Have another cup of tea – Nagoya 名古屋市

At home I drink gallons of tea, or coffee if it’s a particularly rough day. In Japan it’s been no different. Hotel rooms and friends’ homes are stocked with green tea, consumed at any and all hours of the day. Comfort in a cup.

nagoya_tokyuhands
US Forces completely flattened Nagoya in WWII. Now it is a modern industrial city with wide streets and tall buildings, but very little charm aside from a few hidden gems tucked away. And yes, I did spend an afternoon in the local Tokyu Hands (Annex) shop on the left. Wouldn’t you?

This morning I’m looking out over Nagoya’s industrial skyline at the impending doom of a rain storm threatening to drench me and my suitcase when it comes time to head to the train station. Not particularly happy about that.

Have another cup of tea.

nagoya_dotsashiko
This hanafukin sashiko kit from Olympus is preprinted with a dot grid which allows you to design your own pattern.

My meeting with Olympus Thread Co. was enjoyable. The designers were curious to know what Western customers wanted, and I told them Cats and Flowers were definitely on the list. We discussed American quilting trends and how sashiko has been strong on the West Coast for decades, but only recently finding a welcome reception in the Midwest and Southern states (at least that’s been my experience). They loaded me down with their complete catalog, a portion of which I had to leave behind because it wouldn’t fit in my suitcase.

nagoya_kogin
Small kogin projects by one of the designers. She draws a grid in pencil and works out the designs based on that. The pink one at the bottom shows the back of a project.

Fortunately Nagoya isn’t all shades of gray roads and beige buildings. There is a fair amount of greenery scattered around town, and the park surrounding Nagoya Castle is very peaceful in the evening.

nagoya_shrine
Tucked away down a quiet semi-residential street in a high-end neighborhood, this shrine was too big to fit in one photo. I’m told the foliage from the ginkgo tree beside it turns a stunning shade of gold in the autumn. 

Nagoya’s famous castle has been rebuilt many times over the past four centuries and lends an elegant profile to an otherwise nondescript cityscape. The park is guarded by cats and corvids (crows? ravens?). The birds you can’t miss as they are big and loud, but the cats are mix of shy and in-your-face. Every single cat I tried to take a photo of would look me straight in the eye until I raised my camera, then it would look away. Very canny creatures.

nagoya_castle
The view of Nagoya Castle and the surrounding park make for a cool and relaxing stroll in the evening of an otherwise hot and humid day.

This is actually my third stop on this trip, and I apologize for not posting sooner. My internet connection was iffy for a few days. I have heaps of photos to share and stories to tell, including a visit to the Amuse Museum (a.k.a. the “Boro Museum”) in Asakusa, Tokyo, and Old Town Takayama (home of Hida Sashiko).

So much to do and I am out of tea, but there is a patch of blue sky on the horizon so I have hope the day will be a little brighter.

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