2018 Tokyo Quilt Show Part 5 (last one)

View Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here, Part 4 here

Fireworks in Moscow, Lyudmila Tsvyleva

It was such a privilege to view the work of the mainly Japanese exhibits, they are such meticulous, patient, dedicated quilters and stitchers. I guess they like hand stitching because they live in small spaces and it is easier to stitch by hand in those circumstances. I’m sure these quilts would take many, many hours, if not years to complete. So glad I was able to come to Tokyo and take Lisa Walton’s quilt tour with Opulent Journeys, overall a brilliant experience and would recommend it to anyone who loves quilting. Oh dear I see they have more coming up ……


2018 Tokyo Quilt Show Part 4 – Molas

This special exhibit was a highlight for me, stunning workmanship and sense of colour, this post is devoted solely to this exhibit and this was, by far, not all of the pieces! The embroidered pieces were first and then it flowed onto the Mola quilts. A stunning body of work by Nakayama Fumiko. Had I known she had a shop in Kyoto ………

Ops this one below was not part of the exhibit, but it was used on the cover of the catalogue

2018 Tokyo Quilt Show Part 1

This post will be the first of a few. I would like to point out that these photos are in no particular order, they were of quilts that I liked and where I am able, I will credit the maker, but the majority of the signs were in Japanese (the title of the quilt and maker will be above the photos of that quilt). The photos are not of the best quality due to the lighting, shadows and number of people, also my bad photography skills. I have taken detail shots where I could and not all quilts have been photographed in their entirety due to the sheer volume of people there.

The photo below shows the big spot lights that were around the arena, which made photography harder.

I was gobsmacked by the percentage of quilts that were hand done, hand pieced, hand quilted, hand appliqued, embroidered etc. Whereas our quilt shows are 97% machine made, theirs were 96% hand made. Just a visual symphony of meticulous detail and patience.

Hope you enjoy.

A wish, Masako Katase

Colours of the Four Seasons, Kyoko Yoshida


Vibrant Autumn, Lively Flowers, Taeko Shinozaki


Firefly, Satoko Okamura

Karara’s Home, Fisherman’s Town, Ayako Kawakami

Spring in Japan, Mieko Miyama

In the Kimono chest of drawers are …. Naeoko Takeshita

Dancing Gingko Trees

Rata, Ross Munro (NZ)

Blue Holes, Jeongseon Jeong

The Beauty of Thai, Sasiwimol Sujit

Tokyo Quilt show Part 2 here

Last day in Tokyo and some more Quilt Show

Today we had free time until 2pm, so after wrestling with my bags and jumping on them to close them, I decided to head back to the Quilt Festival, after all that’s why I came to Tokyo. So off I went on my own for a couple of hours.

If you need a taxi in Tokyo, just go to a hotel and the porter outside will hail one for you, and its as easy as that. The doors on the taxis open and close on their own (I assume the driver pushes a button.

You are not allowed to smoke outside, but they permit smoking in the restaurants!

I thought that being a Monday the quilt show might be a bit quieter, um nooo I was wrong.

The (mainly) women queue outside entertained by a big screen playing an old black and white movie!

Once they are inside they go straight to the seating area and put their coats, bags etc onto seats to book them for later when they sit down. Several also take pieces of string and rope off an area big enough for their group to sit.

This was my lunch today, you purchase a bento box and a drink, I was asked whether I wanted hot or cold, I chose hot – this was how it came – in a bottle like this, and it stayed hot for ages.

Some of the stands have hilarious names but most of them are only in Japanese.

Even some sake tasting!

I finished my lunch and headed for the exit, I threw the bag with the empty bento box into the bin and walked towards the exit. I looked down at the bag I was carrying and realised that I had thrown my shopping bag into the rubbish instead of the bento box, I ran back to the bin, which was one of those big bins that had a sloping top then a sort of roof on it, with a gap of about 30cms, I couldn’t see into the bin and I wasn’t game to put my hand in there. There was a young guy working at one of the food stalls nearby so I tried to communicate with him that I had put the wrong bag into the bin, he thought I was asking him if I could put my rubbish in the bin!!! Dear oh dear, anyway, I got my phone out and went to my translation app and typed in what I was saying, it translated it beautifully into Japanese and he said ‘ahh’ and opened the bin for me, phew there it was on top, yay, got my shopping back and popped my bento rubbish in.

I got into the taxi to head back to the hotel to catch the transfer to the airport. I checked my emails while in the taxi and yahoo Air New Zealand had upgraded me to premium economy, fantastic – looking forward to the bubbles and a good sleep.

Goodbye Japan, its been amazing, such lovely, fun people, a clean and unique country.

