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.





 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?
or camels?

or anteaters?

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!




cl21All the flag waving above is a tribute to the Emperor on his 81st birthday on the 23rd of December. 

cl22Our sheep in the window joins Emperor Akihito in his dedication to PEACE with the words from the song “Let there be Peace on earth and let it begin with me”.

cl23Blue & White Flea Market January 12—29 featuring many of the treasures culled from 40 years of collecting— and saving!

Come have a look.


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11 Responses to BLUE & WHITE COMES CLEAN

  1. Nancy Hailston says:

    Oh, Amy, if only I could come see what you have cleaned out! I know I would find marvelous pieces that I could not leave behind. Even tho I am in South Carolina, I am still collecting anything blue and white…it just makes me feel good. It has been 14 years or so since you and Betty came to my house in Okinawa for lunch. What an honor that was for me! Celeste signed me up to your web site and I am enjoying it very much.
    Take care, Nancy Hailston

    • OMG Nancy !
      Your’s was the most unforgettable lunch! and we have told that story of your (and Celeste’s) Y100 style so many times !
      Where is that book you were planning?
      I don’t know whether you heard, but Betty and I were so inspired by your chic Y100 table setting, that we foolishly stopped at the Y100 shop on our way to the airport.
      Of course I missed my plane and could only tell my husband that the traffic was terrible in Okinawa!
      Wonderful memory !
      thank you for bringing it all back – in blue & white !

      Oh how we laughed ! and were inspired.
      Thank you both for the joy you spread !

  2. Doriann says:

    Wish I could be there for the Blue & White flea market. Missed coming to Tokyo this new year. Continued success to you in the upcoming year.

  3. Barbara Gattermeir says:

    what wonderful photos, beautiful creations…I feel as if I might actually be there to celebrate with you. Thinking of you , Amy…the shop looks beautiful!

  4. julespieri says:

    So longing to be at the flea market from my (blue) couch in Boston. Have to make do with our local “Old Japan” shop. I was able to get a couple big bags of antique kantha cloth scraps of all shapes and sizes from them to make a crazy wall hanging…that is my weekend plan.

    • Dear Boston Blue Couch
      Love the image of you surrounded by Kantha scraps.
      There was just the most incredible exhibit of sashiko and Kantha that the Nihon Mingei kan / Japan Folkcraft Museum in tokyo.
      the Kantha made you cry with their tiny stitches of love and story telling.
      Do show us what you come up with in Boston.
      forever blue !

  5. Trista Berkovitz says:

    I love getting your posts, and enjoyed visiting your shop when I was last in Japan.

    So that I can continue to receive your posts, please change my email address to: . I will soon be discontinuing the address.

    Thank you,


    San Francisco

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