Journey in Japan Part 47: Round, round, get around, I get around
This weekenda neighborhood event is happening called A-Round, brief for, Asakusa Around. Sixty-nine different stalls, cafsand galleries have signed up for the event. I am lucky sufficient to have been invited along for a tiny walking excursion, hosted by my pal, local resident, as well as Japan specialist, Gomez. We assemble at noontime, and also a team of 5, including me, set off walking to check out some of the abundant Asakusa history, as well as to get a feel for some old Japanese Society.
We stray the backstreets stashed behind Sens-ji Holy place; an area somewhat off the beaten track, as well as not generally gone to by visitors. Gomez takes us to his favorite Karaoke bar, This bar remains open till 7 am, I typically go to below, he informsus. We walk through an area that made use of to be heavily occupied by geisha several years ago and is now residence to the geisha headquarters. Gomeztells us, If you hang around this location during the night, you may even see a genuine geisha!
Our first actual stop of the excursion is a tiny leather shop. Hanging outside are serpent skins, sea lion furs, crocodile leather, as well as boxes of leather scraps for sale; at really inexpensive. Thisshop, like the others taking part in the occasion, has a blue banner outside with words A-Round. All stores participating present this sign, as well as are each having an open day of types; a nice means to enhance trade and also increase tourist.
Inside we arewelcomed humbly, enabled to take pictures, as well as even offered the chance to try a couple of points hands on. On the ceiling of the store hangs a massive black leather crocodile skin. The storekeeper tells us that its the biggest solitary piece of leather in Japan; 7 meters long. The store also breed their own crocodiles especially for natural leather manufacturing.
The next stop is a caf called, Ameshin. The store has been open a little over a year as well as is run by musician and also artisan, Shinri Tezuka. Thecaf is all about sweet. Sweet flavoured beverages are offered, as well as the sizable area is nicely enhanced with candy in the shape of pets.
It ends up that the owner makes these wonderful fish himself, as well as has actually just recently acquired popularity by showcasing his craftmanship at a fish tank in Nihombashi. Today, just for us, he will make a fish from the ground up.
He begins by rolling a sphere of soft hot candy in the palms of his hands, prior to creating it into a harsh overview of akingyo (fish). Next, using only his hands as well as a set of scissors, Tezuka trims the sweet to develop the shape of the fin. As he versions the pleasant, his strong focus makes him appear like hes in a trancelike state.
This traditional Japanese process is done at some speed. After just a couple of minutes, the external part of the candy has begun to set, and also soon it will be impossible to form it any type of better. He ends up the kingyo off by paining it with anatural pigment, before adding eyes to end up. It is a gorgeous kingyo made from sweet. It beams as though it is alive.
Next, we head down a road that as soon as wasa small stream, currently completely dried up. The stream used to stream from the Sumida River, and run along the area behind Sens-ji Holy place, as well as beyond, toward the Yoshiwara red light district. Gomez tells us, Lots of seafarers would certainly tell their wives that they were going by boat to the temple to pray, instead, they would certainly proceed down this stream, as well as into Yoshiwara.
We head to the studio of a famous Japanese bag manufacturer, Kichizo Yoshida. Founded in 1935, the business is known for huge brand names like Porter.I discover that Yoshida died twenty years back. Obviously, he continued to make bags right up until the day he died. Today his legacy survives, and the birth place of his bags has been changed into a modern-day looking gallery, compared by the original devices and also machinery he utilized when he initially started out. We fulfill his sis, that is taking care of business. She lets us take some photos and also offers us a possibility to do some sewing. Heart and also Spirit right into every stitch, she says.
Next off, Gomez wishes to reveal us two really differentplaces. The first one is a shrine full of cats.
Many shrinesin Japan represent something; probably a various god or some superstitious notion. This one stands for the consistency of marriage, by felines. Maneki Neko (ton of money pet cats) are popular across the world, but they stemmed right here in Tait-ku, atImado Temple.
The shrine is family members run, as well as many generations earlier, they made a living from making fox sculptures from the abundant clay of the Sumida River. The household likewise had a pet feline. Eventually they liked a change from the usual foxes and also made a decision to make clay felines, designed in the form of their pet dog. These felines are what are recognized today as ton of money pet cats, as well as are seen outside lots of restaurants, and in some small companies, typically representing a successful future.
The feline with the black place, I am told, is male. Nowadays, people visit this shrineto wish for success in marital relationship. Couples go to below before they are wed, as well as acquire a circular item of wood with 2 ton of money cats etched on one side. They compose a message on the back as well as connect it to a tree.
After getting married, the couples return as well as affix a second wooden plate to the original, to secure the marriage as well as obtain good luck. There are numerous trees therefore numerous wooden messages hanging here, that I can only presume that every males and female in Tokyo have seen this temple, as well as is consequently currently married.
After the temple, we check out Matsuchiyama Shten; a fourteen hundred-year-old Buddhist temple that rests on top of a large hillside. The temple is sohigh upthat iteven boasts its very own wire vehicle to help individuals reach the top. The hill notoriously showed up overnight, as if by magic; after that, a significant golden dragon showed up from paradise and also arrived at the hill. This occasion is somehow connected to a specific root veggie; the radish.
Usually, at a holy place, a little donation of coins is gratefully accepted, nonetheless, herethey just approve donations of radish. The people inside the temple are venerating radishes. You can even purchase radishes below at a little stall near the entryway for500 each; simply in situation you left yours in the grocery store. I uncover that the radish is asymbol of health, family members consistency, as well as divine golden dragons.
Next off, we wander back into Asakusa, to Hatch; a little coffee shopwith 4 floorings of vacant gallery room above, and also a beautiful roof balcony. The gallery was expected to be loaded with paintings, but the proprietor got intoxicated as well as neglected to prepare. Instead of acquiring a coffeeand appreciating the art work, we leave, somewhat disappointed.
Our last stop of the scenic tour is by the Sumida River, in a large exhibition space close to the Azuma Bridge. Inside there are many small stands, each offering various leather items. The one store that intrigues me the most, is a store selling leather art work. The designer tells usthatone piece of work takes three months to complete. All hand engraved using a blowpipe, he sits, melting information right into leather.
The item over illustrates theSanja Matsuri; an annual celebration kept in Asakusa. His artcomes with an expensive 300000 tag. Heck be waiting till the cows come home to get that sort of money
The musician tells us he wishes to spread out the pleasure of Japan to the remainder of the world. He is marketing some wonderful natural leather iPhone cases for12000; the information is fascinating, and also they would certainly make an excellentsouvenir. He takes a picture of our team, plainly humbled that we put in the time to talk to him.After that, the excursion wraps up, and we each go our separate means.
On my way house, I head with the location that we had strolled formerly today. Ageisha in full make-up darts past me; her wooden footwear clanking on the difficult pavement. I am stunned. This is in fact the first time I have ever before seen a practicing geisha freely wandering around; other times I have actually seen them, they have actually become part of an event or exhibit. It appears that Gomez was right concerning this location.
After a few short mins, I hear the audio of more wooden footwear on concrete and discover that a second geisha is walking down the street. She moves elegantly yet really quickly, and although I takea fair couple of pictures, for some reason, they all turn out appearing like a blur. Secs after identifying her, she has actually drifted away like an amazing ghost.
Review the next part of my Trip in Japan, where I experience the happiness of live Halloween songs, appreciate a beautiful sunset, and meet a sumo wrestler with a cravings for tequila, byclicking here.
Or additionally, go here to start the trip fromcomponent one.