July 8, 2011

Japan Shopping Expedition

When I travel I always throw in some shopping expeditions to make the trip more interesting. Shopping is part of the fun of travelling. You get to see what is available locally. If I get a chance I like to visit local markets and supermarkets as well. I enjoy seeing what the local markets have to offer. Some markets are a real treasure trove too. 

I did do a bit of homework before I went to Japan. I learned that there are markets in every city in Japan. Generally both fresh food and general markets are joined together in the same location. I went to the markets in Osaka, Kamakura, Nogoya and a few in Tokyo including Sugamo street market which the locals call the 'oldies' market, and Nippori  Textile Town in Tokyo. The markets I wish to visit next time are the shrine markets at Toji and Kitano in Kyoto on the 21st and 25th of each month.

There are lot of photos to share again in this post. I will keep the writing to a minimum. Usually pictures tell all. Enjoy and thanks again for reading my Japan journal. 

I was at the vintage kimono shop Komehyo in Nagoya. The shop was part of a market. There were all types of kimono there. I couldn't choose which one to get. I was looking for silk jacket (hoary) and not too expensive. I finally found one. 

More full length kimonos on display. It was a hard choice to make. I had to narrow my choices by price, kind of fabric, colour and the space I had left in my luggage! They were just beautiful to look at even though I couldn't bring them all back.

You would find sweet treat and knic knack shops everywhere in Japan. This one sells old fashion candy and sweets. My friends told me she used to buy them when she was at school. I'm glad they still make the old fashion sweets instead of sweets you get these days. 

A supermarket in Shiga where my friend's family shops. I spotted durian on the shelves. Durian is a famous Thai's fruit. I was surprised it is sold in Japan.

It was our last day in Osaka and Ayako and I both love markets so what better place to spend on our last day. We found nice snacks stalls and tried most of them. Having Ayako to explain what they all are helped a lot. Half of Osaka is built underground in and around train stations. It was a good thing too because it rained for most of the week I was in Osaka. 

A friendly shopkeeper in Nappori. I got chatting with him and found that he came from Isfahan, Iran. I have been to Isfahan, so we got talking and reminisced about what we remember in Isfahan.  His shop sells braid of every kind and leather supplies.

The antique sewing caddy made with cane base and fabric body and draw string. I have seen them before, but didn't know that they were used as a sewing caddy.  I love the idea so much I bought a book on how to make them. The second book is on quilts made from recycled and vintage kimonos. 

If you haven't heard of sakabukuro before this might be interesting for you. Sakabukuro is a bag used to filter out the remaining sediment of the fermented rice sake brew. The bag was first dyed with kakishibu (persimmon dye). I found a good link if you want to read further. 

My friend's mother had a bag made from sakabukuro that I fell in love with. She told me what it was and that it was hard to find these days. When I was at Arimatsu Shibori Festival one of the ladies told me she had some and would bring them the next day. I got two from her and I cut one up and made two bags from it. I will keep the other one to use as display on the wall. 

Shibori tote bags found at the "shotengai" in Nagoya. These are cotton bags and they are natural dyed. I could have easily bought one in every colour, but space in the luggage was the problem again! 

These cute little bags were as common as paper bags. They can be used for anything like tissue napkins, glasses, cosmetics, jewelry, cameras, you name it.  They are great little gifts from Japan. 

The photos below are of fabric I brought back. Some of them are new, but most of them are vintage in both cotton and silk. I'm looking forward to using them in my online workshop starting next week. 

Some silk products I found on the tour. I hope to make magic thread out of the cream and blue yarns, but first I have to wind them onto bobbins before I can ply them on my spinning wheel. A long process, but it shouldn't be too hard. 

I really enjoyed writing about my shopping expedition today. I do miss these places and wish I was walking through them again right now! I hope I haven't bored you with my ramblings. Travelling is one big book of knowledge. To think that before this trip to Japan I didn't know anything about kakishibu, the natural dye that has been used for 100's of years. I feel that there is a right time for everything. 

I'm glad to hear that you have enjoyed reading my Japan journal so far. Don't miss out my next post on natural dyes. 


Lynda Howells said...

This account/diary of your journey is fantastic Nat..please keep it up. I so love looking at all the things you saw, did and most of all bought! you must have taken a very big suitcase!Ha. i am so jealous of all that amazing fabric. It will be fun to see what you do with it all. it is also interesting to hear about the bags and history..so please keep writingx One day l will win the lottery and come with you!Haxxlynda

Anonymous said...

