15 hours ago
Tuesday, 17 January 2017
We went to Setagaya Boroichi on the second day this year, with our friends from Yuza Sashiko and Reiko's sister and brother in law.
There are many different stalls at the boroichi, not only antiques and 'junk' stalls, but many stalls selling plants and food.
There were a lot of kokeshi dolls for sale this year.
We think there were about twenty five kimono stalls in total. However, there wasn't much that really grabbed my attention in terms of fabrics this time.
There were some interesting 'kimono reform' stalls.
We liked this cross between tanuki and daruma below, but he was too big to bring home.
There were many stalls selling carpentry tools, whetstones and other equipment.
More 'kimono reformu'.
We spotted only a few people wearing kimono among the shoppers.
It was fun, but the days of finding nice kimono for low prices probably went by ten or twenty years ago!
Monday, 16 January 2017
On Sunday, we had another adventure, traveling by bus and train to Akie Ginza's sashiko centre at Hinohara village, west of Tokyo. I think quite a few textile tours go there, but getting there without a tour bus is quite a trip.
From Tokyo, we took the train to Musashiitsukaichi where we changed to the bus for the last part of the journey. The bus took almost an hour and is quite infrequent, so you need to plan this trip very well. We went with Reiko Domon, Chie Ikeda and Akie Sakuraba from Yuza Sashiko, with Reiko's sister and her brother in law.
Here is the current bus timetable - the red times refer to Sundays.
Outside Musashiitsukaichi station, by the bus stop.
We got off the bus at Nango and walked up to the house.
The bus stop.
After the bend, we turned right up a narrow country lane.
This is Akie Ginza's house. The location is very rural and beautiful.
The house is a traditional Japanese farmhouse. We entered through the genkan, where there was a booth like in a museum.
Two flights of stairs reached up to her main gallery.
The rooms are full of Akie Ginza's amazing sashiko works. They are bold, strong designs, which reveal her origins as a fine artist.
Ginza-sensei uses sashiko threads in an interesting way, doubling threads or using different thicknesses to create special effects. She also used a lot of colour in her work.
She has also designed many items of clothing, displayed in other galleries.
The whole house is full of her creations.
We watched an interesting video about her life and work. Ginza-sensei started as a fine artist but later changed to being a textile artist.
She already had my book, which was a big honour for me! I have one of her books at home, but there were some others available in her shop, so I had to get another one as a reminder of our trip.
You can also buy her exclusive sashiko materials in the shop.
We walked back to the village together. It was so cold!