Saturday, October 29, 2016

Postcard from Japan: Tuesday, October 25, 2016, Part Three

Two of Hara Akiko's dolls
In the afternoon, Akiko-san decides we should go to her house in Iwata which is about an hour's drive into the countryside.  Her hour of driving is at the speed limit, so it's a leisurely drive.

Her Iwata house is from her former marriage and acts as a vacation house or a "summer" cottage.  This is the house where I visited her last time in 2005 so it is very familiar to me, even my "old" bedroom upstairs with a real Western bed (and Western toilets--- more on those later).

Although it's a large town, Akiko-san found that living in the city has been better for her creativity and selling her work.  No one ever came to her shows in Iwata because there were so few people interested in her work.

I asked if we could go out and take a walk.  I'd been sitting and riding in cars a great deal more than I had expected and walking felt so good.  It was also a gorgeous warm day.

Mitsuke Jinja
Her steps down the streets led us to the local Buddhist temple, Mitsuke Jinja.

Entrance sign to the Azalea Garden

Some bushes are reblooming in late October.

A gnarled tree trunk in the temple compound.
Because we're coming to the temple from the backside, we go into the azalea (tsutsuji) garden first.  This is huge with solid 6' tall azalea bushes planted along  meandering paths dense with foliage.  Some of the bushes are actually having a second blooming even though it's late October.

As walk up to the temple, there are large red stands holding hundreds of small wooden tablets, called gankake, on which people have written wishes and prayers.  These are purchased from the temple and then hung on the racks.

Bull statues stand at each side of the front.  A pet cemetery was built to house the cremains of locals' pets.

This small building houses the remains of
locals' cremated pets.
The front of the temple is open to visitors who walk through the compound and stop to pray.

Red torii signify the entrance to a temple.
We've now walked from the back of the temple compound through it to the front.  A little backwards but we continue out the front and follow a narrow road that leads around the side and back up to almost where we started, and on the way back to Akiko's house.

The view of the old houses, especially those with the old slate roofs is impressive, especially to those from the city where most homes use new tiles.

I am enthralled with the moss that clings to the edge of the old stone waste ditches along this road.  The ferns hanging from the embankment inspire me.  I'm hoping someday to use these visual textures to transfer images to fabric.

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