These pictures are in Tokyo and Kyoto. I unfortunately wasn't the photographer of these two top pictures. When I lived in Korea I went to Japan a few times and I think it's beautiful, but I didn't get to go to the places that I wanted to. I was in Fukuoka three times for visa renewals, but that wasn't so bad. It's not really a touristy place so I got to see some real, small town, every day village life. The first time I was there, I saw a bunch of men running through the streets wearing the sumo wrestling underpants (I don't know the real name). They were carrying huge paper scultures and taking them to the nearby temples. I had forgotten my camera on that trip. It was quite a site, I just stood in the street watching all these half naked men running by and I couldn't help but wish my MOM was there with me. Ha! Fukuoka is really quite lovely, each time I was there I wandered into a new part of town and discovered new places. Once I was there while the cherry blossoms were blooming and I found this beautiful park with a lake and Koi fish. The sun was warm, the sea air was fresh, and I just walked and walked. I found a used book store and bought Kabuki magazines and Geisha book marks and beautiful paper. The second time I went to Fukuoka, I was on vacation with two of my friends. We found a museum that showcased artistic renditions of Japanese Monster Lore -scary stuff- which inspired a popular cartoon about a demon who's father was his eyeball and it would pop out of his head to help him from time to time. We went to a Buddhist Temple and offered incense and said a prayer and of course went shopping. We went to a famous noodle house where you had to sit in solitary booths and eat by yourself, even though we all went together. This time I had my camera. I took this picture secretly under my curtain. I couldn't see who gave me my noodles. Japanese culture was very different then Korea's. I'm not going to point out how many differences there are, but let's just say, when I needed to have some privacy, Japan provided it.
|There is a trough running down the middle for the noodle preparers to stand and anonymously feed you|
While there I bought a beautiful silk Kimono, one of my dreams is to have traditional dress from the various places I visit, so one down about a million to go. My friends and I played dress up in our hotel room. I'm looking out the window at Hakata Train Station. I'm not wearing my Kimono properly, but my nose looks wonderful doesn't it? Anywho, one of my next goals is to figure out how to tie an Obi.
So one of the coolest things was seeing the huge paper sculptures up close. They were still on display at different sites around town. The Japanese make such beautiful paper and paper crafts. I bought as much paper as I could afford, which really wasn't much but it was enough cause I had no idea what I was going to do with it. I just knew I wanted some.
|Notice the intricate patterns, so pretty|
|Close up with more detail|
There are so many different Japanese crafts to try out (like the intricate paper dolls called Washi Ningyo) which I'd like to try someday. I was wondering what to do with my newly bought paper and I remembered the hair ornaments worn by Geisha called Tsumami Kanzashi. These are traditionally made of silk and rice paste, but I decided my paper would work. So I started experimenting. This head piece is really elaborate, but for everyday wear, by some one not of the Flower and Willow World, totally impractical. So beautiful though, and I wanted to capture the same feel without being super ecentric.
|This piece was made by Kuniko Kanawa ,found on Etsy|
Japan is a place I will definately go back to. I wanted to go as I was leaving Korea, but a month before I was scheduled to leave the Tsunami hit. Many of my friends said that I should have gone because the Airplane tickets were so cheap, but I didn't feel right about being a tourist in a mourning country. It's a beautiful place and it truly inspires me. Someday I will go to Kyoto, I'll go in the Spring time when the blossoms are out. Yes I definately will.