Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Indigo dyeing and traditional Japanese dance!

Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018
Since I had missed the Saturday vigil mass (having been unable to find the church), I spent some time in the hotel chapel this morning.
It was a lovely room on a high floor, overlooking the water.  I tried to open the drapes to get a photo, but didn't want to cause any damage, so you just have to imagine the view.  The chapel is beautifully set up for weddings.  I was surprised to find the bible is in English.
Today, we took a bus to a small  indigo dyeing factory.  Here are some scenes along the way:

Our guide, Toshi gave us some historical background, enhanced by her portraits of ancient shoguns and emperors. 
Once we arrived in the neighborhood in Tokushima where we would have our indigo dyeing workshop, we got to walk a ways on this gorgeous cool morning.

                                                        I wish I knew what this says.

                                                   This one has been around awhile:
                    Everywhere we went, I was intrigued by the laundry lines:
              This might say, Watch for children playing.  I'm just guessing.
                                                                   Guard dog!

Once inside , we saw large bales of indigo plants, and in ground vats of liquid indigo for dyeing fabric.

                It was easy to recognize those who work there by their blue hands!

Step one was to paint a design with wax onto a silk scarf.  Toshi had told us on the bus that we could paint anything we wanted, and encouraged us to do some practice sketching.  I wanted to do some Japanese Kanji symbols, so I borrowed some from a placard in the pocket on the bus seat in front of  me, so my scarf probably says something like - Buckle your seat belt.  I also added a bird.
We then moved to the vats and dipped our scarves several times - in for one minute, out for half a minute to allow the dye to oxidize.

The master then rinsed with warm water, spun in a drying machine, and finally, the scarves were steam ironed.

Somewhere, in the studio, there must have been children, but we never saw or heard them!

Here, the master shows the indigo plant, and whips up a fast whirpool in the vat, and shows us some fabulous rolls of shibori dyed fabrics used to make kimono.

Outside again, we enjoy the blooming flowers and fruit.  We are now at the most southern point of our tour.

Back on the bus, we head for a traditional Japanese dance performance in the afternoon.  Some scenes along the way:  A memorial area surrounded by crops.
                                 I think these guys were harvesting seaweed.

                                     This may be a daycare center.  Not sure.
                                            Shrines were everywhere!

                                           Surprises in store windows:

                                                        People on the move.

                                                                      Peek a Boo!
                                                             A gentleman in kimono.

We are given some time to shop and grab lunch before the dance performance.  I happily stumbled upon a department store which carried fabrics, yarns and sewing supplies, as well as reasonably priced clothing.  I raided the remnant bin, finding several Japanese prints for about $2 each, and picked up a sweet top and jumper.  Many of the large department stores have fantastic downstairs places to get all sorts of food.  I wish I had taken photos of some of the options - it's quite wonderful and overwhelming.  I chose a quick chicken, noodle, veggie combo, and was impressed with the way it was packaged. 

                        We arrived at the Awaodori-Kaikan theater. I didn't realize until later that these structures are modeled after the women's hats!

The dance show was wonderful - fantastic costumes, lighting, and audience participation.  Here is Heather, blending in at the gift shop:

            I was impressed to see many men in the audience and participating as well.

                               Here are Martha and Toshi, getting into the rhythm!

After the performance, we viewed an area where there were dioramas with tiny figurines that were wonderful.

On the bus back to the hotel, I did some hand stitching.  Walked to the nearby port to snap some photos.  Joined Lisa and Martha for dinner at the train station - Pork with Ponzu sauce - yummy!
Toshi says winter weather is coming to Japan soon!  Tomorrow we'll be in Kobe, trying out Kobe beef.  This has been such a fantastic tour.  We are seeing and experiencing so many wonderful people, places, and events.