Adventures in Japan: 2019 Trip Part II

My long-awaited (and postponed!) trip to Japan took place this year, and it was simply incredible. The trip consisted of a couple of days of exploring Tokyo and a ten-day workshop at Bryan Whitehead's home and farm in Fujino. I recently shared photos and details from this part of my journey, you can see them here.

As I mentioned in my previous post about this trip, there was so much to take in. Japan is a beautiful country and culture, and the best way to share my experiences there are through the photos I took. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words!

Here's our group of 18 just after we'd arrived, ready and eager for the adventures awaiting us. We started off with two days in Tokyo with Bryan as our guide.

Bryan is Canadian, and has lived in Japan for 30 years where he owns his home and farm. He is fully integrated into Japanese society, respected and well-loved in his home town of Fujino.

Right after our arrival Bryan came to my hotel room with one thousand silk worms that were hatching. They needed to be transferred from a small envelope to a dish where they could eat mulberry leaves.

The second picture shows the silkworms after only two days of eating! They always climb up, so we continued to add mulberry leaves so they could keep climbing and eating.


Bryan took us to an antique kimono and fabric store...

It was a small space but we were all crowded in there finding simply fabulous treasures. Aside from antique kimonos and fabrics, there were antique obis, obi ties, fireman jackets, advertising aprons and all kinds of amazing things for us to look at and buy.

As we walked through the city to our next destination I couldn't help but notice the beautiful details around me. Everything, like the drain cover above and the mosaic mural below, has a gorgeous aesthetic to it. Even the most simple things aren't left plain, everything is decorated beautifully.


The second store we arrived at had even more antique kimonos and fabrics. Bryan explained how some of the fabrics were made and what they were used for, like this stencil-dyed fish design. All of those little dots in the fish, simply amazing.

And this stencil-dyed jacket with a leaf design... beautiful!


Here's another example of something simple made simply beautiful... This is one of the manhole covers in Fujino. The covers always depict something about the area they're in, and in Fujino they were all decorated with these elegant flowers.

Following our ten-day workshop with Bryan, we went into Kyoto. We saw several temples and visited the bamboo forest.

On our second day in Kyoto my roommate Connie and I were picked up at our hotel by Pixie and her assistant. Pixie owns the mill in Japan where my fabrics for Moda are produced and lives in Kyoto. She was kind enough to come take us on a day-long adventure!

We started our day off at a hand maker's craft fair, which included this incredible sacred horse. I'm not sure of the entire story, but he/ she was simply beautiful.

We also went to a shop where we could buy items to make jewelry with when we got home, a store that sells Moda fabrics and a wonderful yarn store (I did buy some yarn!).

Our next adventure brought us to a handmade needle store, and this gentleman is one of the needle-makers. I purchased some needles and pin cushions, and all of the needles in his shop were handmade. Incredible!

And what would travel be without amazing food? After a fabulous tempura lunch and trip to a lovely tea room, we had dinner at a wonderful restaurant.

We got to cook our food in the center of the table! You can see the waiter with boxes with all the vegetables that we'd be cooking in the water in the center of the table that is heated to a boil. We had very thin slices of Kobe beef that we cooked in the water and then dipped into a bowl of sauce. Delicious!

Finally, we ended our adventure with this beautiful scenery. This trip lasted about 17 days, and it was truly a journey of a lifetime. I'm left with memories and experiences that I'll carry with me always, and I can't wait to integrate all that I learned into my work in the coming months and years.

To see where I'll be headed next, you can check out my itinerary here. Want to learn what I was taught in Japan?

Sign up for one of my classes, join me at my studio or invite me to teach for your group!

About Debbie Maddy

I am a quilt designer, fabric designer, author, lecturer and international traveling teacher. I love sewing, quilt making, jewelry making, fabric dyeing, cooking and traveling to teach. I especially like meeting new people ..... Seeing old friends.
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