My private sightseeing director (Tetsu) announced at 10:00 yesterday morning (after reading the "Interests" page in the newspaper) that we were going to head south for the day. We've determined that having a GPS in the car is sort of like going on a treasure hunt. "Can we really find the place we are looking for?"
First stop was at a very out of the way, traditional house that has been turned into a restaurant and gallery.
Inside were two or three somewhat dark but beautifully renovated rooms. One room had a traditional Irori (hibachi) in the floor.
We didn't stop for tea however, and instead started oohing and ahhing over the pretty little craft show that was being held that day. Three ladies with different talents had combined to show and sell their Japanese crafts. And they were all at the gallery and all very happy to have their artwork photographed.
One lady's passion is using old kimono and obi to make small decorations and accessories and interior goods. It made me think that if I had just been a little more ingenious with all the old obi that fell into my hands last year I could have started a business! (I don't think so... I'll never give up my love for patchwork.)
Tetsu, who feels that we should support the craftspeople (especially when they are so nice to let us take pictures) bought a little bobble for Leiya. I must remember to send it to her before I lose it...
Maneki Neko (Welcoming cats) pins...
This is actually an often seen decoration in Japan. These are made of dried lotus pods with bits of Japanese fabric stuffed and glued into the pod holes. I've always wanted to make one but my cats turned the pods I bought into cat toys before I ever got one stuffed.
Another lady had made many, many different types of New Year's decorations using preserved flowers and pods and Japanese knotting.
In recent years, Japanese housewives are being a bit more elaborate with New Year's decorations. It used to be that one could buy a simple rope and paper decoration from an outdoor booth at the supermarket but certainly nothing like these lovely creations.
The third lady expressed her talents in paper making Japanese paper figures.
The emperor and empress?
The ladies were quite tickled that I would be showing my overseas friends there "simple" works.
A very enjoyable hour at the gallery....
Punch a few buttons in the GPS and Tetsu and I were on our way to the next point of interest...