Disgraced and barely repentant kabuki actor Ebizo still has some promotional activities. I found him in Ni-chome selling bottled tea at a vending machine. I love how Japanese consumer products still use famous actors and celebrities in Japanese costume in wood houses or by bamboo forests. Very nostalgic and sexy!
Yesterday I returned from a four day Golden Week ceramic trip to Numazu in Shizuoka, near Mount Fuji and the Izu Peninsula. The in-law ceramics senseis organized this annual trip to use a wood-fired oven to make special bizen pottery.
For three days and nights, we heated a wood kiln until it reached 1200 degrees celsius, taking turns feeding it. It will take another three or four days for the kiln to cool down, so a return trip is necessary to take out the pottery.
Here are some photos that depict some of the process. Below are the 18 or 20 pieces I made: mostly flower vases with lattice tops, ten small round plates, and four rectangular plates.
Over the past days, small and large displays of bamboo, pine, basket, konbu and baskets have appeared on residential doors and in front of businesses. It’s called kadomatsu.
They symbolize longevity and the purity with which one prepares to bring in the new year. Some of the most elaborate ones are in front of the pachinko parlors and love hotels. Ours will be humbler.
Fall folliage is particularly spectacular this week in Tokyo, including the giant yellow ginkos lining our street. It seems fall is longer and later in Japan than in the US. Yesterday, the husband, sister-in-law Y and I went to Rikugien park to see the special evening “light-up” event.
The Japanese maples were amazing in bright yellow and deep red– some trees pruned to be flat planes made up of hundreds of leaves, others lining a reflecting pond and layered along a small stream. Also lit up were bamboo and gorgeous pine trees.
Alas, we didn’t see Kitaoji Kinya this time.
Sorry for the slightly out-of-focus image. Across from our temporary apartment is a single family house with an incredible garden on a corner lot. I am amazed to see a banana with long stemmed yellow flower, and the odd juxtaposition with pine trees, a bamboo fence and some cold-hardy palms.