfully made.

Two of my Creations at the O’Hanlon and I’m Off on Another trip to Japan

I’m pleased that my newest art weaving got into the O’Hanlon Art Gallery textile exhibit. I worked hard to make this art piece out of an experiment. It’s mainly a double weave tube that is split into two layers at the top. I wove it when I was weaving with fine silk threads at about 100 ends per inch.

Here’s a side view. The piece is attached to the background with a button holding. The  monofilament loop. It took a lot of planning to figure out how to present it. I covered plexiglass tubes with white felt then sewed the cloth to the felt. The background is a handwoven scarf from the Philippines. All the work was so it could be hung against a wall. My original idea was for it to hang in space.

I’m on my way to Japan. It’s a textile tour with a group from Australia with Valerie Kirk. What a relief to be on the way to the airport now!!