Saturday, July 14, 2018

January in Japan - second half of tour

Since it was six months ago, I'll share directly from my journal.
 Tuesday, 1-23-18
 I met a young woman from Oregon at breakfast.  She is here, and in China, studying ancient math.

We're beyond the halfway point of the tour now.  Continuing to have magical experiences every day.

We started today with a lovely batik workshop - tracing designs with wax onto Tshirts.  I chose a fish pattern.  The work space was small, so our group divided in half for today's adventures. 

In this workspace were lovely rolls for printing patterns on yukata (summer kimono) fabrics.  We were told that unfortunately, fewer and fewer are wearing kimono.

The master had us dip our shirts into indigo dye, then the shirts were hung to oxidize.  Next he boiled them in soapy water, and transferred them to the scrubbing team!  I missed the drying part, because I was shopping, but then they neatly folded and packaged our shirts for us.  This is a family operation, and the lady to the right of the master is his mother!

We then visited shrines, gardens, a Zen rock garden, the Gion geisha district, and a silk weaving studio, where fabrics are woven for kimono, obi (belts) and Noh costumes.
First, the weaving studio:
Unfortunately, they didn't allow photographs inside the weaving workspace, but we got to get up close to see artisans at work.

 Here we are visiting Kinkakuji Temple, known as the Golden Pavillion.  This is only half of our tour group.  

I have captured nearly 4000 images now!  I'm charging batteries every day. 

The (15) rocks in the Zen garden reminded me of scenes in the Japanese countryside, Thanksgiving, and a mama gorilla.

  There was a water feature there with Kanji symbols from an ancient coin - which mean, "I choose to be content."  Lovely thought. 

This is a very serene and spiritual place.  Even the walk back to the bus was calming.

Next, as evening fell, we went to the Gion district and hoped to find ladies studying to become geisha!  Here's a look:

We happened across this exhibit, which we were unable to visit, but were happy to find anyway:

Restaurant workers were washing the street to let people know that they were getting ready to open for business.
People were shopping.
I enjoyed seeing these silk banners in many places.  Later in the trip, I was able to purchase a set to bring home with me.

People here have such beautiful attitudes.  They aim for perfect service and attention to their tasks.  90% is not good enough.  They practice respectfulness always.  They do allow smoking in restaurants.  But there is honesty, patience, and safety here.  And happiness.  It's lovely.

A few tidbits from our guide:  Japan has survived Tsunami, fire, earthquake, and bombardment.  they are always rebuilding. 
Art flourishes when there is no war.
When you are 15 years of age, you decide your future career.  You will do one thing and master it.

  This has been a fantastic experience, and I am LOVING the opportunity to spend some time here.