Wednesday, 6 May 2015

A Good Break - 4th and 5th of May 2015

The break I planned for one day turned into two! All with good reason though: so I caught the train into Toyokawa and found a park to camp out in on the night of the 3rd. The next day I woke up around 6am and packed up, got some breakfast and rolled around to the hotel at 9am hoping for an early check-in, but the receptionist flat out refused and said it's against hotel policy for early check ins, so I had a good six hours to kill before I could get into my room. I decided to go for a walk around the area, and a few hundred metres down the road I saw a small coffee place that was run out of a home that I decided to give a try.

It turned out to be one of my best decisions of the trip. I was greeted by this fellow, Yoshimi-san, who owned and ran the place by himself:
Demonstrating how he uses his hammer stamp
I sat down and ordered a coffee, and whilst he was making it I got some time to admire the way he had decorated his shop. There were works of wrought iron art all over the shop that I later found out he had made all himself:

The shop itself. Seats about 10 people in total.
Iron wrought flowers

I think it translates "eye to eye"

Snowflake light fixture

Iron grape vine

I'm not sure what the Kanji means

Iron flowers next to the real thinkg. Inside the rose bud the word "LOVE" was forged

I was really impressed with the level of detail Yoshimi had managed to forge on each item. For example, there were incredibly detailed indents on the on the leaves of those flowers making them look like very much like the real thing. After bringing me my coffee he lit up a smoke and sat down with me for a chat, and I ended up telling him all about my walking trip. He was really interested in where I was going, so we looked the route up on his computer and he ended up giving me lots of advice on the places I could visit, such as castles, in the areas I am going to be passing through. At some point a lady who was a regular also came in and sat down, and took just as much interest as Yoshimi had. I ended up being there for about three hours or so chatting with them. Most importantly they let me know there was a festival on the next day, just a few train stops out from where we were, that showcased hundreds of people dressed as Edo Period (1603 - 1868) warriors. This I couldn't miss, so after thanking them both very graciously, I went back to the hotel and extended for another night.

The next day I awoke early went and got breakfast at Yoshimi's place, and caught a train to the festival. It turned out to be a fantastic day. I met some great people and saw some fantastic displays of traditional Japanese swordsmanship and gun warfare:

This lady came up behind me, slapped me on the back and gave me a beer. She told me she was 70 years old and had lost all her teeth by the age of 26. I bought her some tea and noodles to repay her, but not before she bought me two of these...
Pressed rice on a stick covered in sweet sauce.
I also met this couple who showed me around for the day and bought me some...
Okonomiyaki, a savoury Japanese pancake
The first warrior I saw was knocking back a beer

Between the accent and the drunkness I could not understand a word he said 
Me in front of the warrior troupe

They all looked like the real thing
Me with the guys
There were even some female warriors in the mix

There was some traditional sword fighting displays
I was told they were using real swords, which are extremely rare nowadays.

To prove it he made short work of this bits of wood
And then out came the guns
It was an quite a process to get them to fire, first loading them like a musket, then attaching a piece of burning rope to the gun. It probably took a good two minutes to reload and fire each bullet.

Here is a video of them firing:

All in all it was a fantastic day, one that I am not going to forget in a long time.

With the big day out I don't really feel like I have rested yet, so maybe another day at the hotel is on the cards. I will see

No comments:

Post a Comment