Japan II

Its been some time since our last post and much has happened since June. With that said, I’ve been wanting to share a bit more about our Japan experience and a few more images along the way.

To pick up around where we left off, Haley and I did a lot of train travel, along with even more walking. Something I didn’t share in the first Japan post is that Haley was 5 five months pregnant on this trip, which didn’t at all stop her from logging 5-8 miles a day, walking through each town we visited. So many things to take in on these walks, great people watching, chance stops into cafes that seats 6 people to sip coffee, and just grabbing fun images like the one below. A sweet old patina’d kettle on someones door step.


One of our most memorable days also came on one of our walks through a small mountain town called Yamanouchi, literally at the end of the train tracks. It’s a small ski town, but in the middle of June we were the only ones at the train station and seemed to have the town to ourselves.


As Haley and I were walking through the streets of a neighborhood, nothing happening except footsteps and listening to the stream along side the road, that I’m assuming was the last of the melting snow, we saw this older man turning wood bowls through his front window.


He must have heard my camera start clicking and immediately invited us in. He greeted us with friendly bow and smile as the three of us exchanged hellos. I gestured to my camera to see if he would continue working so I could take some more photos, he was more than happy to.

His studio was about 150 square feet, filled with half turned bowl blanks and to my surprise, a foot powered lathe that looks like it has been around for generations and although very used, still in perfect working order.


As we looked through his completed bowls I must have picked up one that is used for holding macha powder (a finely ground green tea). He stopped what he was doing and walked over, gesturing to drinking a cup of tea. Haley and I both assumed he was asking if we drank tea, so we just smiled and shook our heads yes. Apparently, we said yes to his offer for a cup of tea. One of the things that stood out to Haley and I was the generosity of their culture. This one experience was the highlight of our trip. I put my self in his shoes and when people drop into my studio…well lets just say my first thought isn’t tea, it’s usually how much time are they going to take away from my work and the plan I have my day. I’m not proud of that and know most if it is a product of our fast pace culture and competitive nature in we’ve created in America, which can all be good things, but can easily become a selfish endeavor. So yes, I’ve been working not that…

We sat down and enjoyed our teas together, tried to communicate as much as we could, all the while just soaking in the moment of this strangers generosity to stop his day and share some life together. I showed him pictures of my studio trying to convey I was woodworker too, we exchanged emails and after about an hour, finished our teas and got on our way. The time he spent with us is something Haley and I still talk about, it might seem normal to a lot of folks but hit me the most because it is something that I need to work on in my life.