Sunday, August 19, 2007
Kilns and Takeda
My first weekend in Yamanashi. Oh, the memories. I'll be splitting up my first weekend show and tell into two posts, cause I did a lot and have a bunch of pictures.

So, on Saturday morning, me and Tiffany went to a pottery class for young local Yamanashi teachers. Best way to describe it I guess would be like a social for all the young teachers to get together and meet each other. Anyway, my JTE invited us after we gave her our omiyage (souvenirs from our home states basically). Not sure if the invite was because of the gifts or not, but either way, we took her up on the offer.

The pottery studio was in Enzan, a town that borders Yamanashi city, and close to impossible to find. I have NO IDEA how anyone would be able to find their way to this place. However, as someone who can't figure out how anyone knows where anything in in Japan (come on, they have few if any street names that twist and turn and make no sense whatsoever) I might be biased. Even my JTE had to ask a random guy on the side of the road where is was though, so my assessment might not be too far off.

We got there, found seats and then listened to the owner of the studio (who, we found out after class, has been doing pottery for more than 30 years) describe what to do. I personally had no idea what in the world he was saying. Luckily I'd taken pottery when I was in high school, and pretty much knew the basics to making a pot.

Here are all the pots made at our table. Mine is the egg shaped on, Tiffany's is the squarish one, and my JTE's is the one in front.

After the class, my JTE surprised us by taking us to a popular local temple, the Erinji Temple. It was founded in 1330 A.D. What's currently there today was built in 1910 after the the temple was nearly destroyed by a fire in 1905. The Erinji Temple is noted for it's monument of Takeda Shingen. Born in Kofu in 1521, Takeda fought and won several battles during the feudal period. The monument was erected in 1673. The temple also houses a famous garden. And as it was my first ever visit to a temple, I obviously took a ton of pictures so.....

One of the most interesting features of the temple is a long wooden corridor where, when you walk, your footsteps sound like singing birds. I tried to get a recording of the sound ( was that interesting) but it didn't work. So here is a picture instead.

After touring through the temple, my JTE explained that the reason it was so popular at the moment was because of a popular day time TV drama about Takeda. She also pointed out some kanji (the first ones I've learned!) that related to Takeda and are seen quite often around Yamanashi.

The top right is wind, below that if forest, top left is fire, and then mountain (which is part of the kanji that make up's the Yama part). They have something to do with Takeda's battle plan or warrior strategy......or something like that.

After a busy day, it was time for the Group A YETI welcome party in Kofu. Had some Italian and then went to The Vault (a bar that caters to foreigners). Everything was great. Got to meet all the rest of group A and several of the old JETs. Only downer was that I had to catch the train back home by 11:02, so my evening was cut short. All in all, a great day. Next up: Sunday in Kofu
posted by am at 5:39 AM | Permalink |