Saturday, August 17, 2013

Reflections but not in Water

Wandering idly through my thoughts this morning, wondering what to write, I have decided to type out an old newspaper article from 1974.  It is an English version of a Japanese paper, the page is old and more orange than yellow, dated November 25th 1974 it tells the story of Zenso Oikawa - Pioneer in Woolen Homespun  and the first paragraph gives a taste of what is to follow...
"It was only just over 100 years ago that wool was introduced to Japan, until that time, dyers, weavers and needle workers had had experience only with silk, cotton, feathers, various hemp fibers (including ramie and linen) and the mulberry and thyme like fibers used in making clothing as well as paper.
Traditional techniques of using plant dyes could not be transferred wholesale to wool, and entirely new spinning and weaving methods and equipment had to be devised."

There I will stop, my love handed me this folder yesterday with these articles, he is in the midst of supposedly clearing out the studio, (it will take years) will we ever move?  But what struck me how did Japanese people survive with no warm wool to snuggle into, the winters are cold.  Yesterday I had watched a video of the tsunami of a couple of years ago, and watched the wooden houses slowly crumple into the rushing water creating more and more debris, concrete is of course not amenable to earthquakes, so wooden houses with paper screens cannot be the warmest of places either.  The 'firebox' or heating for generations before, was to be found beneath the dining table, we have a fire box in the sitting room, now filled with the finial tiles that fell to the ground from some of the old temples.
What else, we are tentatively making plans with our American friends for a visit to Kyoto next year in November and Loie has been sending us apartments, instead of the hotel rooms which LS religiously books each year and we never turn up because we cannot afford it ;).  Futons and tatami mats, you can measure a room by the amount of tatami mats in it, and some of the rooms are very small, and no chairs just cushions!
An email arrives this morning from our friend in Cornwall, the 'big beast' has been spotted in Trowbridge quite a bit further North than Bodmin Moor.  But he says, friends of his whilst sitting having their lunch on a tor were passed by a seemingly unconcerned panther and her two cubs, well then there must be another male around, it always looks so peaceful to me the moor, and I would be delighted to meet a puma!

Old stone from one of the circles, in the background you can see the old mining engine house which is now the Heritage Centre.

Still hankering to go back, there is a whole week of events taking place in Minions. The Hurlers - Mapping the Sun from the 16th September, we might grab a few days if we have any money, but have to go to Whitby at the beginning of September and see the family before the move to Todmorden.


  1. What a very good point about the lack of wool. I had a little look around on Google and it seems that cotton wadding was used as padding once that was introduced as a plant, but that still doesn't sound warm enough!

  2. Hi Em, Yes Paul told me about the packing afterwards but it is interesting how our technology and use of materials went compared to the Japanese, most of the technology, both of China and Japan have only really developed the last hundred years or so. There we were Europeans trampling all over the world grabbing anything we could get ;) makes you think...