70: Pottery and Japan – One and the Same

Waking up really early is de rigeur for me in Tajimi and it is no exception on this Saturday morning. Yumiko san, also a student here, kindly offered to take me out today, and since there are a few hours before she reaches at 10am I decide to kick start the exploring on my own!

Eihoji is one of the famous destinations here, and though I forgot to bring out my map, I managed to navigate my way there with the help of a minimart staff! I am feeling good about my improved navigation and japlish conversational skills 🙂

After going up a long winding road, I arrive at an entrance into the woods. Tall trees and bamboos surround me, and in the distance I hear the faint gurgling of an anonymous, hidden stream. How lovely, I have to come here again!

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After some minutes, I finally reach the beautiful Eihoji.

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With its crescent moon bridge, I feel like I am gazing at some classic painting!

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Mino ceramic park houses the Museum of modern ceramic art and Mino ceramic museum – the first two stops on Yumiko’s itinerary today. These are the must-visit spots for each pottery student. I am so grateful she is accompanying me here as she must have come here countless times with other international students!

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The modern ceramic art museum’s current exhibition is a little strange to me as it houses mainly western ceramic pieces by western ceramic companies such as Meissen, Royal Copenhagen etc. It just seems to me more like a big product placement opportunity for these companies! I would have loved to see more modern pieces by Japanese potters.

The mino museum is a lot more traditional and houses many old pieces from the mino region. What I find fascinating is the exhibit on stones and clay. This is why I have fallen in love with pottery – there’s just something so magical about creating something beautiful out of mere dust and stone!

Something really interesting here is the tea experience. For 400 yen, you can pick one of the chawans made by famous potters (which are really something to behold) and you would be served traditional whipped green tea in them. An absolutely lovely experience since you don’t have to just admire them from behind the glass. What’s more, the tea and snacks are really delicious too!

As Yumiko san is quite well versed in traditional tea ceremony, she teaches me some interesting practices, such as turning my cup twice so that the front of it is facing outwards. How quaint!

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After the museums, we head to Oribe street for lunch. This is also a street with many pottery shops but I am waiting for the festival in two weeks time to buy some pieces. Yumiko san’s first choice is unfortunately afflicted with a super long queue so we cross the road to this really quiet and nice restaurant instead.

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Yumiko san teaches me something else about Japanese culture. The unagi rice is supposed to be eaten in three steps. First, you scoop a little of the unagi and rice and eat it. For the second round, you add some spring onion and seaweed to the unagi and rice. For the third round, on top of everything in the second round, a soup is added to the rice! After the third round, if you still have rice, you can continue to add soup 🙂 Delicious but not the easiest to follow if someone is in a hurry!

It is Saturday so we are relaxed about our time. After lunch, we head to the nearby town, Mizunami for some hiking. We visit the 7 waterfalls! Nature never fails to make me happy 🙂

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By the time we check our boxes for all 7 waterfalls, we are ready for a cafe break!

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Awesome. Nice people are awesome.

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