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Personalizing my Kurotani Washi Paper in Kyoto, with coloured pigments

Traditional Japanese Paper Making in Kurotani Village, Kyoto

Originally written for Voyapon Sponsored by North Kansai Tourism Association Ohhhh, hand-made paper. I remember going through and feeling my mother’s old collection of Japanese washi papers as a kid, loving the texture of the delicate veins of natural fibres weaved into a smooth layer. I even went through a phase of making my own paper, using everything…

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Country Life

A Stay in the Traditional Japanese Home of Umetan FUJI, Hyogo

Originally written for Voyapon Sponsored by North Kansai Tourism Association “Watch out for those deer!” I whispered, as a herd suddenly skipped across the road in the dark. It was a moonless night in Hyogo prefecture’s Tamba Sasayama (丹波篠山) as we headed to our accommodations at Umetan Fuji for the night. Our guide Michiko however, seemed to have seen them a mile…

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Parent Observations and Roasting Yams with Neighbours

It’s almost the end of my fourth month working as an English teacher. In the beginning of May, I started three weeks of “Parent Observations” (P.O.s), where parents observe lessons delivered to their children by yours truly. It’s an opportunity for parents to see how their investments have been utilized, and I can’t help but…

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Arts and Crafts

The 800-Year Old Japanese Craft Heritage of Tamba Pottery

Originally written for Voyapon Sponsored by North Kansai Tourism Association When I was a kid, my mother thought it was best to keep my brother and I occupied with a myriad of craft-making camps and workshops that filled our summer vacations. What probably started as a crafty (cough, cough pun intended) idea to keep a couple of…

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The Swordsmith of Arao, Kyushu

Originally written for Voyapon Sponsored by Northern Kumamoto Administrative Headquarters “Strike while the irons hot.” I always knew what this meant, though never witnessed it in its complete, literal meaning. That is, until one a stormy day, while the furnace roars and hammers clang, as Mr. Matsunaga of Arao, Kumamoto leads us into the elusive…

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