Today, I visited Hiyoshi Wagasa, a maker of wagasa (traditional Japanese umbrellas). I had a nice chat with the president of the company, Mr. Nishibori Kotaro. Mr. Nishibori is representative of an interesting group of young Japanese people who are trying to find new uses for traditional techniques. His company is now making wonderful lamps […]
Last night I hopped on a train to Osaka to catch the famous Tenjin Matsuri. There were raucous festival barges on the O-kawa River and teams heaving gaudy mikoshi (portable shrines) around the streets. I was struck once again by the contrast between Osaka and Kyoto. The Osakans I saw seemed almost like a different […]
The decade’s longest solar eclipse happened over southern Japan and other parts of Asia this morning. Here in Kyoto, the eclipse did not reach totality – it was about 80%. There was just enough cloud about to watch the eclipse without eye protection. My wife Hiroe and I watched the eclipse from Shinyodo Temple, near […]
Kyoto’s biggest festival, Gion Matsuri, was held today. I checked out the parade of floats on Oike-dori around noon. There were several gaijin in the team pulling this float, including one of the guys sitting on top.
Yesterday, I visited the forge of Pierre Nadeau, a French-Canadian who has been pursuing an apprenticeship under master sword makers in Japan. He aims to become only the second or third (there is some debate) gaijin to become a licensed sword maker in Japan. Pierre’s forge is in the mountains of Wakayama Prefecture. Pierre gave […]
I am very lucky to live right below Shinnyodo Temple in Kyoto. There’s almost always something in bloom. I took a walk around the temple grounds yesterday to enjoy the rich green of early summer. First, I stopped by the bell tower, where there are some great ajisai (hydrangea) in bloom. They form a nice […]