Thursday, July 14, 2005

A Day of Crafts - Part 1 -

-- My one day trip to a town called Ino on Jul. 14 --

Ino is a quiet small town which is famous for the production of Tosa Washi (Japanese paper produced in Kochi). In its mountainous part close to the Niyodo river, there is a small village called "Tosa Washi Village," nicknamed “Kuraudo,” and, for some reason, spelled “cour aux dons” in French at the entrance of the village.
Their ad on the net says this French translates as “courtyard of talent” or something (correct me!). Seems like they wanted a name related to “Kura (traditional store houses)” reserved in this area and also somewhat associated with a Japanese word for “skilled craftsmen” as well as the word "crowd" in English, and wanted to make the name look unique in French spelling.
"Kuraudo" is a sort of weekend-resort with accommodation facility and open-air bath where tourists can experience making local traditional handcrafts, and even canoeing!!

There are good variety of craft-making that you can experience there for different prices. The first thing I tried was making eight Washi (Japanese paper) postcards, which was an apx. 40 minutes process and cost 400 yen for plain ones, 600 yen if used leaves/flowers for decoration, no reservation necessary unless you are a group of more than 20 people.

The easiest way to get to the paper workshop is to enter the restaurant-like looking main building and exit the back door.

At the workshop, a Japanese lady took me to big wooden tubs filled with pulp-water mixture, and told me to scoop some of the mixture with the screened wooden frame and shake it back-and-forth, side-by-side, to distribute the mixture evenly in the frame.

Next I was told to turn it over on a sheet of paper and push to release the molded pulp mixture from the frame. Then there came the fun part… The lady told me to pick whatever I like from the leaves and flowers provided on the nearby table to put on the would-be postcards. I didn't want to spend too much time there, so made it as simple as possible, but enjoyed making my own designs with the plants.

When I told the lady that I was done, she told me to push that screened frame onto the would-be postcards again to make a thin layer of pulp on top of the leaves and flowers on the cards. After that process, she took my postcards to a compressor to press the water out of the paper. Then my postcards were taken to the steam-dryer.

She slightly moistened my postcards, placed them on something looked like a big metal tank with a flat top, placed a thin sheet of paper over my postcards and pressed them with a hand roller. According to her, the steam filled in the tank keeps it hot to dry the paper placed on top. The drying took about 30 minutes.

I spent the 30 minutes taking pictures of the souvenirs and filling out the questionnaires they had given me.
The photo on the left is a wedding dress made from Tosa washi paper! On the wall were some pics of a woman wearing the wedding dress outside this building. That dress would definitely require a sunny day for wedding.

Washi for souvenirs

Colorful Tie-dyed Paper

Then the lady came to me and handed me my postcards.

MY postcards!

Yep, my original postcards!
Actually there were a few that didn’t turn out very good, but these three look pretty nice. Not bad as a starter.

How do you like them?
posted by obachan, 7/14/2005 11:09:00 PM


I like them alot..Obachan...:)
Thanks for sharing your little adventure with us. :) 

Posted by MrsT
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 7/17/2005 1:50 PM  

Your life is so enchanting. Weaving, paper making, eating green udon, sipping tea by the river!

I wish you were my neighbor!

Perhaps if I were to start to photodocument my life it would appear very exotic and enchanting to a foreigner too. Wow, look at that mixed-green salad with a sun-dry tomato dressing bought at an eco-friendly supermarket (that's my lunch).

How about it, so this is my weekend: driving to the Washington DC capital, eating Dim Sum, taking Tai-Chi, exercising in the gym in my condo, washing out dirt from my sneakers, being sprayed by the sprinkler, talking to my mom, talking to a colleague about a job, watching TV, cooking a salmon lunch and a hotdog dinner, watching my boyfriend fold laundry I suppose it could be very enchanting too...

OK, maybe not.
But to me, life can be very enchanting even in the ordinary if you look with wonder and appreciation.

Posted by joanna
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 7/18/2005 11:54 AM  
> MrsT --- I’m glad you liked them : )

> Joanna --- Honestly, I envy your weekend so much esp. a boyfriend who folds laundry!! :D
I perfectly agree with you. It’s how you see and take your life, right? And I might post about very non-enchanting part of my life, too, sometimes… such as the heat rash around my neck I got from working in the terribly hot’n humid izakaya kitchen and the smell of the food scraps I have to throw away at the end of the work there… ;P Well, that's my life, with both enchanting and non-enchanting aspects, and I love them both anyway, I guess. 

Posted by obachan
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 7/19/2005 11:06 AM  

No need to be envy of my boyfriend folding laundry. We do laundry separately, and he was folding his OWN socks and underwear. I often times have to clean up after his mess in the kitchen, and his bathroom is yucky. I in fact wish that even if we are married we live separately. Because, there is nothing like a place that is all your own, with your own beloved things, with that precious silence and order, and that when you come home, things are left exactly the way you saw them last.

By the way, I didn't know that it can be so tough working in the izakaya kitchen--I thought they would have nice, fresh, airconditioning. SO SORRY to hear about the humidity and the smell of food garbage. I wish the management would do something to improve the condition of its employees.


Posted by joanna
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 7/21/2005 11:33 AM  
Well, if you had a Japanese boyfriend or husband, you might end up having to fold HIS laundry, too, so I still think you are better off ;) I see what you mean, though.
About our work conditions at the izakaya… Improvement would come for the first time when they have money for that…in year 3,000, maybe ;) Right now I guess their first priority is on making enough money to pay the wholesalers and employees and looks like even that is getting more and more difficult…  

Posted by obachan
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 7/24/2005 9:21 AM  

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