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Autumn in Kyoto

Autumn in Kyoto

We are often asked to recommend the best dates to see cherry blossoms and fall colors. and indeed, there is ample “factual” information available on the Internet on the subject.  However, nature doesn’t always co-operate with published schedules. This fall, for example, the peak of the maple colors is at least 2 weeks “late”. The hot summer is much talked about as the reason.   Whatever.  Kyoto is beautiful in any season, and one brilliant red tree at Kokedera (also known as Saihoji, the Moss Temple) today was thrilling...
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Masa Fujiwara

Masa Fujiwara

I visited the home of an artist today, who lives in a traditional wooden merchant house. I had a “Kyoto moment” enjoying the view of their tiny, sun-dappled garden from their living room. Later , I had dinner with my friends Sarah Brayer and Masa Fujiwara last night at their house in north Kyoto. Masa, who had spent a long day guiding happy Esprit clients, foraged in his garden for fresh greens and other vegetables, and then, in about 30 minutes, created this beautifully present, gourmet masterpiece meal. Note the flowers in the basket behind Masa. In addition to being a great chef, he also practices a type of ikebana done for tea ceremony, using native plants, flowers and grasses found in the...
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Visit to Mori-san

Visit to Mori-san

Yesterday, on my first day back in Japan, I unexpectedly found myself in Yasu, about an hour from Kyoto. I visited the Mori family, who are one of the last families who do the traditional indigo dyeing process from start to finish: growing the indigo plants, composting the leaves to make the “tskumo” the dyestuff, and then dyeing both silk threads and washi paper.  His son is the 5th generation to continue this work.  It is always such an inspiration to see the great pride that Japan’s traditional artisans take in their work, the careful and precise process and the exquisite finished product.  The Mori’s have the honor of dyeing the washi paper used on the tearoom wall at Katsura Imperial Villa, and have done other special dye projects for the Imperial family.   Note the giant chyrsanthemum plants guarding the drying indigo...