As well as doing some serious sashiko studying, we had time for some fun days out while we were staying with Reiko-sensei in Yuza-machi, including a trip to a kaiten sushi restaurant in Tsuruoka.
It was a modern building of course but still had lovely traditional details, like this path under the porch.
The other reason we went was so Glyn could get some traditional carpenter's trousers. He'll wear them to our next show...
This is some of the Yuza Sashiko I've been studying, and now the challenge is for me to replicate the sampler made for their new sashiko book, which is coming out in March. I can only show you a detail now, but this incredible sampler is going to be on the front cover.
The weather in Shonai at this time of year isn't really good enough for strolling around shops on the street, so malls like Aeon are great.
If you're expecting lots of traditional Japanese fabric, the craft department isn't really the best place to look though - it is mostly fabric for kids.
A kimono shop at the mall had some sophisticated modern designs.
It was senin no hi on Monday (coming of age day) so there were lots of photos displayed of this year's kimono ensembles.
The next big cultural event is Girl's Day aka hina matsuri (doll festival) on March 3rd. There were lots of new sets on sale.
A bit more work accessories shopping for Glyn at Don Quixote, a huge chain store.
Maybe Japanese shops are different from what you imagine?
We did resist these safety boots, although we know someone who would LOVE them...
We went to Yuza Kasuriya, a more traditional small shop, where we were lucky enough to get some of the last Yuza Shima striped fabric ever produced. They stopped making it in 1960.
I also called into Obiya, where I learned to sew kimono in 1992.
After busy days, we relaxed at Reiko-sensei's house.
We had a day out in Sakata, including a nice curry lunch in a wonderfully decorated restaurant.
There were lots of lovely miniatures, all about 1:12 scale.
We were introduced to the delights of Off House, a second hand chain store.
Even shopping for veggies is a bit different!
Delicious fresh home cooked food has been one of the really enjoyable things about staying with our friends.
It feels like it was time to leave far too soon...
The gift and produce shop at Yuza Station.
Waiting for the train!