Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Monday and Tuesday in Tokyo

Since we returned to Tokyo on Sunday night, we have been busy.  Yesterday, we started off with a trip to Akihabara, 'Electric Town'. Glyn was looking for parts of his hifi separates rebuild project, specifically valve bases, and we found a few things he wanted - but not the valve bases.  It turns out the ones he wants are too specialised even for Akihabara. Valve amplifiers are much more appreciated by hi fi otaku (geeks) in Japan than they are in the UK. We saw and heard some fantastic gear, but no 6c33c bases in gold plate!

After a curry rice lunch, we went to Tokyu Hands at Ikebukuro.  It was my first time to visit this 'lifestyle and hobby' store.  I chose that branch because it is one of the biggest stores. We had a fab time in the DIY section and Glyn bought some pieces of 'tamo' veneer for his turntable plinth project -
"A species of common ash from the Far East produces one of the world's rarest and most treasured woods. Native to Manchuria but transplanted to the mountainous regions of Japan centuries ago, this particular ash owes its fame to a uniquely figured grain.

"Tamo -- also called damo, shioji and yachidama -- looks like white ash. Few trees, however, produce figured wood that resembles peanut shells laid side by side. Tamo trees develop this peanut figure when strong vines encircle their trunks. This girdling restricts the flow of nutrients. Consequently, the tree grows in spurts, and the grain shows it."


It is the same wood veneer on my Taisho era sewing box, but I didn't recognise it first, because the sewing box has gone so much darker with age. The colour of the sheets Glyn has got is really pale - think Ikea birch!

Tokyu Hands was great for interesting woods and various other craft things, but I wouldn't recommend a trip for fabric crafts and definitely not for quilters - it is somewhat average in that department.

This morning, we had a short visit to the Sensoji temple just round the corner from our ryokan.

Then we met up with Yasuko Okazaki from Clover.  We went to the tea shop on the corner by the ryokan and ended up getting filmed by a local TV crew - the second time this has happened since we came.

We met Susan Faeder's quilt tour group from the USA for lunch at Aoi Marushin, a huge tempura restaurant in Asakusa.  Susan runs Quilters' Tours to Japan, in addition to making beautiful pieces inspired by Japan.  Of course, they are here in Tokyo for the quilt show at the end of the week.  Sounds like they are having a great time here.

After lunch, we all went to the Amuse Museum, where Susan had booked the lecture room so I could give the group a short talk about my sashiko pieces and the work from the Loch Lomond Sashiko Guild, which Reiko Domon had sent down to our ryokan after their various exhibitions in Tokyo and Sakata.  It was great to see all the quilts once again and I hope everyone enjoyed the talk - please send me photos, if anyone reads this!  I couldn't take any myself.  I ended with a quick demo on marking and stitching the asanoha (hemp leaf) pattern.

Afterwards, we went up onto the rooftop viewing area on top of the museum.

The current exhibition at the Amuse Museum is boromono... photos from that tomorrow!

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