Sunday, 4 May 2014

Saturday around Yuza machi

Yesterday was a very full day in and around Yuza-machi.  In the morning we went foraging for bamboo shoots and mountain vegetables with Reiko Domon and Tamaki Suzuki, another of the Yuza Sashiko Guild who will be visiting the Loch Lomond Quilt Show in just over a week.  First, we saw the bamboo grove behind Suzuki-san's house.  It was Glyn's first time to see bamboo and bamboo shoots in a real bamboo grove, up close.  There were beautiful tiny wild flowers growing there too.


Then we went into the foothills near Mt Chokai to look for mountain vegetables.  These grow wild in places like this. We were looking for warabi, not so easy to spot.

Soon, we had got a big bunch.  Foraging was Glyn's dream come true!

With Tamaki Suzuki and her husband, who are very expert at this.

We saw some more cherry trees on the riverbanks on the way back to their house.  In the mountains, the cherries are still blooming.  I wondered if this variety was slightly different from the ones we saw around Yamagata castle on our first day in Yamagata Prefecture.

After  going back to the Suzuki's home, Glyn dug up bamboo shoots with Mr Suzuki. These will be delicious! It's such a shame we can't bring things like this home.

The next visit on our schedule was the Aoyama House (the website looks like it was auto translated).  I remember this house when it was given to Yuza-machi in 1992 and somewhere I have a lot of old photos taken before the restoration and general clean up.  The house is amazing for all the Meiji and Taisho era items left in the kura storehouses.

This is one of the Aoyama fishing fleet that earned Tomokichi Aoyama his fortune.

The straw cover for the catch may already be familiar from the photo in 'Japanese Sashiko Inspirations'.  The designs are related to several Yuza sashiko/hitomezashi (one stitch) sashiko stitches.

Glyn was surprised at the low lintels in the house, although they are actually more or less the same height as modern shoji.  I think he just hadn't noticed before.  He just squeezed underneath.  Sakuraba-san shows the height difference between them!

The house has many beautiful details - I'll post more another time.

There are many irori sunken hearths around the house and also this hibachi.  Because so many seasonal items were left in the kura, the curators are able to dress the house appropriately for the season.



The takarazukushi (collection of treasures) motifs on the pot hook above are seen on many other things in the collection, from tansu chest fittings to this boy's kimono below, decorated with yuzen dyeing and kinkoma gold couched highlights.

What's cooking? The kitchen has both irori and kamado (stove).

Pickle jars and large dishes.

There are several antique boro and sashiko hanten on display. 

The Aoyama fishing fortune was earned by fishing around Hokkaido and various Ainu items found there way to Yuza-machi via this link.  This is an Ainu robe and apron, with the typical Ainu decoration, in chain stitch.  These patterns have been found combined with old Yuza sashiko, such as apron borders, and this must be how the people in Yuza became aware of Ainu designs.

We visited Kataribenoyakata, a restored and slightly modernised minka farmhouse.  The earth floor of the doma has been replaced with concrete and cork tile.  Few people would want to have an earth floor indoors nowadays as it is just too impractical.  The original thatch roof has been covered with metal tiles.

There are many beautiful pieces of sashiko by Ayame Endo, including the sashiko sampler that appears at the start of the Inspiration Gallery in 'The Ultimate Sashiko Sourcebook'.  Here's some more of her lovely work.

Afterwards, we went to Uwadera Matsuri.  It is a village near Yuza.  By this time, my camera batteries had run out, but you can watch a video clip of last year's matsuri (festival) here.

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