Monday, 18 November 2013

Farewell Japan

Oh well last night in Japan, what a fun packed 8 days, had by me, not sure about DH, although he did enjoy the sightseeing, food and Japan in general, not my shopping though. The comment made was, if he see's another Yuzawaya store, he will slit his wrists, LOL. All in all our experience of Japan was a very pleasant one, food was great, freshly cooked and efficient service, the Japanese do try to  accomadate the English  and have menu's written in english, but we did eat at some out of the way places, pointing to a picture on the menu also worked well. The pointing method seem to work and we have not been disappointed so far with our choices. In Japan they still have smoking areas in restaurants. Fashion is interesting, the Japanese are very well dressed, the young girls wear shorts with stockings and boots, temperature is dropping and will soon be winter, not sure if the shorts will be worn in winter or not. Hubby was hard pressed to find TV channels with English subtitles, so he spent the time watching samurai movies in Japanese. The trains are amazing and are always on time and they come every few minutes, so we have not had to wait long for a train, a little different with the buses, where you may wait anything up to a hour. Taxi's are also plentiful, the cab drivers have white gloves on, seats are covered in white lace and the doors are automatic, so no need to open the door. do not put your luggage on the seat!!!  The toilets are automatic, music, shower, bidet and an automatic flush, a person could get used to this. Japan is a shoppers delight, anything and everything is for sale. Fabric, craft items, needles and scissors are half of what we would pay in Australia, this was an added bonus for this trip, my mission was to buy as much fabric and accessories that took my eye. next trip to Japan is hopefully with family and mainly sightseeing? Jan 2015 is booked in for the Tokyo quilt show.

Some highlights of our trip, Golden pavilion in Kyoto.

Japanese dress, kimono,s/ culture.

Japanese woman sweeping leaves at the Golden Pavillion.

Autumn, colourful leaves.

The Yokohama  quilt show.

Well maintained gardens, with flat rocks so people can sit and mediate.

Window displays decorated for Xmas, love how they use unusual critters, heaps of Xmas trees and displays all over Japan to celebrate Xmas.

Fabric town, chose to visit on a Sunday, will journey back to Nippori today as we need to fill in a few hours.

The Japanese are so organised! see the yellow line! these are everywhere, footpaths! escalators and train stations! you walk to the left of these.
Mac delivery bikes, yes that is right, mcdonalds delivers in Japan.
Typical Japanese street, lots of restaurants and good photos to point to!
We sampled the local speciality "ramen" in kamata Tokyo 
Prepackaged food for sale in beautifully decorated box's, we did not sample any of these but have been told they are fresh and flavoursome.
Last but not least, my little patient Japanese man who cut me, 20 pieces of fabric in the kamata Yuzawaya store! farewell Japan it has been an experience! one that I will repeat at a later date.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Yokohama and onto Shinjuku and Nippori, fabric Town.

We departed this am for Shinjku after spending two days in Yokohama, six hours at the quilt show on Friday and then Saturday we ventured into the Bay Alexander area to visit another Yuzawaya store and the shops in this area. I am just loving the exploration of these stores and what they have to offer. The fabric selection is different in each store. Japan in itself is a shoppers paradise, anything you want or need is there for the asking. I joined the Yuzawaya store club and you get 20% of the next purchase. What is interesting is that when the fabric is discounted, it is cheaper to buy the metre than 1/2 metre, because you have to pay the full price not the sale price, subsequently I have bought metre lots. The fabric averages about $10 metre, when on sale it can be from $3.80 to $7.80, hard to resist. A lot of the fabric on sale is also Yuwa.
On arrival to Shinjuku, we walked to our hotel, this time being familiar with the area, was not difficult. We could not book into the hotel until 3 pm, so we left our bags and walked back to the station to catch the train to the Nippori district. This is where fabric town is located, being a Sunday was not a good day to visit as most shops were closed, I did manage to buy some very soft leather and patchwork fabric, so all in all was not a wasted trip. We then located a restaurant, had a great meal and then caught the train back to Shinjuku, a nice Sunday outing in Tokyo. I will share with you some of my purchases, I do feel that I have helped the Japanese economy.
The view from our room in Yokohama, 36 floors up.
Believe it or not, you can see Mt Fuji in the distance.
The trains that we have been travelling on, for long distances, very fast, 2 1/2 hrs to go 480 KM's.
Lots of bargains in fabric.
Isn't this fabric devine, a bit pricey but well worth the money.
 These are the liberty fabrics that I purchased.

