Truth be told, I was not feeling well last week. Since I’m prone to upper respiratory infections, I travel with a stash of medicine to help insure I recover more quickly when illness strikes. I saw a local doctor who added to my pharmacological intake, and confirmed that my lungs were clear, although I had a cough bad enough to rouse the dead. That said, my energy was drained. I tired quickly so most days were spent close to my bed so I could lay down as necessary. The good news is, I’m about 85% better today. Although I was a bit apprehensive I decided it was Time to leave the nest and head out for a while. If I ran out of steam, I could taxi home.
We’ve had a splendid run of great weather. Some of the cherry blossoms have already peaked but the season is still in full swing with later blooming varieties taking the stage. There are too many tourists in town, still searching for blossoms, so I decided to stick to the streets and find my visual satisfaction elsewhere.
First stop was the new Issey Miyake flagship store that opened around the corner from our apartment. Miyake meticulously restored an old machiya (townhouse)and kura(storage house) as the perfect elegant background for his goods.
His clothing is not wearable in my opinion, but his innovative use of textiles has been revolutionary. His bold graphic raincoats designed in collaboration with a graphic artist in the kura are an art installation and that’s enough reason to visit..
In order not to exhaust myself, I easily decided it was time for a matcha latté at a small café overlooking a Japanese garden.
Restored, my feet knew the way to one of my favorite stationery stores in the Teramachi arcade. Kyukyodo. For Y100 each, I selected a handful of postcards that captured the spirit of spring in Japan. Stuck up on my office wall with washi tape, they’ll be an easy throw back to time spent here.
I had one more must -see-again visit to make before I returned home and that was to Gallery Kei. I met Kei Kawasaki several years ago while on a tour. She owns a small exquisitely curated gallery on Teramachi dori. She specializes in Japanese textiles woven before cotton was available in Japan. Old farmer’s jackets, fragments of old kimono, boro, mostly all indigo. A solitary peach tree was in full blossom in front of her gallery.
Entering her realm is practically a spiritual experience. My eye was drawn to a fragment of textile laying on top of a basket of fragments. The pattern is layered and quite unusual, Kei-san confirmed. I wonder what the woman who made this would think if she knew it was about to find a home thousands of miles away?