Sep 1, 2017

Japan travel diary: shibori, noodles and the post office

Day one is done.

Today kicked off with a stunning shibori exhibition at the Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum in Shinjuku. Its a small musuem, but this exhibition was beautiful. Shibori from all over the world, plus display of only Japanese shibori. Sorry... I was not allowed to take any photos inside. Bummer, cuz it was so cool. I did see a lot of fashion students visiting and it was fun to see their reaction as they learned more about how shibori is made.

Next on the agenda... dealing with copies of my new books, lots of  them.

After you've written a book, there is one big job left: distributing it.

First step is to get the book in the hands of all the people who contributed to the research... everyone who gave a significant amount of time... everyone who shared their talent (and images!) with me... and for this book, of course, those individuals are mostly in Japan.

These details may seem totally boring to anyone but me... When the book was finished a few weeks ago, I had several cases of books shipped from the printer directly to Japan. Books are very heavy and very expensive to ship. I don't know how other publishers work, but all of these costs are on me... and it cost $450 for shipping alone (yikes...!). Oh well, the cost of doing business.

My dear friend and lifeline, Akemi Narita, helped me find the closest post office and we labeled the books and schlepped them off. The effecient staff there assured me the books would arrive at their destination the next day! Super effecient - as these are going all over Japan.

Finally, we had a lovely lunch of noodles. The great thing about Japan, is you can pretty much walk in to any restaurant and be guaranteed a good meal. I've always found New York to be the same way. We had some great noodles. Love being back in Japan.

Now  time for a little shopping! The dreamy, high-end department store - Isetan - (in Shinjuku) is hosting a very large handicraft and food/drink exhbition. One of the indigo dyers featured in my new book was there with a display of his beautiful hand-dyed clothing and accessories.

It was so fun to re-connect. We stay in touch through Facebook. By the way --- his FB page is @aizomeya for anyone to wants to follow him.

He spent about 18 months getting ready for this one event! Some items even took longer. He's partnered with local garment designers and they make these lovely, one of a kind clothes - mostly cotton, some linen - and then he dyes them. As I studied each item, he could tell me just how many times he dipped these items to get the incredibly deep indigo hues and intricate designs.

I bought some lovely tops and I'm just in awe of the craftsmanship. When I wear these, it might be only me that recoginizes that these are handmade, indigo dyed shirts made by an artist who has dedicated his life to keeping Japan's textile traditions alive. And that's good enough for me.

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