Sunday, November 28, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

Marsh of Gold

Just got back from Kanazawa! I arrived early in the morning with Dai and his father. We also met up with a wonderful woman named Masako who is from Kanazawa but currently working in Takayama at the town hall. She works in the Industry and Merchant office. She also was my guide for the weekend!

The tea ceremony was great. Apparently the type of ceremony we attended is the most formal type. It had two servings of tea. The first one is a really thick blend of matcha powder and just a little bit of water- very bitter. After this we moved to a second room where we were served the second serving, which was more watered down. Then finally on to a third room for lunch! Cameras were not allowed during the the ceremony, though I was able to sneak a picture of the lunch.

Dai, his father, and I, in front of the temple gate where the Tea Ceremony was held.

Kanazawa's old geisha district along the river.

The name Kanazawa translates to "marsh of gold". Today the town is famous for it's gold leaf production and crafts. I went to the Gold Leaf Museum and saw some pretty amazing  stuff. A lot of stores in town sell some insanely-priced products, a lot of tabletop goods (teapots and cups, mugs, bowls, etc) with intricate gold leaf designs.

The view of downtown from Kanazawa Castle.

Masako and I, in front of Kanazawa Castle. Masako was incredibly kind and was with me all weekend. She took me to all of the city's best sights!

We went to Kenrokuen, which is Kanazawa's most famous park. At night in the fall, admission is free, and there is a light show which showcases the autumn foliage.

We also visited the Ninja Temple, a temple with a huge amount of trap doors, secret passageways, and hidden rooms. No cameras allowed inside here either, so here's me in front!

During my last few hours in town, Masako drove me to the prefectural office building to get a good view of the city.
Despite the clouds, it was a  nice view! On the other side was the ocean, a nice sight after spending so much time surrounded by mountains in Takayama.

Just as I was about to board the bus back to Takayama, it started to rain. Luckily I didn't get stuck in a Typhoon like on my last trip!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The chosen tea bowl

Tomorrow morning I am heading to Kanazawa, which is to the west on the coast about 2 hours away by car, to attend a tea ceremony with Dai and his family. He chose a bowl for my latest batch of pieces to give to the tea ceremony master to use during the ceremony. The bowl will be presented in a traditional simple wooden box. I wrote on the lid, with ink and brush, my name and a brief description of the bowl, it's clay and style.

Monday, November 15, 2010

New Lighting

The bright fluorescent lighting in my room was getting to be a bit much, so I picked up some string lights at the home store a few days ago. Huge improvement! And right in time for the holiday season!


The past two weekends I've done some more exploring around town. I finally made it to Takayama's two main parks, at probably the most amazing time of year. Both parks are on top of hills that overlook the whole city, and are at opposite ends of town.

 My apartment is in the center, way in the back!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Hida No Sato

One of Takayama's main attractions is the historic folk village named Hida No Sato. It is located near the center of town, on a hill that over looks the whole city and it's only a five minute walk past the pottery studio where I am studying. It is a preserved village, with traditional homes that have been maintained for hundreds of years. Autumn is an amazing time to be here!

The results are in!

This morning, at 9am sharp, we opened the kiln to reveal our finish glazed pottery.

Riding the bike path!

A fellow student at my woodworking school loaned me a bike for a few days, so I decided to take advantage of the opportunity, as well as the surprisingly nice weather, and finally conquer the bike path that I discovered last month that runs along the river in my town. The path starts near my apartment and I was able to ride it quite a distance. It was a beautiful ride, and dusk was the perfect time to do it!

Here's my [temporary] bike!

There was one point when the path reduced in size and went through a forest.

 "Bike path" is taken both functionally and visually...

The map... not too helpful, though. There were a bunch of these along the route, but none of them had a "you are here" marker, and they were all in Japanese characters. Plus, there is just one path to ride on, so a map isn't actually necessary!


Observations from around the countryside.