The hip area of Tokyo and the textile area

This morning we went to the Yazawaya Department store  at Kamata, this is a Mecca for quilters, sewers, jewellery makers, stationery fiends and more. If you are into any type of craft, this is the place to visit in Tokyo.

Huge selection of Echino fabrics at half the cost we pay, this was only a third of what they had!

This is half of the Liberty fabrics they had

How they display their buttons

We then headed off to Ometesando, the hip area for young people to hang out.

We had another group meal last night and farewelled Toshi, our guide, her sense of humour was brilliant and her Japanese English was good but funny.

Sorry forgot to take photos of the food, was too busy eating it!

Tokyo and Tokyo at night.

This post has lots of images, but thought it was worth it for the beautiful sights we saw today (not including the Quilt show). This morning was another brisk one and we were on the road by 9am heading to the Tokyo Dome for the International Quilt Show.

View from my hotel room, this is a building is called the cocoon tower and is 50 stories high, it houses three educational institutions.

Concierge in the hotel lobby.

There are signs like this all around the Quilt show, all signage is in Japanese and we obviously don’t understand them!

All the taxis in Japan are Toyota Crown, luxury model, old as the hills but clean and shiny.

This is near the Tokyo Dome and is a betting place, when we came out of the Quilt show it was packed and very noisy with lots of men placing bets and all watching screens.

There was a mosaic all around the edge of the dome. Apparently this is a baseball dome and it seats 50,000 people.

First glimpse of the show, looks small, but believe me we spent 7 and a half hours there today and saw about maybe half of it, it is massive and thronging with people. I went through 2 batteries in my camera. I will post some photos of one exhibit at the end of this post, but am too tired to upload a lot of photos and will do the quilt show justice in separate posts over the coming days.

Tonight Deb and I decided to not meet up with the other tour members and go to dinner, as we wanted to experience an authentic Tokyo experience and the restaurants that cater for 30 or so women aren’t the ones you should go to. So we headed off on our own.

This kind of dish is called yakatori, it was truly delicious, washed down, of course, with a nice French wine!

The following pictures were from one exhibit at the show, Hansel and Gretel. Everything was fabric and stitched.

The following pictures give you an idea of the amount of people there. For the first hour it was quite nice and you could get good photos of whole quilts but after than it was a bun fight, but quite fun. The above photo was the people in front of the Supreme winner. The photo below shows the people streaming in during the day, this was still going on when we left at 4:30. After fighting my way though to get a photo of the supreme quilt, I came out laughing and chuffed with myself as I was taller than most and could hold my camera above all the heads. There was an American girl doing exactly the same as me and we laughed together about this was the only time at a quilt show we were able to do that.

Goodbye snowy Kyoto

We awoke to snow this morning, a clear sunny day but very cold.

We went to the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine where on the 25th of every month they have a market day. This is a mixture of new and used items for sale along with food.

We then went to the last of our workshops held at the Shibori Museum. We were met off the bus by the enthusiastic owner who made sure we arrived safely without slipping over, we had a quick class of clamping and dyeing a scarf. This was fun and easy.

We then headed off to the Nishiki Market, Kyoto’s food market, was awesome, I have no idea what some of the foods were and forgot to take many photos, it was amazing.

Then onto the bullet train and off to Tokyo.

Kyoto day 2

Today was freezing! It didn’t get above 2 degrees! Glad I brought my possum merino glove, socks, hat, jersey I needed all of it today.

This morning we headed off to the Heianjingu Shrine.

This was a kumquat tree with its winter cover.

Then we visited the Museum of Traditional Crafts. They put on a show for us with the director giving a speech and explaining about the regional crafts which are now revered and they are elevating the skills with government grants and special quality marks. It was amazing how many of the revered skills were textile based. They had some artisans come in and give us demonstrations, and some were able to make things.

We then had some free time to wander around and do some shopping. The two photos below are of a needle shop. It was so small you could only fit 4 people in it at a time, so beautiful he sold only needs and pins and small travelling needlework kits.

Then we were off to a Yuzen painting workshop, this was painting fabric with stencils, not my favourite workshop of all the ones we have done so far, but that was only because the stencils I chose were not great and the colours were very bright.

Next door there was a fabric painting workshop where men were painting five metre lengths for obi.

Loved their brushes

Most of the textile industries we have been to are in peoples homes – we don’t get to see where they live but the premises are either beside or under their houses. They all have little zen gardens, some of them as small as 2 square metres. You would not have any idea of what’s around, they are tucked down little alleys and no signage outside. The rooms we have been into don’t have windows out onto the street, the windows that face the street are covered with paper screens and the only windows with clear glass face into their zen garden, none of their windows face neighbours etc, they are covered with the screens so let in light but no view.