Talking bosh

Ginza is the popular destination not only for tourists but also for people living in Tokyo. In Ginza, a variety of goods is available such as expensive Japanese craftworks, reasonable apparels and daily food stuff. The most attractive point of Ginza is its beauty of the streetscape and it is special to Japanese just to walk around in Ginza area because of its mixture of modern and Japanese heritage.

Nowadays, I am astonished to watch the shoppers sitting in front of UNIQLO or other Puchi pura (affordable price) shops, eating something and dumping rubbish on the streets in Ginza. Some of my friends said that they felt really sorry for these disgusting scenes in recent Ginza streets; therefore, after visiting Ginza they used underground passages to walk to the stations in order not to see the miserable state of lovely Ginza.

Gold fish evokes a summer image in Japan. At Nihonbashi and Roppongi, the famous Art Aquariums open which we should not miss during summer holidays. Every tank of water is spotlighted and represents the great sceneries of Japanese four seasons using the mixture of vertical and real pictures. Unfortunately I have no time to visit there, therefore, I enjoyed the gold fish sweets produced by

Toraya . Yummy.

Japanese calligraphy is known as the art of Shodo. Usually, brushes, special Japanese paper (called washi), solid ink (sumi), a ink stone (suzuri) and a long and thin paper weight to place paper (bunchin) are necessary for Shodo.

This round cloisonné paper weight is useful for Shodo as its round shape can generate some spaces at the top of the paper. For beginners, the space on the top of the paper is precious as it helps them to use a brush easily.

Actually I found it at my parents’ house but it would be available at Ando Cloisonne at Ginza. Except for the paper weight, you are recommended to ask your own calligraphy instructor what level of the gadgets you should prepare for Shodo in advance.

What kind of bag I should have is a problem every time I put on Kimono (Japanese traditional outfit).

Japanese traditional style bag might be out-of-date, but up-to-the-minute Western style leather bag such as Loewe could be a little bit disgraceful although the bag itself might be sophisticated.

This bag, produced by Ichizawa Shinzaburo Hanpu in Kyoto, is the gift given by my friend.The pattern of the bag is known as Shippou moyou which represents the seven treasures written in the Buddhist scriptures meaning harmony of the world and the quality of the fabric is outstanding. Hanpu means the canvas fabric commonly used as the sailcloth.

The only problem of purchasing this bag is that Ichizawa Shinzaburo Hanpu sells the products only at the shop in Kyoto or via their website. Please check the website in English. It is really reasonable and affordable.

As Suzuki Daisetsu (1959) describes that sipping a cup of tea with friends ‘lifts the mind above the perplexities of life’ in Zen and Japanese Culture, the tea ceremony might lead to cultivating self-discipline and a feeling of serenity.

But the most precious moment during the tea ceremony is actually having sweets. Usually, we can enjoy two types of sweets such as higashi (dried confectionary) and omogashi (literaly main sweets but actually moist sweets). These sweets play an important role to visually produce the seasonal appearanace of each month at the tea ceremony.

As it is impossible to take pictures during the real tea ceremony, the uploaded photo is actually taken at home. The name of the sweet is Kimihyou (a yellow gourd) made by the long-establised confectionery Kuya at Ginza. This Kimihyou is only available from November to April and could be categorized as omogashi because it is moist. Honestly saying, my family loves Monaka better than Kimihyou which will be explained later in details.

Kuya is the most famous shop which the customer cannot get sweets without any reservation. If you are interested in buying sweets at Kuya , please call them at 03-3571-3304 (10:00-17:00 weekdays & 10:00-12:00 on Sat.). I bet you will be satisfied with the quality of sweets at Kuya. For beginners, please taste widely-known Monaka (a bean-jam-filled wafer) as you can enjoy the combination of delicious An (bean-jam) and crispy wafers. If you bring Kuya's Monaka as a souvenir, you might be surly considered as competent.