Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Spinning around in Shigaraki

Catching up a bit from Golden Week....

After we visited the ninja village last Monday, we took a train to Shigaraki village, home of Shigaraki-yaki. (That is, pottery.) The town is rather rural.

We stayed in a basic ryokan that night, and had a nice dinner served in all different pieces of Shigaraki yaki.

Our ryokan had two beds in one room, and three futons in the adjoining tatami room. Tatami rooms are incredibly convenient for fitting extra people in a room!

The next day, we wandered around the stores and viewed the displays of Tanuki-san you can buy. They apparently make a lot of Tanuki in this town. It is a ceramic statue of a raccoon thing that lots of stores in Kyoto display outside the door. People think Tanuki are so cute. In my opinion, the jury is still out on that.

Anyway, most of the boy Tanuki have a large.....let's just say, bulge. (This being a family blog) Study the photos; you'll see what I mean.

I should mention that inside the stores are much more beautiful pieces, created by local artists in that rustic Japanese style with thick glazes and simple shapes. Who knows? Some of you helpful people might even get to see some in person.
We made our way over to a place where you can play with clay. The teacher made it look sooooo easy.

The boys had a great time spinning clay for two hours. They spun a lot of pots.

One of us was very upset that he couldn't take home every single pot he made. However, at the end they each picked one, and the store will fire it, glaze it, and send it to us (unless it cracks in the process).

Alek decided he'd rather do free-form.
He started out making a hedgehog, but decided it was turning into a platypus. So, that's what he made. It has a hole in the top to hold stuff.

Alek wins the "cutest kid in an apron" award from Mommy.
All the clay comes from the land around Shigaraki. Hugo and Max burned through about five of those cylinders, each.

We got home Tuesday night. Later that week, it was Children's day. You might recall the koi nobori (carp kites) from the ninja village. My boys each got to dye one of their own at school, and we hung them outside our house on Children's day.
Here are some more hanging in a local park. They look cool, don't they? Bringing you some classic Japanese culture here, folks!

1 comment:

  1. children's day!!! how sweet is that?

    the platypus is very unique. i hope it doesn't crack....