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I’m back in Tokyo.

In spite of all my preparation, I showed up at the airport prepared to fly the wrong airline.  As soon as the woman behind the desk at ANA began tsk tsk tsking, I knew I had a problem.  She could not find a  record of my reservation, then looking further, noted that the reservation had been canceled weeks earlier.  I, on the other hand, only held a preliminary reservation I had printed out months ago, put in a folder and carried with me,  confidently presenting it to her at check-in, without checking it over myself. It was worthless.    Upon closer inspection, in small print it read, “preliminary reservation.” It turned out I was supposed to fly JAL, but hadn’t seen the email my husband had sent to me weeks earlier noting the change in airlines.  Fortunately, I got on the ANA flight.

The missteps continued.  I noted a little while after I went through customs, that I no longer had one of my carry on bags.  A quick telephone call by a woman working at the information desk, located it immediately for me.  It was found in customs and they were holding it.  Ms. Lovely-as-can- Be left her desk, walked me back through a locked door into customs and quickly located my bag.  Only in Japan would that have been handled so efficiently and with such nice, understanding smiles.

I’m so used to losing things that I no longer get very upset about it.  I figure I’ll be able to work it out one way or another, but of course this time, I was quite relieved to have my carry on safely at my side again. It did turn out my credit cards had migrated to that bag, but don’t tell my husband. The fact that I’d had two close calls in one day sent up a red flag for me to be more cautious.

I did as I’d planned today and spent several hours browsing at my favorite Japanese department stores.  Feeling somewhat jet lagged I didn’t want to take on anything too taxing.    I headed as usual to their higher floors where the most interesting Japanese products are displayed and there’s a good likelihood of discovering a wonderful artistic exhibit. It made for a fine intro back into the many layered world of Japanese consumerism.


It astonished me to find, on an exhibit dedicated to mingei,  several pieces of ceramics by the legendary master Kawai Kanjiro, openly displayed and actually for sale.  This small display was the Thrill of the Day.  His pottery was shown adjacent to the this broom maker, another mingei product, painstakingly hand crafted.

img_7724 img_7722One of my favorite paper/stationery stores, Itoya, was remodeled in my absence, from head to toe.  Below is a small sample of the colored washi they carry,


After completing my rounds in Itoya, the clouds began threatening rain.  Sated, I happily returned to the hotel and spent the rest of the day researching my plans for tomorrow.

Dianne Vapnek

In an attempt to slow life's quickening pace, I'm writing to share my personal perspective on the aging process, its dilemmas, the humorous self-deception, the insights and the adventure of it all. I spent the bulk of my time in beautiful Santa Barbara, CA, but manage to get to NYC a few times times a year. I've been a dancer/dance teacher and dance supporter almost all my life. For the past20years, I help create and produce a month-long creative residency in Santa Barbara for contemporary American choreographers and their dancers. It's been incredibly gratifying. This year, I decided it's time to retire! Big change. I also now spend several weeks a year in Kyoto Japan, residing for several weeks in the spring and the fall. I've been magnetically attracted to Japan for many years. Now I live out a dream to live there part-time.


  • Judi Wallner says:

    Wow, Dianne you needed me! (ha, ha), your person in charge of tickets. Kidding aside, I’m so glad that you arrived safely. I was just reading an article in the SF Chronicle about Kyoto.They recommended a restaurant that sounded divine so I wanted you to know about it (you may already know). It’s called Misoguigawa. It marries traditional French and Japanese cuisine serving dishes influenced by class French cuisine in Japanese kaiseki style…small portions or regional, seasonal fare is served in exquisite ceramic and lacquerware plates and bowls. The restaurant is on the lantern lane called Pontocho-dori and is housed in a former geisha house on the banks of the Kamo River. The chef-owner is Teruo Inoue. Just wanted to pass this along. Thinking of you being there is making me remember so many of the things that we did together and all the fun that we had. Not only do you love Japan but you’ve pass it on to me. Enjoy Enjoy! Many thanks, Love you, Judi >

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