When I travel to Japan I pack little beyond the necessities. I know that the hotels and ryokans supply visitors with many personal goods, and that a laundry room is usually available; therefore, my suitcase can be filled with interesting and beautiful merchandise from Japan. It always is.
Once in a while I want something that cannot fit inside of a suitcase or that could be damaged in the crush of goods. When I visited the Kyoto Handicraft Center I spent a long time looking at a selection of prints dating from the 1920's. I was very pleased to choose a rural scene dotted with crows.
Another time I was enamored by the ryokan experience and I coveted a futon and kakebuton. Of course I could not bring these items home from Japan. Instead, I purchased the futon form an online retailer called J-Life. I found a pattern written in English for a kakebuton, and with some difficulty I sewed a kakebuton of my own. Of that, my aging cat is very grateful.
Next I longed for a kotatsu, or a version of it. I didn't need the heating unit, but I wanted a nice low table to use for enjoying tea and cookies. Shopping at IKEA was the answer.
On my recent trip to Japan, I went searching for a bamboo rake - and I found one in Kanazawa. I held it and realized with dismay it would not fit in the overhead compartment on the airplane. When I returned home I contacted a Japanese nursery that shipped me the bamboo rake I wanted. Ah, but it is too beautiful to use!
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