My birthday dawned much cooler and a bit cloudy, thank goodness! Met a couple from Hawaii at breakfast. They were interested, as I was, in going to the flea market at Tenmangu Temple, supposedly one of the largest and best flea markets in Kyoto, only held on the 25th of the month. We took the bus together, then parted ways. Got there early enough that it was relatively quiet. Strolled leisurely through the stalls of old and new goods, food, garden supplies, and lots of old kimonos and fabric. It was much less crowded and more pleasant than the market at Toji on the 21st, although the crowds increased as the day wore on.
I found just what I was looking for, a skirt made from multiple scraps of old indigo dyed fabric. The fabric artist, Yoshie, was delightful. She told me, with difficulty in using English, that she researches and buys old fabrics, some from the Meiji era (1868 to 1912) up to the early Showa era (prior to 1945). These are the fabrics represented by the patchwork in my skirt. She teaches elementary school art during the week and creates art from these old fabrics in her off time.
I didn’t have enough cash with me for the skirt, so she directed me to the closest 7-Eleven, which has the best money transfer rates in town at their ATM. On the way back, I passed a bakery with wonderful smells coming out the door, so got us each a pastry and a bottle of tea.
On the way back to the market, I passed an American woman with a sweatshirt that proclaimed “Oregon” in bright yellow letters. I asked if she really was from Oregon, and she said, “Yes, NE Portland.” She and her friend, a woman from Eugene, were on a tour that featured Japanese fabrics.
Returning to Yoshie’s stand, I paid for the skirt and shared the tea and pastries with her. She was charming! We talked about our families and our ages, and when she learned it was my birthday, she gave me two packets of fabric from which I could make something small.
I had gotten a blister on my foot at Disneyland, but didn’t want to waste any precious time, so after leaving the flea market, I treated myself to a cab ride to the Museum of Kyoto. There are several wonderful stores there in addition to the museum (which I did not enter, because of my painful foot). I did spend lots of wonderful time ooohing and aahing over the most beautiful papers I had ever seen. Bought a few small gifts and some paper for my own use.
Went back to the hotel and had dinner in the dining room there, after going to a restaurant we had previously enjoyed and finding it closed. I didn't want to walk very far with my painful blistered foot. Met a lady from Boulder, Colorado who was traveling on her own while her husband worked in Tokyo. Had a nice conversation with her, started packing, and got to bed later than I had planned.
Only one full day left!