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TRAVEL JAPAN – Katsura Imperial Villa

My second day in Japan found me at the Imperial Villa. You have to have permission to go there. I appreciate that Esprit Travel and Tours got that for me.

You also need to be there and waiting at 9 AM or you are out of luck.

I arrived early and was admiring the beautiful grounds when it started raining. A very stylishly dressed Japanese woman didn’t hesitate to come over and hold her umbrella over me. I felt very touched by this gesture.

I showed her I had my handy dandy plastic garbage bag, raincoat with me.

They counted us as we entered the gate and counted us again when we went out on the tour and when we came back.

The Imperial Villa was built in the 1600’s for the Imperial family. Besides a residence for them, it has gardens and tea houses.

A path winds around the property that has been thoughtfully designed. The tree at the end of this path has been purposefully placed there to prevent you from seeing the lake and gardens beyond until later.

A stand of bamboo.

 

This garden spot is planted at a waiting area for guests so they can enjoy it.

 

A lake was sculpted out and the excess earth was mounded up so this tea house has views of the mountains and water.

 

This river rock makes you feel like you are at a river bed.

 

Tea houses have a small opening so you can humble yourself and swords do not fit.

 

A lovely garden view is framed by the opening.

 

There are many stone lanterns, all different.

 

The area for heating water in one tea house.

 

This tea house celebrates the industry of farming and keeps the fields as the view.

 

This field, near the royal family's residence, was used for archery. The trees were planted to keep the archers spaced or maybe it was to see how far the arrows went.

This center post is noted for it’s grace and effortless beauty.

This tea house has a water view out the right window and a mountain view out the left. It is set for viewing the moon as it rises over the water and reflects off it.

What other architectural examples, that use nature to their advantage, do you know of?

© 2010 Jeanne Litt, All rights reserved.

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2010 in Abundance, garden, Japan

 

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TRAVEL JAPAN – The Master of Gold Leaf – Part II

Hakuya Noguchi, a 5th generation gold leaf master

This post was started and posted on November 30. This is a more complete post here.

In the afternoon of my first day in Kyoto, Kiyo took me to Gold Leaf Art,  the museum of Noguchi-san. I was going to see how he designs obi with gold leaf. I expected to find that he takes gold leaf and presses it onto fabric and then uses the fabric to make obi. The reality was much more interesting than I imagined.

When I walked in his workroom I said,

You have the sun in here.

The sun was shining and these obi with gold leaf were catching it.

Noguchi-san uses gold leaf and other metals for different colors.

The pieces of gold or silver leaf are made by putting a small piece of precious metal under a paper and pounding it thin. It ends up this size.

He uses brushes made out of woman’s hair.

This block of wood has tightly packed hair running through the entire thing. He ‘sharpens’ it like a pencil as it wears down.

He uses tweezers and tools to gently maneuver the leaf into place. He often uses his breath to move it ever so slightly.

In this picture, the ovals in the design on paper, will end up as circles on the obi. Noguchi-san has to adjust the design for the elongation that will happen as it is woven.

This finished obi with precious metals –

started out as a design on paper similar to this. This one in the picture has been sent out to a master cutter who cuts the paper, (impressed with metal), into threads. He leaves the border uncut. That way the threads stay in the correct order for the design.

The weaver takes the threads one by one and weaves them into an obi.

In the foreground of this photo is a picture of an ancient gold leaf screen. Experts have puzzled over the unique pattern in the gold leaf. It was not known how it was created.

Noguchi-san was able to reproduce it exactly. There is a book in the works detailing his findings. My understanding of what he did follows.

Noguchi-san gave me this piece of paper. It is used for pounding a small amount of metal into leaf. The metal ends up this size when it is pounded as thin as it can go. The edges are not squared off. It’s like rolling a pie crust, it rounds out.

This paper can only be torn in one direction.

By tearing the paper or the gold leaf, you can create more nearly square corners.

If you turn the leaf or paper so the ‘corners’ face out, and fill in the triangular shaped openings, then you have more of an even square coverage for working large areas.

