May 13, 2018

Tokyo 2018

I had been meaning to blog about my Tokyo trip straight after the Kyoto post, but I have been too busy since we returned from visiting our new home in Canberra at Easter. So here it is at long last: Tokyo post! 

We travelled from Kyoto to Tokyo on the Shinkansen bullet train. The train ride was enjoyable. Our son and his family were with us. We were well prepared for our train trip. The grand-kids got books and toys to keep themselves occupied. I had a bag of sewing and some snacks for all of us.

In Tokyo, I planned to visit The Tokyo International Quilt Festival. It is held in the last week of January each year. I also wanted to take DDIL to Amuse Museum to see the BORO exhibition that I had visited 5 years earlier. Our son wanted to take the children to Tokyo Disney, but he was keeping it quiet until the end to surprise them. 

An extra bonus for me was to visit the Saori studio and spent a lovely day weaving using the Saori loom. You can't go to Tokyo without visiting Nippori Fabric Town. I also wanted to babysit the grand-kids so our son and DDIL could go out and see Tokyo's nightlife. 

We were expecting an early snow in Tokyo and we weren't disappointed. The day after we arrived we all went to Yoyogi Park to let the children and adults play in the thick snow. We had a super fun time.

BORO bag DGD made with vintage fabric we
bought at the Kyoto's flea market. 

Uniqlo Ginza, window display
goes up as tall as the eyes can see!

Park benches in the snow

We made snowmen

A peek at cherry blossoms in Tokyo

Tokyo manhole cover, my favourite so far

Tokyo Quilt International Festival day out. I took DDIL and DGD with me to the festival with me. I bought our tickets online. When we got out of the train station at Tokyo Dome and saw a long queue of people waiting to get into the festival I thought, OMG! We would never get in there today! To our surprise, the queue moved so fast and we were able to enter in less than 15 minutes. While we were standing in the queue DGD attracted a lot of attention from the Japanese quilters (they must be quilters!) with the boro bag she carried with her. She proudly told them she made it herself. "Kawaii", they were all saying to her. 

Korakuen Amusement Park at Tokyo Dome

View Tokyo Dome at you enter

Colourful Circles quilt and the maker

One of many beautiful quilts at the show

The happy lady at one of the stands

Both jacket and bag inspired me to
make them when I get home

The show's cover quilt

Blue and white quilts are my all-time favourites

Framed boro quilt
Special moment witnessing a reveal
her woven piece. 

Another special visit was to the Amuse Museum (boro museum). I was there on my last visit to Tokyo. I really wanted to take DIL to see these boro cloths and articles. I was glad that I got a chance to see them the second time around. The exhibition was a real treasure to share for both the Japanese and visitors.

Indigo items for sale in the museum shop

Boro quilt with red colour inspiration

Boro jacket

This boro piece was well preserved and displayed.

You can appreciate a hall full of boro treasures

The back view of a boro cloth

Some well-loved toeshoes

I love going back to Japan, any part of Japan really. I thought this would be the last trip I would make to Japan, but after I returned I thought I will have to go back again. Japan has everything that I love and it's close enough to Australia to get to. Let's see when is my next trip there. 

After we left Tokyo we spent another 5 days in Hiroshima. Hiroshima was on Mr Notjustnat's list of places to visit so we included it in our trip this time.

Until next time

March 15, 2018

Kyoto - 2018

We visited Kyoto 7 years ago. It was actually our first trip to Japan trip. This time the trip was more tailored to specific things I wanted to do and see. We stayed in this beautiful hotel Misui Garden. The room was almost big enough for the two of us! But in saying that, the hotel was beautiful and the Japanese style breakfast was plentiful and delicious. 

Apart from planning to hit the Toji Temple flea market on the 22nd of each month we also went back to the places we visited 7 years earlier. The flea market was a success. I was glad I decided to go there. There were so many cool stores and lots and lots of boro/indigo vintage fabrics to die for! The market was so big and busy that I feel I need to go back for another visit to see the rest of it. 

Our son and his family joined us on this trip so we got to spend time with them as well. I suggested that we should visit Nara while we were there. So we did. I knew the grand kids would enjoy the deer park in Nara. 

After Kyoto, we went to Tokyo in time for the Tokyo International Quilt Festival. I will blog about that on the next post. 

Japanese Garden

View from the hotel lobby into the garden

Kyoto Manhole cover

Kimono ladies in Kyoto

Fushima Inari Shrine

Nanzen-ji Garden, Kyoto

Warning sign at Nara deer park

Deer feeding

Toji Temple flea-market store

Toji Temple flea-market, more store

BORO/Indigo/ Vintage fabric
at the flea-market

Ikebana arrangement
at Kyoky Station

I got a lot more of photos, but I don't want to overwhelm you in one post. The next post I will blog about Tokyo and the Tokyo International Quilt Festival.

Until next time

March 2, 2018

Hong Kong 2018

I have recently been on holiday in Japan. On our way we got a free stopover in Hong Kong. The last time we were in Hong Kong was before it was returned to China. We didn't see much change except the usual development of the crowded city.  Hong Kong was the first overseas city I went to, so it was interesting and sentimental for me. We stayed on Kowloon side which was vibrant and lively, specially in the evening. We had street food where the locals hang-out. 

We did the usual sight seeing, museum and a few galleries. We love trecking into the back street areas, soaking the atmosphere of the city. We went to where we used to visit years ago - Stanley Village. We had to travel over an hour by local bus to the other side of Hong Kong island. Stanley Village wasn't how we remembered it. The old fishing village is now as touristy as you can imagine. It was so disappointing, but the bus ride was fun. 

A friend who used to lived in Hong Kong told me to visit Mountain Folkcraft shop in the heart of Hong Kong. We tracked it down with the help of Google map. It's a shop you can easily spend a whole day in.

Then I found the Sham Shui Po market. It's full of fabric and sewing supplies where local tailors and dressmakers shop! It's mostly an outdoor and pavement market. You can buy beads and sequins by weight and sewing pins by the thousand. It was such fun strolling along and just looking. Mostly just looking!  

Hong Kong Victoria Harbor

Prayer shrine found in HK back street

Wo On Lane, HK

Mountain Folk craft

Back Street, HK

Stanley Village - what's left

Original cottage at Stanley Village

Sham Shui Po Market

Chinese New Year

More Chinese New Year

Heart beads I bought from the market

More goodies from the market

As usual I always take some stitching projects to work on during my holiday. It's the best way to pass the time while waiting. I even stitched on the 9-hour plane ride. In Hong Kong I stitched a roll using eco-dyed and scrap vintage Japanese fabric. 

In Japan I did boro stitching using vintage indigo fabric. I will share all of them once I tidy them up a bit. 

When I returned I got the flu and wasn't feeling well for a couple of weeks. Even though I was back at work, mentally I didn't feel that good. I was tired and didn't have energy. I was feeling low in general. I'm glad to report that I'm back to my old self again. I picked up sewing and started creating again. I've also gone back to the gym. Keeping myself fit is the key.

On my next post I will write about our time in Kyoto and the Kyoto Toji outdoor market. I won't leave it too long in between posts this time.

Until next time

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