Japanese Culture in a Week!

It is times like this that I realize what nice friends I have! Last week my friend Yoshiko (“Jennie”) taught Debbie how to make a Ohara school ikebana or Japanese flower arrangement. I appreciate that Jennie got all the materials for the lesson. Debbie seems to have a flair for it as her very first ikebana turned out so great!

A lesson in ikebana

A lesson in ikebana

A radial style flower arrangement by Debbie!

A radial style flower arrangement by Debbie!

After that she performed a tea ceremony and we were able to drink matcha tea! Debbie was delighted for this chance. Classes 048

Teacher and pupil!

Teacher and pupil!

Then on Wednesday we went to Shima-san’s house to learn how to make ikanbari baskets. We began by crumpling the washi paper and tearing it into small pieces a (three or four  inches) and affixing them to a bamboo basket using rice starch for laundry. We cover it with two layers, allowing time to dry in between.

Oda-san shows us her ikanbari

Oda-san shows us her ikanbari

 

Ink painting

Ink painting

Shima-chan is a good teacher. Here she demonstrates using the gansai paints. DebShima 020 We need to let the baskets dry so Shima-chan let Debbie try e-tegami painting with ink and brush and using gansai water colors. This is Debbie’s first painting! DebShima 027     Another friend has offered to put a kimono on Debbie and we are very excited about this! Debbie is a quilter and loves textiles and fabrics. She is intensely interested in Japanese woven fabric and silk. In Kyoto we visited the Nishijin Textile Center to see the fabrics and how they weave intricate designs and gold thread into the nishijin-ori silk.

Nishijin Textile Center in Kyoto

Nishijin Textile Center in Kyoto

Raw Silk spun by silk worms

Raw Silk spun by silk worms

Loom for making nishijin-ori

Loom for making nishijin-ori

 

Kimono Fashion Show at Nishijin Textile Center

Kimono Fashion Show at Nishijin Textile Center

Playing Dress-up The second week started with Debbie having the chance to wear a kimono. Beginning with the undergarments, Chidori-san dressed Deb in a pale white and silver silk summer kimono with a dark blue obi sash.

Debbie in a summer silk kimono

Debbie in a summer silk kimono

Amazing to see all the layers and ties that go into putting on  a kimono. This summer kimono looks lovely on Debbie, don’t you agree?

By the garden

By the garden

Thank you, Chidori-san!!

Thank you, Chidori-san!!

 

Exquisite silk kimono with 20 cranes!

Exquisite silk kimono with 20 cranes!

I want to say a special thank you to Chidori-san who put it on her. And thank you for showing us your precious crane kimono!

This has been a very satisfying and amazing week. I can’t believe that we packed all these activities in to just one week! It has really been an intensive tour of Japanese culture!

On Wednesday, Debbie will finish her ikanbari basket so watch this space for an update!!

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Risa
    May 19, 2014 @ 05:40:58

    This was a fun post! I really enjoyed reading it and kept thinking “lucky Debbie!” Maybe someday I’ll get to visit Japan too and see this side of it. Much of this is familiar to me ’cause I used to watch a lot of anime and read quite a bit of manga… hehehe…

    Am looking forward to seeing Debbie’s ikanbari! :)…. btw, that was a very pretty painting by her for a first try. Pretty flower arrangement too! She’s obviously naturally artistic…. 😀

    Reply

  2. leahmama1
    May 19, 2014 @ 07:23:26

    Thanks Risa! Debbie will be happy to hear that! Today she went to eat lunch with my students so I hope they can communicate in English! I hope you visit Japan some day!! What was your favorite manga/anime?

    Reply

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