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Posts Tagged ‘tokkaido’


It was the very end of the shibori festival and by end I mean about 4:30 pm on Sunday. The fabric vendors were already packing up the shibori and the food vendors were hawking their last birus (beers) and snacks.In fact, a guy dressed up as a beer engaged us as we were walking by and sold us a beer which we paid for and when they tried to pour it the tap had run dry! They had drunk a little too much of it themselves I think and they were so embarrassed they had run out. So very Japanese of them- they gave us some of their other goods plus the ¥ back and we continued down the street for one last look around.

I was actually trying to wait out for darkness to fall so I could see the famous shibori sculpture by Kaei Hayakawa at night but alas, it had been a long day and it just wasn’t going to happen. So here it is in the daytime…it was still pretty cool and actually there was more than this- several sculptures around this plaza at the train station here along with shibori patterns embossed into all the glass panels around the walkways. A really nice effect.

So, back to the last walk down the main street of Arimatsu…did you know that this street was actually part of the old Tokkaido road?? Such a fascinating part of Japanese history to me. So many craft traditions were born and grew from these rest stations along the Tokkaido. So, there we were walking down the old Tokkaido road and I wanted to get a last glimpse of the ladies working since the crowds had cleared out a bit (and it was crowded!). That’s when I was able to get that video in the last post which my friend Richard Carbin has translated for me. I could understand the gist of it but he cleared up the details.. here it is:
Richard says:
Yup, it’s really interesting. Someone asks her how long she’s been at it. She answers she’s been doing it for 81 years now, and that when they all started, kids started in elementary school back then. She says they competed to be the best, from even such an age. And that back then there were lots of “shokunin”, or craftsmen(and women, I imagine), 100 or more. She says she’s from Narumi. She goes on to reveal that her age is 92 and that the woman next to her is 2 years older yet(like it’s some contest or something)

And after a second listening he adds:
OOps, she’s been doing it for 83 years. Back then, you started when you started elementary school. They competed to remember different techniques and patterns. There were 120 patterns that had to be remembered, but now there are only 70 or so that are done, the others having been abandoned. She says she did a lot of work back then as a student, and then restates herself to emphasize the amt (like “I did a ton!”)

How interesting! Thanks Richard! You can see his extremely fantastic mandala dye work here. Just in case you don’t click the link, here is one of his pieces. I own a couple of them. have them framed on the wall. He has really made some sick (as it good) mandalas.

look for asiadyer on Etsy

here’s a link to his shop:
asiadyer on etsy


Soon, we found ourselves in front of the Arimatsu float and it was time to put it away until next time. More on that and video too as soon as I get it edited in the next post. Until then, mata ne!

leaning into it- the arimatsu float

leaning into it- the arimatsu float

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