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

    • Root Metaphors and World Hypotheses | ST-ON 2023-01-09
      Researching the philosophical foundations of systems theory to understand the meanings of “causal texture, contextualism, contextural” from the Tavistock legacy led to philosopher Stephen C. Pepper. The philosophical lineage and contributions of Pepper were the focus for the January online meeting of Systems Thinking Ontario.  A deep reading of Pepper’s work (over a month!) was […]
    • World Hypotheses, Contextualism, Systems Methods
      The first Systems Thinking Ontario session for 2023 is scheduled for January 9, on “Root Metaphors and World Hypotheses”.  This is philosophical content, for which a guided tour and discussion will be better than attempting a solo reading of the World Hypotheses wiki on the Open Learning Commons.  Upon announcing the session on social media, […]
    • Reifying Systems Thinking towards Changes | ST-ON 2022-10-17
      The October online meeting of Systems Thinking Ontario presented an opportunity for an update on progress made by the Systems Changes Learning Circle by 2022.  A slide deck had been prepared an in-person seminar at the Universitat de Barcelona Graduate Programmes in Business, organized by Ryan C. Armstrong, one week earlier.  Our regular monthly meeting, […]
    • Knowing Better via Systems Thinking | U. Barcelona 2022-10-10
      Just before starting a trip to Spain, I received an invitation from Ryan C. Armstrong at the Universitat de Barcelona Business School to give some lectures.  The students in the bachelor’s programme in international business had a short mention of systems thinking in the first lecture of the operationa management class.  With that brief entry, […]
    • 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 […]
  • RSS on Media Queue

  • RSS on Ing Brief

  • 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