What a time I had! So much to tell and so busy with things to catch up on. Not to mention the Mandala Workshop which is posting and uploading as I write this. Back and forth on two blogs- multitasking…
OK- a few high points just to get things started:
I was very lucky and found an Edo period zakuri. (Edo was the shogun period when Japan was ruled by the Tokugawa family, 1603 to 1868.) This is a silk reeling machine all handmade out of wood-even the gearing!. There were literally thousands of them made in the later part of this period for the purpose of encouraging the cottage silk reeling industry in Japan-according to Michel Cook of Wormspit. Mine is in quite excellent condition and was found in a flea market at a very fair price. I have to mention that before I arrived in Japan my intention was to find one of these. I didn’t know if I would succeed- I didn’t even know what they were called! But I had seen them in museum displays on earlier Silk Study trips to Japan. Seeing as I am collecting a fair amount of my own hand raised cocoons I really wanted to have one- for practical purposes-reeling my own silk.
My friend Makoto likes to visit flea markets on the weekends looking for various things and so the day after I arrived in Kokubunji, we went to the first of 4 markets I was to visit during my remaining stay. At the very first one, at the very front of the market, there it was! I was kind of astonished. I thought, maybe I better walk around a bit and see if there are any more to compare it with. It was front and center in the small space of an older fellow who also had some other nice and quite interesting items (but no textiles). I decided to wander the rest of the market first wondering if I would find another. I did find a few small boro pieces and saw some other very nice textiles quite out of my budget but no more reeling machines. I went back to the fellow and asked if there was a rocker arm which seemed to be missing. To my surprise- he dug around and came up with it! We bargained a wee bit but since it was such a fair price I accepted his first offer of サビスです(a sort of complimentary service of a price reduction). Makoto also found a very nice porcelain piece for his collection and a good indigo kimono with hand loomed cottons and a bit of boro.
Fortunately as well, I bought it because I did not see another one of any sort at any of the remaining markets or temple sales I ended up visiting. I suppose it had been waiting for me. Since I had traveled lightly to Japan I was able to find a box and boxed it up as my second bagage to return home at no extra cost. It arrived in fine shape and there are 1000 silk worms finishing up their cocooning in egg cartons on the bench next to the piano…(i’ve decided that the silkworms prefer piano to drums, which are in the other room-always improvising around here…)
Speaking of silkworms- “cat momma” Delia and sons did a great job of watching over the silkworm farm in my absence and upon returning they are all mostly spinning-some done and a few last ones just getting into it. I am hoping to try a little fresh reeling with some of them…Thank you Delia!
So here’s a little video from today-
In other news, mom survived my absence. My sister checked in with her while I was away. Only (??) 2 other mobiles burned down in the park in the past 10 days- no one was hurt apparently. They last one she reported to me tonight that they ate pizza while watching the firemen respond-there are a few other hoarders in the ‘hood but rumor is that they were “cooking incidents”. Also, her longtime cat Mr. Orange died while I was gone. He was showing some signs of something before I left so we set the mobile vet up to go for a visit- he had a “mass” and had to be put down. Yay for mobile vet services- a great help! After that sadness, someone presented her with two small kittens. Oh dear! Will keep on top of this one. She also managed to screw up her banking so have implemented strict restrictions on that after sorting things out. So, for the moment, peace has been restored!
Tomorrow, the garden will be surveyed and dealt with.