The little swatch of fabrics is actually a collection of Lynette Anderson's fabric, which the Yuzawaya stores stock. Some sashiko design and cotton. Clover scissors.
Just loved the selection of  linen, cotton and satin bias as well, paper apple cores and some buttons to cover with the liberty fabric that I bought. Great fun has been had by me, maybe not hubby, but he has been a great sport with my shopping, hugs and kisses DH.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Yokohama Quilt show

Left Kyoto after 2 days and had to make the decision to stay or leave early as on this day the 15 th November was a flea market, which is on once a month, or to travel to Yokohama for the quilt show. On awaking Friday morning, it was raining, decision made, no flea market for me. We caught the 0930hrs train to Shin Yokohama, arrived at 12md and walked to the hotel, only a 10 min walk as you could see the hotel from the train station. Check in was at 2 pm, so we decided to go to the quilt show. Asked how to get there...thought we were close, (as I asked the travel agent to place us in a hotel near the quilt show), was told.. a 45 min ride by cab, best way to get there was by train, 2 trains and 6 stops later, the train and stopped at Queens Square. Then we had to find the exhibition building in the rain, 15 mins later, we arrived at 1.30 pm. The show was so crowded, this was no hardship as the Japanese are very polite and welcoming. I managed to get some photo's, but the ones that were absolute works of art were not allowed to be photographed. There were over 200 quilts on display and the grand prize money was 1.3000.000 yen ($130,000), for the life of me I could not find the winner. There were  two mini quilts which had a gold and silver ribbon on  them, but could not find the grand prize winner. There were quilts on display from Japanese artists, which were three dimensional and works of art in themselves, awe inspiring, like collages. English is very limited and difficult to get your meaning across, but hand gestures work well and with the help of calculators, money was not an issue. I managed to spend about $200, lots of bargains with fabric and accessories. Would have loved to buy the kits for the bags etc, but all the instructions were in Japanese. I could not resist buying a kit from Rieko Kato's shop. The kit and pattern was  for bag for my pens and sewing tools. The pattern is in muted country colours and has little houses on the front. I felt that I could follow the picture, to make the bag. Not expensive for the kit, only $18.90.
All in all we spent 6 hours at the show, as it did not close until 6pm, DH was well and truly over it but as a true dedicated partner he stuck it out, with just a few comments, kept some of the Japanese women amused. also ran into some aussie's, who we had a great chat with. 
Today Saturday I felt that I could not face the train trip or the crowds, so opted to have a quite day, we caught the train into the bay Alexandra area of Yokohama and visited another Yuzawaya store! stocked up on more goods? it costs 500 yen ($5) to join, but with the savings and discounts I saved that and more.

DH, in the entrance to the quilt show, the two quilts displayed are enormous, great works of art.
Some of the workshops being run.
Rieko Kato's stall, lots of great patterns and quilts for sale, all in Japanese.

Some of the quilts displayed and allowed to be photographed

Crazy patchwork.

Just loved this simplistic Japanese quilt.

A close up of the quilting.

This miniature had a gold ribbon, three dimensional poppies.
This white cloth miniature had a silver ribbon.

DH liked these two the best.

This was my favourite, some close up with the use of toile.

Japanese quilt, all the black lettering was appliqued

Baltimores even got a look in.
A miniature quilt challenge of 100 small baskets.
Some close up's of the baskets.

Bags on display

Covered buttons to make a Christmas tree.

Hand embroided red work miniature.

The one below is for Chris Jurd, look familiar!
I hope that you have enjoyed the eye candy, whilst sitting doing this blog we had an earthquake, everyone ran for the doors, the building we are in has two circular towers and there are warnings that the building will sway in strong winds and what to do in an earthquake. I felt the earth tremor under my seat, as we are in the lobby, blogging, whilst everyone ran outside to see what had happened. DH also made the comment he does't know what's worse, watching me blog or shop!.