Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Postcard from Japan: Going to Azabu-Juban, Part Two - Friday, November 4, 2016

Blue and White, owned by Amy Katoh, features
all handmade mostly traditional Japanese fabrics,
folk arts, and ceramics in blue and white and
other colors.  
So we're out in the sunlight and onto a big main street with lots of traffic, people, and big buildings.  Her directions say to go straight across the street and continue for two lights and their on the far corner.  I find it and I'm so happy that after all the up and down and around, I'm actually at the store.  She had suggested 2-ish to arrive but it's more like 3-ish.  Her assistant, Hayaishi-san, says that Amy is off having her hair done and will return shortly.  The store is in a part of Roppongi where all the embassies are located so it's a fairly wealthy area.  More foreigners do visit and buy at the store since they are more intrigued with things Japanese than the Japanese are.  This link to her store website will add to your enjoyment:  https://blueandwhitetokyo.com

The store is intriguing.  It's only the one straight path from the front door to the back with fascinating items on both sides and above.

Everywhere you look there are fabrics in traditional and innovative patterns, papers, cards, toys, calendars, books, ceramics, scarves and more.

I'm having a difficult time deciding what I should buy as everything I see I want.  It's near the end of my trip and I've already packed 3 boxes to send home...

I get to talk with Amy as she talks to an Australian woman, Jan Powell, who is ushering a group of Australian women around Tokyo.  I'd seen them at one of the elevators as I was finding my way up to the light.  Now I see them again.  It's a small world.

Amy Katoh
Amy has lived in Japan for 41 years, is married to a Japanese man and has 4 grown children, two in New York and two who live in Japan.  I'm hoping I can stay in touch with Amy.  We have a wonderful time talking and sharing experiences.  I've also made a new friend in Jan Powell who invites me to visit her in Sydney, Australia--- maybe another adventure in another year.  Hayashi-san, Amy's assistant adds to the elegant and Nippon aura of the store and what it stands for.  Ms. Hayashi actually hugs me and give me a kiss on the cheek as we say goodbye.  She has a friend who comes in before I leave who's bringing flowers, some very odd shaped but lovely little orchids.

It's late afternoon and I'm return to Mama-san's as everyone else is returning home.  So, it's back down the entrance to the subway following all those ups and downs I followed before in reverse.  (Hayashi-san's friend who came into the shop before I left is starting down one of the escalators as I'm coming up.  We see each other and recognize that we've just met and talk again.  How wonderful it is to see the same person a few minutes later in such a huge city.  It's gratifying.)  It doesn't seem to take as long as it did to get here.  I even take a different way home.

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