Monday, 13 June 2016

Japan Part 5 - The Weekend

Fridays' draping class was interesting. Our lecturer took us through the process of making an Issey Miyake style origami dress. The pattern was already printed on to it, and we just had to iron the folds in it. It doesn't sound like much, but it helps make the process easier to 'get'. 

After lunch, when I bought 5 metres of beautiful purple/gold shot material at the Bunka fabric shop, it was time for our yukata lesson, where we learned how to fold, put on, and sit and rise correctly in the traditional yukata and obi. What a process! We all enjoyed the time - it was kind of fun to be trussed up like a very beautifully wrapped package! 

After our graduation ceremony, we came back to the hotel for a freshen-up and a dumping of goodies, and Alex, Axel, Bec, Brodie and I headed off into Harajuku. We split up for a while, and it was great to wander alone, before meeting back up at the  Kawaii Monster Cafe - what a crazy place! We had chips with 5 different coloured sauces, and a Danger Cocktail, which really was just champagne in a test-tube, which you broke a capsule of sprinkles into! Axel and Brodie went home, and Bec and I partied on, having far too much to drink! We ended up having a late night of it, having a midnight picnic from Family Mart in the park across the road.

Brodie left about 9:30 on Saturday morning, and I enjoyed a slow start, having a grapefruit Kirin in the bath, washing my hair and getting myself back into human form! Bec, Axel and I went back to Nippori, where I had a wonderful time making many purchases! I bought another kimono, and scarves, my fur bunny, a great piece of fabric with lots of Svenja's on it..... We had to race to get back to Bunka in time for the show, which was not of graduating students works, but had some really interesting 3D printed pieces. After the show, the group planned to have dinner over the road and go to the Park Hyatt, but I was done in by then, and excused myself, and had Axel walk me home! I was in bed by 7 with my Family Mart sandwiches!

I had to sleep in on Sunday, as Starbucks doesn't open until 7:30am. As I crossed the road, I saw two guys asking a girl if she spoke English, so I stepped in to help. They were heading for coffee too, so we had a chat - they were French, with one of them (absolutely gawdjuss!) an accountant at Louis Vuitton in Paris! Conversation started to become awkward as we ran out of things to ask each other, so I excused myself, and caught the train to Otemachi to see the gardens of the Imperial Palace. It was a really nice change from being on the busy streets, and I took many, many photos. The remaining walls were massive, and I love the typically 'Japanese' trees. I think my favourite part was coming upon the little grotto with an amazing display of different Irises, a waterfall, and koi carp. I was glad I had walked through early in, as the crowds were pouring in as I was leaving. 

I thought I'd stop off at Tokyo on the way back, but after taking 10 minutes to find my way out of the station, I found myself in a pretty nowhere area, so got back on the train. Brodie and I had been in touch, and I agreed to meet her at Harajuku again, as she had found some more kimono stores as well as buying more at the second hand market. I spent another 10 minutes lost in Shinjuku Station trying to find the Yamanote Line, but thanks to instructions from Brodie, finally got there! And got on it going the wrong way. Realising my mistake, I fixed that, and finally met poor Brodie! We wandered about, ending up once more at the second hand market, where I was very interested in some heavily embroidered obi at a great price, but managed to restrain myself to one more, much lighter, metallic one. I was starting to get pretty concerned about my luggage weight by now! Brodie had many bags, and I was starting to fail, so we headed back to the hotel. Sadly, the shuttle bus was not running, so we had to walk home, but Brodie had discovered an air-conditioned tunnel with travelators which got us half way there - nice work, Brodie! After a quick Family Mart stop, we indulged in a room picnic and recovery, then some preliminary packing, and could easily have stayed in, but decided that was no way to spend our last night in Tokyo, so headed back to Harajuku!  A few more small purchases were made - somebody stop me - then Brodie suggested we visit the Cat Café! I'm so glad we did! The cats were SO soft and fluffy, with many that were what I call 'lowered' cats - very short stumpy legs! Then we decided to walk into Shibuya, thankfully a downhill 15 minutes. I think it was the craziest place I've seen in Tokyo, with of course the thousands of people on the crossing, crazy buskers, and lights everywhere. Then it was back to the dreaded Shinjuku Station, the hotel shuttle, and a quiet night, ready for the big journey home tomorrow after seeing the Issey Miyake exhibition.

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