Noguchi-san did it with gold leaf to show me. When he filled in the triangle areas, a gentle pressure makes the leaf adhere to itself, (again, like pie crust).

The Gold Leaf Art Museum is housed in one of the most photographed traditional Japanese style houses.

It has a garden in the center of the building.

And a garden to look out at while you have tea.

Noguchi-san’s son is also a gold leaf artist. Both artists have their work on display and some items for sale.

Gold Leaf Screen

Another screen and art work.

I am honored to have been there. It was such a joy to be surrounded by such beauty in so many forms – the people, the gardens and the Gold Leaf Art. I hope you get to go there some day and see too.

© 2010 Jeanne Litt, All rights reserved.

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2010 in Abundance, garden, Japan, Uncategorized

 

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Travel Japan – The Master of Gold Leaf

See the complete post here.

Noguchi-san a 5th generation gold leaf master

 

 

 

In the afternoon of my first day in Kyoto, Kiyo took me to the museum of Noguchi-san. I was going to see how he designs obi with gold leaf. I expected to find that he takes gold leaf and presses it onto fabric and then uses the fabric to make obi. The reality was much more interesting than I imagined.

When I walked in his workroom I said,

You have the sun in here.

The sun was shining and these obi with gold leaf were catching it.

Noguchi-san uses gold leaf and other metals for different colors.

The pieces of gold or silver leaf are mad by putting a small piece of precious metal under a paper and pounding it thin. It ends up this size.

He uses brushes made out of woman’s hair.

This block of wood has tightly packed hair running through the entire thing. He ‘sharpens’ it like a pencil as it wears down.

More on this another day. I just lost the rest of this post.

© 2010 Jeanne Litt, All rights reserved.

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2010 in Japan, Uncategorized

 

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Travel Japan — Weavers

One of the first things I did in Japan was visit two weavers.

Kawamura-Orimono Co. Ltd., Hand woven obi shop.

The first owner at this shop showed me some of their beautiful work.

And from the back.

The weaver only sees the back as he works.

My back gets tired when I sew a long time. These men weave all day and their backs were very supple. My tour guide translator said they do it in a zen-like relaxed way.

Some of their thread.

The royal family in Japan is a customer of theirs.

 

Across the street we visited another weaver.

The owner of this shop showed us a photo of a woven waterfall that he created. He said it was very challenging to make, but he loves waterfalls. It is on exhibit. Just seeing the photo of it, I was enchanted. And alas I don’t have a picture of it to show you.

The top of the loom is similar to a computer punch card system.

This weaver gave me this skein of silk warp thread. He said it takes 10,000 threads for the width of an obi.

I have to think of something special to use this for. I love to feel it. I’m thinking of crocheting it around my geta straps. I have to buy men’s geta because my feet are bigger than Japanese woman’s shoes. I wear size 8 US. The straps are not pretty like on the woman’s.

In this picture below the black and gold fabric around my waist and hanging down my back is an obi. This is NOT a handwoven one.

I have a new appreciation for people who do hand weaving.

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2010 in Abundance, Japan

 

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Travel Japan – A Question Of Beauty?

In my November 3rd post, I wrote regarding my previous trips to Japan:

If this trip is like my others, I become heightened aesthetically. I can hardly walk down the street without exclaiming at the beauty in the most ordinary of objects – a leaf, a crack in the sidewalk.

Jb at Out Of My Mind And Onto The Page commented:

Why do you think that happens? Is there a big contrast from where you live? Or is it because you’re relaxed and can soak it all up?

It’s not a big contrast from where I live in Hawaii. I am surrounded by natural beauty.
I definitely get relaxed in Japan. That probably is a big factor.
I love design. The Japanese have excellent design judgment.
Look what they did with an ordinary napkin.

 

A packaged cold lunch:

I think the Japanese work with nature that they love so much and enhance it, like at Adachi Museum gardens:

By kate nev

I think, it’s like if you walk into an ordinary room vs. walking into a room that has been designed to draw your eye to the best features.

I came to these gardens one day when I was out of sorts and noticed I became tranquil by the time I left.

