Distractions, reflections

David Ing, at large … Sometimes, my mind wanders

2007/07/25 The crafts industry in Kyoto

The second focus of the Johnnie Hillwalker walking tour is the crafts industry in Kyoto. This led us east and north through the back streets of Kyoto. Our visits were to a few small factories, but most of the work is done in homes. We were told to look out for trucks moving materials on the narrow streets.

20070724_Hillwalker_side_street.jpg

The first stop was the Kyosendo fan shop. Check out the overhanging sign!

20070724_Hillwalker_Kyosendo_fan_shop.jpg

Making fans in Kyoto is a completely manual activity. We were in the shop long enough to watch two quality control inspectors. After handling a few fans, each of them would stop a use a pair of cutting pliers to trim the product.

20070724_Hillwalker_Kyosendo_fan_trimming.jpg

On the wall behind quality control were stacks of fans being pressed. I liked the design of the low-tech machinery!

20070724_Hillwalker_Kyosendo_fan_weights.jpg

In the shop, Diana found a bargain small non-folding fan. Watching the wrapping of the purchase — the Japanese seem to presume everything is a gift — was worth the small price.

The Kyoto back streets were mostly rows of closely-packed houses. In midday, there didn’t seem to be many people at home. We got a glimpse of some boys, curious at the passing tourists.

20070724_Hillwalker_side_street_doorway_boys.jpg

Johnnie said that the elders of old Kyoto are dying off, and their children don’t know what to do with the homes. They’ve usually moved on to jobs with big companies that don’t suit the Kyoto lifestyle. There are so few children in the area that the local school will soon be shut down.

20070724_Hillwalker_Kyoto_school_closing.jpg

Another of the local handicrafts are paper lanterns. The motion of the lantern suggests that there might have been a breeze, but it really wasn’t enough to help us in the humid 35-degree-Celsius-plus weather.

20070724_Hillwalker_lantern_shop.jpg

The original head office of prominent Kyoto business was a highlight of the tour. The company is the Japanese leader in the production of playing cards, in a game that every Japanese child is supposed to know.

20070724_Hillwalker_Nintendo_head_office.jpg

The rest of the world doesn’t seem to know about the playing cards, though. They prefer the game consoles. Nintendo has since moved on to larger headquarters. Diana later picked up a deck of cards in the Kyoto Tower building.

20070724_Hillwalker_Nintendo_plaque.jpg

More than three hours after we started the walking tour, we crossed over the Kamo River to the east side of Kyoto.

20070724_Hillwalker_Kamo_River_bridge.jpg

We had a brief stop for a piece of inari sushi. It was freshly made and delicious, but sushi isn’t as much a novelty outside of Japan as it used to be. In addition, we stopped by a pastry shop for a sweet and a cup of cold tea. The final stop was a pottery shop. Dishes and bowls might make good souvenirs, but they’re pretty heavy in luggage.

This walk through old Kyoto shows a way of life that probably hasn’t changed much over at least 50 years. Along the way, a geisha house in decline was pointed out. The city has chosen to focus its development into Gion, so the economics of supporting training of geishas from a young age doesn’t work out. The viability of producing Japanese crafts such as fans, lanterns and pottery is tough in these days of globalization.

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • RSS on Coevolving

    • Four system traps, in undesirable regimes
      While the adaptive cycle and panarchical connections reflect the possiblity of movement from one stable state to another, it’s possible to get “stuck” in a disfavoured trap.  Social ecological systems involve both natural systems and human systems. After widespread recognition of the 2002 Panarchy book, reflections in 2010 revealed further development of the theory and […]
    • Types of learning, with panarchical change as (i) incremental, (ii) lurching, and (iii) transformational
      In order to appreciate the influence of resilience science and panarchy on ongoing research into systems changes, revisiting foundational works sometimes resurfaces insights.  In the 2002 Panarchy book, Chapter 15 provides a summary of findings. In the course of the project hat led to this volume, we identified twelve conclusions (Table 15-1) in our search for […]
    • Sustainability from ecological anthropology: the second life of trees
      What might a non-anthropocentric view of sustainability look like?  This would probably include regeneration of species alongside others in the ecosystem.  With some recent presentations, an idea that resonates with audiences is the “The Second Life of Trees”, credited by Tim Ingold (2002) to John Knight (1998).  Ingold sees continuity of life not only of […]
    • Hypotheses Concerning Living Systems | James Grier Miller
      Towards a general theory of living systems, we should be looking beyond the singletons of a hierarchical level, i.e. (i) cell, (ii) organ, (iii) organism, (iv) group, (v) organization, (vi) community, (vii) society, and (viii) supranational level. In a scientific approach, James Grier Miller created a list of hypotheses.  In the 1100+ page book, the […]
    • A General Theory of Living Systems | James Grier Miller
      When exploring the meaning of Living Systems, it’s pretty hard to ignore the major works of James Grier Miller (1916–2002) with a book thus titled.  In addition to the 1978 book Living Systems (of 1168 pages!) some additions were published in 1992 in Behavioral Science, the Journal of the Society for General Systems Research. Miller […]
    • When Unfreeze-Move-Refreeze Isn’t Working: Doing, Thinking and Making via Systems Changes Learning | SCiO 2022-07-11
      For their community of systems practitioners, Systems and Complexity in Organisation (SCiO) UK invited a presentation at their Virtual Open Meeting in July. Presenting in a 45-minute slot, the slides at http://coevolving.com/commons/2022-07-11-doing-thinking-making-systems-changes were covered in 38 minutes, leaving time for a few questions and comments. The agenda mainly focused on “Doing”, with “Thinking” and “Making” […]
  • RSS on Media Queue

  • RSS on Ing Brief

    • The Aesthetics of Nature | Carlson and Berleant (2004)
      Towards a non-anthropocentric view of aesthetics, we explore the legacy of work in the aesthetics of nature. The collection of essays in The Aesthetics of Natural Environments (2004), edited by Allen Carlson and Arnold Berleant, illuminates some of the issues and debates on this perspective. In the Acknowledgements for the 2004 book is a trail […]
    • Genealogy of Systems Thinking | Debora Hammond | 2002
      In the history of science of systems thinking, Debora Hammond related the backgrounds and connections of the founder of the Society for General Systems Research, that is now the International Society for the Systems Sciences. Boulding (1956) plays a large role in framing two orientations towards “general systems theory”. Kenneth Boulding used to distinguish between […]
    • Moral character in human systems (Geoffrey Vickers) | Adams, Catron, Cook (1995)
      Geoffrey Vickers saw human systems as different, with moral character distinguishing from natural and manmade systems. Gregory Bateson, in a more general view of systems, saw morality as entering in systems processes.
    • Protein remover tablets (RGP)
      As protein remover tablets for RGP contact lenses become more difficult to find, the hydrogen peroxide solutions are an easy-to-find alternative.
    • Book review of ZHANG, Zailin (2008) “Traditional Chinese Philosophy as the Philosophy of the Body” | Robin R. Wang | 2009
      In this review of a philosophical work written in Chinese, a comparison is made between Chinese philosophy centering on the body, in comparison to Western philosopy centered on the mind. (I found a reference to this book, tracing back from Keekok Lee (2017) Chapter 9, footnote 8.
    • Approche systémique
      The translation from English "systems thinking" to French "la pensée systémique" misses meaning. "Approche systémique" has lineage to "Conférences Macy", "General System Theory (Bertalanffy)" and "Gregory Bateson"
  • Meta

  • Translate

  • Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
    Theme modified from DevDmBootstrap4 by Danny Machal