Meiji Shrine in all its majesty and Blue surprise is a destination for all in Japan.
But there are other sights and sounds and textures to be found at this season of preparation, decoration, celebration and purification.
One of the many joys of Blue & White is learning from customers. A kind quilter from Australia put me on to this amazing array of blue lanterns at Meiji Shrine and sent me her photos. Of course, I had to go see for myself.
Imagine my delight when the bamboo dealer moved their Kadomatsu making workplace right across the street from our house. Every morning I watch the workmen come to work early.
And every morning! they told me they closed up to go home. I could see how much effort went into their stately New Year decorations.
SHOPPING AT THE BAMBOO YARD.
But for the plastic ties and the snazzy pick up truck, this could almost be a 19th c image of the Morishita bamboo dealers when Hiroshige depicted it in his woodblocks of Edo in the 18th century.
Cleaning the local shrine seems to put a smile on Daikoku sama’s stone face.
The New Year in Japan is a time of purification and renewal. Shrines are flocked with people with prayer and hope and dream. Here shrine maidens offer sweet sake to the reverent at Tomioka Hachiman And next door at Fukagawa Narita Fudou Myou there is a different kind of celebrating.
Bright exuberant shouts of the faces of celebration and colorful invitations to Good Fortune.
Celebrants of all plaids and stripes.
Fluffy blue sheep painted on white washi clouds by our talented Sayoko Hayasawa, puff their way around the windows of Blue & White.
New Year’s sheep?
These whimsical creatures drew lots of attention to yet another one of Hayasawa san’s eye-catching window displays.
The fresh handmade original Shimenawa New Year’s decorations of rice straw and pine and nandina and even garlic! by our ever creative friend, Takako Nishikawa of Ishikawa Prefecture, were sought after by all who saw them. They were the great pride of Blue & White this year.
After all the celebrating and purifying and decorating came The Big Blue & White Clean!
Not at all the usual way of welcoming the New Year, but our two hardworking children spent the first four tireless days of the New Year cleaning and scouring and purging the detritus of 40 years of collecting. Now the shop seems twice as big and 10 times as tidy—A cause for great celebration!
Come have a look.