Walking trail in Tokoname City
Walking trail in Tokoname City by Bariston

A Splendid Kimekomi Box of Paulownia Wood

This box with its pretty pink bell design is from Hakocho, a shop in Asakusa specializing in paulownia kimekomizaiku. Kimekomezaiku is the Japanese craft of carving an image on paulownia wood and embedding beautiful, colorful cloth in the carved-out areas. Kiri (paulownia) brings Kiritsubo, the mother of Hikaru Genji to mind. A tree native to China, and as references to it in Genji Monogatari (like the one above), Makura no Soshi (The Pillow Book) and other Heian Period (794 – 1185) literature bear out, it is a tree with a long history also in Japan. The wood has many favorable characteristics. It is light, repels insects, has high temperature and…

Sitting cat & luck cat

Releasing a Video on How to Make Clay Cats

The first video provides the steps to create a basic sitting cat. The second video shows how to remake the sitting cat into a “manekineko” or beckoning cat by unceremoniously stripping off one front leg of our sitting cat.


Clay cat exhibition at Koenji, Tokyo

From March 7th through March 15th, Risa Takahashi held a personal exhibition in a small gallery called KIYA in Koenji, Tokyo. Despite concern over the impact of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), she was able to bring it to a safe and successful close. In the following, we introduce some of the artworks that she exhibited and which were also for sale. Every cat has a unique name. Enjoy! By the way, she gave me this cat mustache at the gallery!!I put it on top of my mask and ignored the bewildered looks of people we met on our way back to the station. Sumima senbei This cat is eating a rice…

25th Fuku-Kuru Manekineko Festival

Ise Shrine & 25th Maneki-neko Festival – 2/2

On September 29th, from 9:29 in the morning, it will be the day when 929 Kicchou Shofuku Bells (auspicious good luck charm bell) that received purification by the local Ujigami (guardian god) will be distributed to the first 929 people who arrive. After I had Akafuku rice cake and barley tea for breakfast at the Akafuku main store, I arrived at the distribution site for the good luck charm bells at the entrance of Oharai-machi street before 9 o’clock. A considerable number of people were already lined up. I could hardly see the end of the winding line of people. The place I finally reached was near the west exit…


Ise Shrine & 25th Maneki-neko Festival – 1/2

On September 28th (Saturday) and 29th (Sunday), I visited the Maneki-Neko Festival (Beckoning Cat and Lucky Cat Festival) held in Ise City, Mie Prefecture, where Ise Shrine is located. This is the 25th time this year!! It was 9.29 (September 29), which can be read as kuru-fuku in Japanese, which means happiness is coming.

Fun Bonsai workshop at Bonsai Village, Saitama

The vibrant and twisted trunk of a Goyomatsu (Japanese white pine) brings an invigorating freshness to the tips of each green leaf in the beautifully pruned foliage. In their tiny pots, Bonsai fascinate me as a symbol of the strength and vitality of nature. Although bonsai have always fascinated me, I have been daunted by the seeming difficulty of growing bonsai. However, one day, I found that a one-day hands-on Bonsai workshop was held in Saitama, and decided to give it a try – on a whim! The workshop was held in Seikouen, a Bonsai shop, located in Omiya Bonsai Village, Saitama prefecture. It was still very hot on the…