RSS

Category Archives: Japan

Travel Japan – One Person In Matsue

Leaving the Matsue Castle grounds, I passed lots of taxis and decided to walk back to my hotel.

Soon into my walk, it began to rain, darkness fell and a cold chill wind whipped up. I like to walk in the rain but this was pushing it.

Besides that I wasn’t finding the way. When I saw an older teen boy, I asked him to direct me to my hotel. He either hadn’t heard of it or he didn’t understand my pronunciation.

Since the hotel was across the street from the JR train station, I asked him how to get to the train station. This he knew and on my map he seemed to saying that I was heading for a different train station on the opposite side of town.

He walked along with me showing me the way and speaking English to me. At one point when the cold and wind and rain were particularly fierce, I said,

It could be worse!

He repeated that phrase a few times. He seemed surprised that I was out alone and that I traveled alone. That is an unusual concept to many Japanese, I think.

The way he studied my face caused me to think, he was wondering if I were a senile person who wandered away.

He walked with me the entire distance. It was over a half an hour. I felt very touched by this. I am a miser with my time and this person was so generous with his. I hear others tell of rudeness and price gouging on trips they take in other countries. One of the things I love in Japan, is their nobility of character and how well they treat others, even strangers.

When we arrived at JR station, he asked me what time my train left. I said tomorrow and crossed the street and pointed out my hotel. Now he really seemed to be wondering if I were senile. I didn’t know how to explain to him that getting to the train station was my way to get to the hotel.

I looked in my purse, wishing I had something I could gift him with. I thought that money might be offensive. When you travel to Japan, bring lots of gifts.

He accepted my thanks and left. He has someone praying for him.

© 2011 Jeanne Litt, All rights reserved.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on July 5, 2011 in Abundance, Japan

 

Tags: , , , ,

Travel Japan – Matsue Castle

It was a short train ride from Yasugi to Matsue where there is a castle that has stood since 1611. It is one of the few remaining original castles in Japan. It is built in watchtower style. From the outside it looks to be 5 stories tall, but has 6 floors inside.

Entering it is humbling and freeing at the same time. I felt transported to a different age. It made me feel very protected with the solidness of its large square floors. There was an art exhibit going on. It is an excellent place for that.

Yatsumo and Setsu

View from near the top with roof detail

Each side of the castle faces one of the cardinal directions.

There was a shrine on the grounds.

And a regional museum, Matsue Kyodo Kan–

What impressed me most was seeing wooden and metal boots!

© 2011 Jeanne Litt, All rights reserved.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on June 28, 2011 in Abundance, Japan

 

Tags: , , , ,

Travel Japan – Train to Adachi Museum

I left Kyoto on the bullet train for the Adachi Museum and Garden. By now I felt more at home on the trains. I doubled checked, while I waited on the platform and discovered in time, that I was waiting at the wrong platform.

The trains are beautiful and on time, clean and exciting. Look how pretty my rail pass is.

At Yasugi, I took a museum bus. The Adachi Museum is noted for it’s ceramics collection and it’s gardens are considered among the most beautiful in Japan. I can see why. When I arrived I stowed my backpack and camera in a locker. Surprise – they encourage you to take photos. Ah well, I bought a coffee table book instead.

It is so lovely; there is a blog post about the secret of it’s success at http://www.japanlivingarts.com/?p=4224.

I marvel at how humans and nature combine to demonstrate their best.

The museum has a restaurant. I wasn’t hungry after eating a bento box on the train. They also have a tea house looking out on a garden. I had matcha there and lingered in bliss. The presentation was peaceful, simple and very moving. My tea sweet was served with a small twig. It seemed to be pine and was carved to a point. The handle still had bark on it. It put me in one of those moments of ecstasy. The Japanese aesthetic does that to me regularly.

Being an American, I wondered if this terribly tasteful toothpick was disposable. I could not bear it, if it was to be thrown away. I brought it with me as I left, and asked the hostess, IF they were going to throw it away, could I have it?

She didn’t speak English. Her eyes widened as she understood my request and a tiny gasp escaped her lips. Flooded with embarrassment, I placed the treasure down and escaped to the Museum area where no one knew my barbaric assumptions.

© 2011 Jeanne Litt, All rights reserved.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on June 20, 2011 in Abundance, Japan

 

Tags: , , , ,

Travel Japan – Kyoto Shopping

My last day in Kyoto was for shopping. I went to Teramachi-Dori St. where it intersects Marutamachi.

