Art and Artifacts(?)

The very last day of summer, we started out for Shikoku, one of the four largest islands that comprise Japan. I wanted to practice driving on hte Expressway so I drove to Imabari! Then Hiroo took the driver’s seat and we made it to our first destination about 10:00 AM.

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This man has amassed quite a collection of items from the Showa period. (1926~1989) He has everything from movie posters to Kewpie dolls! He spent an hour with us , showing us through the two buildings of fascinating things. Nakanishi-san was a news photographer and still has a small old studio wedged between the two “museums”!

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Paper dolls from 1960s?

We had a great time looking at his collection. I recommend you contact him just to be sure he is there when you g. It is only 300 yen to see the museum.

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From there we went to the nearby “Hibari Shokudo” which is apparently famous for the huge pork cutlet on rice (and cheap!) People were lining up well before opening time and hte couple in front of us said it was their second attempt to be served at the restaurant as last time they couldn’t get in! It was more than we could eat.very good!

Swinging Bridges are Scary

We went on to the famed “kazura-bashi” at Iya in Tokushima prefecture. It was only 30 minutes or so from the Otoyo Showa museum. You must pay to go across and there were many tourists from Japan and abroad. I somehow made it across but it was scary! Beautiful view..my photos don’t do it justice.

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Scary enough!

That night we stayed at a hot springs in Miyoshi. We enjoyed hte breakfast in particular as they served just out of the oven pizza and also amazing French toast made with French bread!

Tobacco Trade in Ikeda

The next town, Ikeda, was a center for drying and curing tobacco in the Edo period. It was then transported down the Yoshino RIver to the city of Tokushima and from there to other areas of Japan. We stumbled on the Tobacco Museum when it was opening at 9:00 AM. A friendly volunteer guide gave us a tour and lots of interesting information.

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Hiroo tries smoking a kiseru tobacco pipe at the Tobacco Museum, Ikeda-cho

As we were leaving, we happened to meet an older woman who was sweeping the road in front of her shop. A retired high school home ec teacher, she is in her 80s but very active. We went inside her “shop” and visited with her. It seems she organizes all kinds of events, makes her own posters and produces it all. Recently she put on a “chindon-ya” parade where everyone enjoyed dressing in period costumes!

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We took the local highway 192 to our next stop, Daibosatsutoge Cafe” where Shima Rikita san has been continually adding to his enormous brick structure began in 1964. His son and wife operate a cafe in part of the area, but we were especially lucky to get a two hour tour and talk with this artist in his studio.

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Shima Rikita, artist and craftsman

 

 

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When he couldn’t get bricks at a reasonable price, he built a brick-kiln and kept going! Now he works in many mediums, carving wood, ceramics and furniture building. Probably close to 85, he still executes new ideas as soon as he gets them, now finishing up his chairs carved to represent the 47 prefectures. I definitely want to go back for his exhibition!

Best-ever inn By the Sea, Kaiyo-cho

We were so fortunate to stay at Osa inn and for a very reasonable price. Our hosts, the Hayashi’s came back to her home and re-opened this inn after retiring. She is an amazing cook! Everyone gave the food top rating and that is why I chose it..and I wasn’t disappointed. This is the best place i have ever stayed in Japan!!

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They talked about ayu fishing!

And after breakfast, she served her special Creme Brulee and fruit and her husband ground fresh coffee for us! We really enjoyed the warm atmosphere and the food!

On to Kochi..

On the last leg of our journey, we headed for Kochi city where I saw the “Jiyu Minken Undo” museum. But what we enjoyed most was Makino Tomitaro Botanical Gardens!

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Makino Tomitaro in his study (recreation)

 

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Tomitaro as a young man

He was a botanist and did research on plants, the first person to produce a definitive  encyclopedia of Japanese plants. His original sketches are on display and, fortunately for me, the museum of his life and achievements had English explanations which were well done!!

Home Again

Stopping by the Kochi Castle and the nearby Museum of Literary Arts, we finally started for home. We saw so many things and met creative people who all follow their dreams. I am inspired to find a new project now! We had a wonderful time! I love Tokushima and the people there are really friendly!

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Friendly Rika san at Iya Onsen

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Japanese at Heart
    Sep 24, 2016 @ 13:05:51

    Leahmama – I have been wanting to tell you for a long time how much I enjoy your posts. I lived in Japan – Hokkaido – for one year when I was 3 years old MANY years ago. We traveled only a little bit but I remember so much of the beauty of the architecture, fabrics, gardens – and the colors. It is amazing how much I remember but I guess it was just so beautiful to me because I lived a pretty simple life before and after. Your posts mean a lot to me and every time I see one, I read it all and it reminds me. I always hoped I would get back but may be too old to go now. There are so many things to see in Japan – I think it’s perhaps a more beautiful place than any other in the world. I love reading about the people you meet in the museums, restaurants and shops You are so full of life. Keep it up!

    Reply

  2. leahmama1
    Sep 24, 2016 @ 21:22:19

    What a lovely message! I didn’t think anyone really read my blog and originally started writing so my kids( who all live in the U.S.,) could see photos of what I’m doing. Hokkaido must have been cold. I only went there once and it was summer.It is amazing that you remember what you saw when you wer only 3 or 4! I hope you can come to Japan again. We have room for you to stay! I know how you feel as I am 67 and taking a 14 hour flight to vist my kids is a daunting thought! I’m glad you mentioned the people as that is what thrills me most! Seeing ordinary people and talking with them, especially older people who tell many fascinating stories. Thanks again. You made my day!

    Reply

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