Sunday, April 29, 2012


On the way back from Ogawamachi, we stopped by at the town of Kawagoe.  This was my first time there.  Chiho san was my guide.    The above architecture does look Japanese, but to me, it's western version of a Japanese architecture.  It looks only a facade.   Below, it's more authentic.  What do you think?   Do you see the difference?

Puffy Rice Crakers
I wanted to buy one and taste it, but it was too cumbersome to carry it home.  
Yes, I regret it now.

An old couple were making sweets in the back of their store.
Chiho san asked them if we could taste one that they just made.
It was 100 yen each, white sweet bean cake.  Chiho san ate one and kept saying, "so good!"  I asked his permission to take a photo of them.  He said yes, but his wife ran away.  The cake was warm and sweet.  Chiho san bought more.

This is long ofu which we put in miso soup or feed koi.

I think this is wild yamabuki.  I'm familar with multiple petal yamabuki in golden yellow, but not this kind.  It was a pleasant surprise.  I love everything about it.

a temple we passed by.

We went into a liquor store because I wanted to buy sake lees.  I asked Chiho san why she suddenly pulled out a white mask and wore it.  I don't remember what she said?!

The sales woman assured us the above package was high quality.
I didn't know the difference between low and high quality of sake lees.

Below, they are local sake bottles. 

We had this photo taken at Ogawacho earlier.  We shared a dish of tempura because I cannot eat much oily dish.  

Here, we had a cup of sweet sake lees drink after lunch.
This was very warm and sweet and made me happy, so I wanted to buy a bag of some sake lees on the way home.  So, I did at Kawagoe as you've seen in one of above photos.  
I came home and tried it.  
Now I know what high quality means.
It has sake in it.  Low quality has no alcohol.  The first time, I put two table spoons of sake lees into my mug and added sugar.  It made me very warm.  I started to sweat.  It also smelled sake which I didn't like.  But it would be waste to throw away, so I drank it up.  Next night, I put only one table spoon and sugar.  It was just right.  Now I love it.  I look forward to drink one cup every night!

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Trip to Ogawamachi: Traditional Paper Making

Amano san showed us how to make washi, Japanese paper.

she does this three times to make a piece of paper.

a piece of paper is now made.  you can do this yourself, she says.
Chiho san and me
At Saitama Dento Kougei Museum at Ogawamachi

the home for Japanese papers

the room to make washi 

he is pressing wet papers one by one.

we can make something like these.  washi is very light.

Amano Miho san showed just two of us how to make a paper.
What a coincidence!  Yes, we share the same last name.  Maybe, we are related.

I asked her if her hands have gotten rough doing this daily.  She said no, on the contrary.
Her hands looked smooth and shining.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Haruko Yoshimura and Japanese Silk Dye

Last Sunday, I made a visit to the Yoshimura Haruko Silk Dye Exhibit at Saitama Dento Kogei Kaikan in Ogawamachi, Saitama Prefecture.  It took three hours by train and bus from Yokohama, but it was well worth it.

This is a close up to one section.

I have blogged before about my ancestor of my grandmother's side.  They had the red dye business for four generations in Takasaki city in Gunma prefecture, but the business went down.  But Haruko san who is my mother's cousin has restored the dye technique by using old wooden boards with patterns.  At the same time, she has integrated all the techniques she has learned and created her own art.  I was surprised to see her modern arts because I expected more traditional way.  But I did see some remnants of the traditional silk dye which I miss very much.  I’ll show you that later on.  Meantime, I hope you enjoy her show.    

The exhibit will last until May 13th.

I just found this site.  You'll see a photo of my great grandfather Heishichi Yoshimura.
I appreciate the authors for this.  It is excellent!