Today is pottery day. We got hit with a rainstorm as we made our way about 7 or 8 minutes away from our hotel to Sensei Nishijima pottery studio. Nishijima is a highly rated potter in Japan. He began when he was 20 years old and has been making pottery for 35 years. He showed us around his studio today and how to make pottery. I decided on an artistically lumpy cup and 3 somewhat asymmetrical serving bowls. And just so you know, they are supposed to look like that. A lot of people made animals, and I was going to make a Linux penguin but someone beat me to it. Maybe I can swipe it from Tim when he’s not looking. Nishijima also had a very compact garden between his house and studio which I snapped a few pictures of.
Lunch was at a Kameoka restaurant where Dr. Stapp learned how to cook fried rice. I didn’t have fried rice, but I had ramen dai, or a big bowl of Chinese noodles. It’s called ramen but its not like the stuff in the US. It’s much, much tastier.
In the afternoon, we went to the Kyoto Budo Center. They’ve got almost every Japanese martial art there. We just missed a kyudo (bow) tournament and saw the final bout of a sumo competition. An iaido tournament was still going strong though. I met an American, David Brier, who is a teacher at a school for Japanese students returning from abroad.
He and his son, who is a student at a local university, practice iaido here. He explained a little about the tournament. We saw several people performing some standard kata, then they switched to their own styles. It was a great event to watch. They do this every Saturday and Sunday, so I will have to come back again. If you’re out there Sensei Brier, thanks!
Also at the Budo Center they have Karate, Kendo, Aikido and Jujitsu but we didn’t have time to see them.
There are 3 martial arts stores near the budo center that support the practitioners. I’m glad I had a handkerchief, because I was drooling at the gear, and also glad that they don’t take MasterCard.
Across the street from the budo center is the Kyoto Handicraft Center. It’s a very tourist oriented shop with special discounts for foreigners. They had your standard tourist stuff (t-shirts, fans, samurai swords, etc.), but I only bought a little samurai sword letter opener. I decided to wait until after visiting the Toji flea market (and after my friends let me know what they want, hint, hint) to buy anything substantial.
Dinner was at a bakery at Kyoto Station. I got a cheese roll and a piece of melon bread. It had a very soft melon taste to it that I enjoyed very much. When I got back to Kameoka, I went to Seiyu to complete dinner with a salad and some fruit. Wal-Mart owns 37% of Seiyu. You can definitely see their mark with the ‘Roll Back’ signs. They also have a big container of sushi for about ¥550, and I’m really itching to buy it to see if it’s any good.
The day ended with some catch up things like laundry, journal writing, some research on Toyota, and packing 3 days worth of clothes and homestay gifts into a small bag.
Tomorrow, Toyota City and our first homestay.