Thursday, 9 June 2016

Japan Part 3 - Mochi and more!

Woke at 6:30 today, and didn't rush, as Starbucks doesn't open until 7am. I got the order right this morning!!! So proud!  A little stretch in the park, some outfit planning..... then meet up and an early start to Bunka, for a dyeing class. On arrival I saw these displays of accessories - they change frequently in the cabinets.

We had no idea what we were in for, but it did not disappoint! We were to do Katazome resist dyeing - using stencils made of special washi paper layered, glued together with fermented persimmon juice, and smoked. The stencil is then cut out and a layer of netting glued on to keep it all together. 

Rice paste/moshi paste is used to squeegee through the stencil, and left to dry, whilst the stencil is washed out - it is water resistant to some extent but can't take too much or will become floppy. There were some absolutely beautiful patterns for us to choose from!
After drying the paste, wetting the fabric, and putting it in 60 degree water ( the paste will melt off under 50 degrees but will harden over) Sensei prepared an artificial indigo dye and soaked and agitated the pieces in for 10 minutes to
oxygenate. Then we removed them from the bath and aired them to continue the oxidisation process, and watched the magic of them turning from yellow, through green, to blue. Magic! We were so lucky to have several assistants looking after us, and the wonderful Saskia interpreting for us.
Saskia and Sensei
Loved the wall of brushes!

The results! All gorgeous.
Our afternoon class was digital printing, where we used a photo we had taken here to print on the Shima Seiki ink-jet fabric printer. We joined a Japanese computer class, and used Photoshop in Japanese to create our image - a fair bit of guess work going on there! Their class room had a wonderful set up with a screen in between each student computer showing what the teacher was doing, who was talking through it on a microphone. The class wasn't overly large, but it was a wonderful way to learn and practice at the same time.

I managed to look at my blog translated into Japanese!
 Next stop was the printer, which was huge! The bags had cardboard inserts put in them, and were laid out on the print bed, then they were photo scanned by the machine, so it would know where to print. Our images were then positioned onto the bags via computer screen, and the printing began! After they were done, they went into the heat-set press with a layer of paper, then again without, and voila!!

After the obligatory class photo shoot, (they're doing our heads in, but we will appreciate having them!) Brodie and I headed off home for a wee revival, before catching the train on the Odayku line to Shimo-Kitazawa, which guide books described as a mini-Tokyo the way hippies would run it. On the money. Full of vintage and thrift shops, I was in my element - this was my Japan. Just like the thrift shopping day on the New York study tour, this was Svenja's day! 

Sushi socks, vintage dress, hairclips, shades, cat sushi key rings!
After an enjoyable stroll and quite a few purchases, it was back of to Shinjuku, and with our wallets full of 100 yen coins, it was time to go to the capsule vending machines (gashapon) to get my cat-sushi key rings - score - got two of my favourite omelette ones, and a tatami mat cat! We ticked off another box by finding mochi at the 7-11, and made our way back to the hotel via the oh-so-handy hotel shuttle. And so endeth Wednesday of the study tour!

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