Such an interesting post! I almost felt like I was shopping with you. I didn't know that half of Osaka was underground. And those beautiful fabrics and kimonos! I can understand why it was hard to decide which ones to buy.
Nedra/ Cactus Needle
(blogger still won't let me sign in under my identity)

Paula said...

I love the fabric you brought back with you. I'm just curious where you take your online workshop. Thank you for sharing your trip and photos. Very interesting.

deanna7trees said...

oh, a fabulous post. everything you tell about your trip is quite interesting. you sure did bring back some beautiful fabrics.

Needled Mom said...

How could we ever be bored looking at such fabulous shopping venues? I think that the next time you need to go with empty suitcases so you have more room!!!! It just sounds like a magical trip and I can understand why you would want to go back again soon. I found the information about the sakabukuro very interesting. How lucky to have sound some!!

Jeannie said...

Your travels are so entertaining. I don't know how you could pick a few from all the kimonos hanging there and the purchases you brought home are gorgeous. Thank you for sharing your journey and the fun you had. I am enjoying it immensly.

onesmallstitch said...

the last time I went to Japan my big suitcase was full of gifts to give away and even having it to fill I had to buy another bag. I have dreams/nightmares about shopping in Japan. Wonderful post.

Terry said...

You are so right. Markets alwawy reveal the ordinary side of life in a country. Textile ones are great for gals lik us . Wayne likes the food ones because of the great photos.
Your fabric shopping is a magic box waiting to be opened.

Queen Of The Armchair aka Dzintra Stitcheries said...

Wow Nat...how cool to see Thai fruit in Japan, I bet it's been a while since you saw it...Great post about shopping, I especially like the sewing caddy!!! Dzintra

Marie said...

Hi Nat, It is so interesting and fun to see about your trip to Japan. I would love to visit that beautiful island. You found some wonderful treasures to bring home and what fun memories. Those fabrics are just divine : )

liniecat said...

When I flew for a living ( RAF) I went to Hong Kong often, pre UK handover, but wasnt interested in stitching then.
Oh how Id go with empty cases now!
I find it fascinating reading about your Japan trip and would have come back laden with kimono fabrics too,
Im buying offcuts off ebay as it is from over there..but ooooh to go there and buy in person....bliss!
Thanks for such interesting insights into japanese culture

Bev C said...

Hello Nat,

Oh I loved this happy post. Interesting to see that a lot of things are under ground. It really is a small world meeting up with that man from a place you have been. I hope he gave you a big discount. Good luck making up your basket etc.
happy days.

Jane said...

Hi Nat, I have been to that same vintage kimono shop at the market. I lived in Nagoya for nearly a year. Japan is textile heaven...I am also a huge fan of Japanese ceramics and had a fabulous shopping trip at the end of my time in Japan. Your post made me feel so nostalgic....can't wait to go back there some time.

quiltmom said...

What an interesting journey to Japan- The markets look like fascinating places to go- it would be hard to choose what treasures to bring back.
Thanks for sharing your journey.

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

What a fun shopping trip. My daughter just came back from a month long missions trip to SE Asia. She did not bring much home, and NO fabric :-( sniff, sniff...... But she enjoyed her time there and had a lot to share about the trip.

Heather said...

Wow, you did well on your shopping trip. The fabrics in particular are gorgeous and you must be itching to start working with them.

Michele Pacey said...

look at all the loot you brought back with you. It doesn't appear that room in your luggage was an issue after all, ha ha!!

will we be seeing projects inspired from the book of quilt-making using vintage kimonos? I certainly hope so...

the sakabukuro is a very interesting item. the bags you've made from it are great Nat. it's cool that you'll be hanging one for display. I'm sure it'll be a curiosity for people and you'll have fun telling them the story behind it.

Lis said...

Just catching up with your blog after my trip to Italy and I've loved seeing all that you bought. I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with those fabrics, which online workshop are you doing? I had durian in Singapore!! I'm thinking that on my next trip to Japan I shall have to take the absolute minimum of luggage so that I can take any opportunity to buy such lovely things. How wonderful to have your friend with you in the markets to translate and explain what things were. How is your Japanese?

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