8 hours ago
Monday, 15 September 2014
Kappabashi-dori and the Keisuke Serizawa exhibition
We had a walk to Kappabashi-dori this morning, so Emily could see if there were any suitable knives for her taxidermy. The knives there are very good quality - we bought Damascus steel steak knives last time we were here (not for us!) - and some of the professional chefs' knives are very expensive. There are also all the different sharpening stones... So we were just looking. Here's Emily posing with the Kappa statue (Kappabashi means Kappa bridge).
I picked up some more of the higher priced 'rainbow stripe' tsumugi I got in May, although I couldn't get exactly the same one, and a couple of tenugui towels (stencilled cotton, not fluffy) for myself - I'll use those in a quilt.
This afternoon Emily was really tired (I think jet lag is catching up again), so I went on my own to Takashimaya, one of Tokyo's grandest and oldest department stores. I knew about the Serizawa exhibition, but not that they were also having a special mingei (traditional Japanese crafts) promotion event to tie in with it. Approaching from the Ginza subway line, the pillars were decorated with advertising banners for both events.
Needless to say, this was just my kind of event! There were high quality products from all over Japan - some very expensive but others very good value for money. I bought some lovely items of Hakone Yosegi parquetry, including my very first 'secret' puzzle box, which opens with seven moves. I'll post photos of these when I get home, as I don't want to spoil the pretty wrapping yet.
The Serizawa exhibition was wonderful! I felt it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Unfortunately, no photography was allowed, but if you google his full name, you will be able to see some images of his work. He worked primarily in stencil techniques, combining traditional katazome with influences from Okinawan bingata, but all infused with his personal unique style. His work was shown alongside some of his inspirations, including a beautiful sandy coloured sashiko jacket (I sketched the design), African carvings and Asian textiles.
This department store is full of big name designer brands, not the kind of thing I shop for here at all, but the window displays were full of the coming season with a very autumnal feeling. It was my first visit to Takashimaya and I was impressed with the attention to quality and detail in the store - and I noticed how people on the Ginza line were looking at my three Takashimaya shopping bags on the way back!
UPDATE - when I opened my shopping bags this morning, there were some free exhibition tickets inside, so we went again!