It makes me want to create more beauty or rather enhance what is there. I guess that means clean up my clutter, XD

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2010 in Abundance, garden, Japan

 

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FEEL GOOD FRIDAY


The Girl Next Door Grows Up
Blog started this Feel Good Friday meme. Pick one of her prompts and write about it on your blog!

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Am I cute or what?

They couldn’t take off 20 pounds and twenty years but otherwise I love it.

It was so much fun. I wasn’t going to get this photo shoot until some of you encouraged me. Thank you very much. I’m glad I did.

It was a blast.

They were nice as could be young people working there.

I didn’t ask, if I was their oldest ever person to come through.

They say you can bring your own camera and take more pictures after they have you all done up. I brought my camera but I didn’t have anyone to take the photos.

I would have tried the long arm thing, but the photographer took me outside and took about ten shots with my camera. She didn’t have to do that and I appreciate it very much.

Would you like me to pour you some tea?

Just don’t ask me to get up from the floor without help. XD

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2010 in Abundance, Japan, Uncategorized

 

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If this trip is like my others, I become heightened aesthetically. I can hardly walk down the street without exclaiming at the beauty in the most ordinary of objects – a leaf, a crack in the sidewalk. I want to live in this place of heightened appreciation of the beauty that is everywhere.
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This is my favorite thing about Japan, the effect it has on me.
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Enjoy the beauty in your life today. XD
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© 2010 Jeanne Litt, All rights reserved.

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2010 in Abundance, Japan

 

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Nanowrimo Starts

Hooray it’s Nanowrimo time. I’m still in Japan and won’t start typing until I get home in three days. No worries. I usually aim for 2 to 3,00 words a day and 5K on weekends.

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Today, I’ll be traveling to Shikoku Island. They have a lot of pilgrim trails there. I don’t expect to be walking any of them this time. One thing that impressed me is that people here plant fruit trees along the pilgrim trail so people walking along can have something to eat without carrying it.

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I love this idea and the oneness of it. May you find what you need as you walk along today.

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© 2010 Jeanne Litt, All rights reserved.

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2010 in Abundance, Japan

 

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I’m off to Japan

I’m writing and scheduling this post Sunday night because I leave early Monday morning. I arrive in Japan on Tuesday evening because of crossing the date line.

By ~ezs Miss Izs

In Japan they will make you up like a Geisha and take your picture. I saw someone who had it done and couldn’t recognize her at all.

So guess what? This could be me. It could happen. I’m just sayin’.

Do what you love this week.

 

© 2010 Jeanne Litt, All rights reserved.

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2010 in Abundance, Japan, Uncategorized

 

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WHY JAPAN? Part I of II

girolame

Jb at Out Of My Mind And Onto The Page asked me

When did you first become interested in Japan?

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Even as a child I was very interested in the culture.

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When my husband and I married, (second marriage for each of us), we decided to go to Egypt and Israel for our honeymoon.

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My husband had been there before and he doesn’t travel well. He decided he didn’t really want to go.

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So we decided I would go myself, (with a tour group).
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My sister says I am unclear on the concept of a honeymoon.

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It makes me laugh and I like that we are the way we are.

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To be in the King’s chambers in the great pyramid at Giza is astounding. The shape of the pyramid channels energy. I heard if we stored milk in pyramid shaped containers, it would last longer.
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In the King’s chambers, I noticed everyone was effected by the energy in different ways. One lady ended up on the floor in a very happy state.
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A young woman I knew radiated beauty. Before we went in there, she was nice looking but not someone you would notice particularly.
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After, I couldn’t stop looking at her because of her radiance.
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But lucky for vain me, it effected me similarly.

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I felt so beautiful and I saw people looking at me as if I was beautiful.
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It wore off after a few days. I decided I wanted to go back to Giza and experience that again, maybe stay longer and have it last longer???
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My husband sometimes says to me, what happened? You look beautiful? I know it happens when I am happy and joy filled.
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So I guess I know how to create it without going to Giza.
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Some days, it seems easier to go to Giza.
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But how did I happen to end up in Japan?
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That will be tomorrow’s post.
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© 2010 Jeanne Litt

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2010 in Japan, Uncategorized

 

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