I walked south along Teramachi-Dori and saw wondrous places. I stopped at a tea shop for Matcha. I remember the owner from a previous trip. He has a gentleness of spirit.

I stopped at a Japanese Washi paper store. People were inside at a u shaped table,making collages out of saturated color papers. I bought a pad of them.

At a used kimono shop were these socks for children celebrating the year of the rabbit.

I went to Somushi’s, my favorite tea house, for my last time.

There was a yarn shop to tempt me. And Sou Sou, a clothing designer who modernizes traditional Japanese wear. By this time I was back to Nishiki Market. There is a knife store there that sells all types of prized Japanese knives.

I do love shopping, especially in Japan.

© 2011 Jeanne Litt, All rights reserved.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on June 14, 2011 in Abundance, Japan

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Travel Japan – More Shopping — Fabric Store

During my last trip, I found a three story fabric store.

I found it again this trip and got some sashiko thread in colors I still needed. I was enchanted by this fabric. It is sturdy and textured, yet soft.

And this border print felt so smooth, like a fine percale.

I noticed Hawaiian print fabric there. It was about $10. a yard, which is about the same as here in Hawaii for the better quality fabric.

Last time I was there I bought these patterns.

Even though they are in Japanese, I thought I could figure them out based on the diagrams.

Cotton yukata are so comfortable to wear. I bought this hand painted fabric here to make one.

They give me joy just looking at them. 😄

© 2011 Jeanne Litt, All rights reserved.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on June 7, 2011 in Abundance, Japan

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Travel Japan – Shopping – Kimono Accessories

My last day in Kyoto was for shopping – very wise planning by Esprit Travel and Tours. The next morning when I checked out, I sent my large bag and the smaller one that was in it to the airport to wait for me. The next week I would travel with just may backpack.

I brought slacks and tops to discard as I went. For the next week I had the slacks I was wearing and another pair. As I shopped in the next week I could let go go clothes and make some room in my backpack. Also, I planned to ship purchases directly to the airport.

I started out early and shopped near my hotel. Then I went back to leave my purchases in my room. The hotel, the Toyoko-In Shijo Omiya, caters to businessmen and depends on the clientele being out of their rooms during the day while they clean. Using my handy dandy translator card, I was able to communicate that I wanted to leave my purchases in my room. the manger accompanied me up to my room while I left off my bags.

The doors to the rooms were open and the only ones on the floor were hotel staff. I am guessing they go through all the rooms and clean all the bathrooms then vacuum all the rooms etc. The rooms are very clean.

I had this kimono from a previous trip.

I purchased these accessories to go with it. Now I have to figure out how to put them on properly.

© 2011 Jeanne Litt, All rights reserved.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on May 30, 2011 in Abundance, Japan

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Travel Japan – Bizen Pottery

Photo by JAR ()

My first Sunday in Japan, I traveled to Bizen pottery village .

My first stop was the Bizen museum as recommended by Esprit Travel and Tours. It was uplifting and inspiring to see the work of masters in the art. I fell in love with a coffee cup in their shop. When I went to pay for it; I found they don’t take credit cards. I asked what places do take credit cards and they marked it on a walking map of the village that had all the pottery studios listed.

I found myself wishing I could live there. The town is so charming.

It is very beautiful and the streets were newly paved since my last visit.

I found what I wanted – a coffee cup that reminded me of the ones at Somushi’s. Their pottery is not from Bizen, it just looks like it to me.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I had a little brown teapot. I used to drink tea sitting in a garden window and write letters to my birth family. When I saw this teapot, it took me back to that time and brought tears to my eyes. I bought both these items at a co-op gallery.

Yes, there is a little chip in the spout, that I did. Funny but my old teapot had a chip in the spout also. All my pottery pieces arrived home with me unchipped and in excellent condition. They pack them well.

Before boarding my train back to Kyoto, I had time to stop at the small restaurant at the train station. I was enchanted to find myself surrounded with beautiful pottery.

The menu had pictures of the food, so I pointed at what I wanted. The waitress communicated to me that they only had one item available at this time.

When it arrived I was even more enchanted. It was served on a chilled Bizen plate and it was this beautiful dessert.

There was a card on the table advertising beer and I held it up and asked for one. My waitress said it’s non-alcoholic. I laughed and said that is probably even better for me.

When she brought it, it was in a chilled Bizen glass. It doesn’t get any better than this. Now I want to go back to Bizen to get a plate and a glass.

© 2011 Jeanne Litt, All rights reserved.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on May 24, 2011 in Abundance, Japan

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,