2014 SPHSS Diary – 2

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Day 2/35 – Friday July 4th

The program began today, with interviews and level checks, followed by a day trip. We commenced with a visit to Tokoname, starting with the Takita residence. From the Edo Period (1600-1868) through to the Taisho Period (1912-1926), the Takita family managed a business based on a small fleet of wooden ships and interlinked warehouses. They used double-entry bookkeeping (it was developed independently in Japan about the same time as in Italy/Europe) and they traded mostly between the towns and cities lining the coasts of Ise and Mikawa Bays, but also as far east as Edo.

Now a museum, the residence gives a classic insight into the daily life of a prosperous merchant family. The kitchen, guest quarters and large number of artifacts make it a good place to visit.

Next we made ceramics with Kondo-sensei, a Master of Traditional Crafts (he isn’t old enough to be listed as a “Designated Intangible Asset” etc). His studio is nearby. He is very patient, always teaches using the Japanese language only, and is very adept at fixing the problems that occur when over-enthusiasm turns a nicely developing cup into an unintended Objet d’art.

Those power wheels can be tricky at times.

The firing of the kiln will be in mid-August, so the completed items will be shipped in late August or early September. There is nothing more authentically Japanese than a nice piece of pottery. Especially when everything you did wrong has been fixed by a Master of Traditional Crafts!

While we were there, we picked up the ceramics made during our Field Trip to Tokoname back in May. Pretty good results from the kiln.

Lunch of course, was awesome. All dishes made from local produce. The students loved it. They are going to eat very well throughout the program.

In the afternoon we headed to nearby Ono-machi, an old town on the coast with narrow winding streets. During the Kamakura Period (1185–1333) it became an important shipping center in the trade between Ise and Mikawa, and was regarded as strategically important by Oda Nobunaga. We visited Kaion-ji, a Rinzai sect Zen temple, associated with Myoushin-ji in Kyoto, and the mortuary tablet of San-shichi Nobutaka (one of Oda Nobunaga’s sons). We ended the day at nearby Rurigahama, which claims to be the world’s oldest sea bathing beach. It being a weekday, we had the place to ourselves. The nice cool sea breeze was an added bonus.


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