Last few photos that didn’t fit in earlier posts from our woodworking tour of Japan. Big cypress at a shrine.
This is the shrine and after making a donation the appropriate bows, handclaps and ringing the bell you get a go on the taiko drum. I have wanted to have a go on these for years since first seeing performances like this.

The old dry stone walls were quite something, look how tightly fitted the stones are but completely random, each stone clearly cut in situ.

One of the pleasures of the trip and one of the surprises was the food.  I always enjoy trying different foods and at times it could be quite entertaining as you had no idea what you were eating or what it was going to taste like. I was most surprised by how it was possible to eat out for very reasonable cost (£5) particularly in the noodle bars.
Communal meals on the worksite were particularly enjoyable.
This is a place that I have read about for  many years, the Mingeikan is the folk craft museum set up by Soetsu Yanagi. His writings including the unknown craftsman were inspriational when I first read them. The museum was well worth the visit though perhaps not as extensive as I imagined. The collection includes 17,000 artifacts but only a small proportion are on display.
Whilst on our brief sightseeing tour at the end of our stay we also visited the Great Buddha at Kamakura. 13m tall this statue was cast in bronze in 1252, very impressive. Originally located inside a large temple hall the temple buildings were destroyed multiple times by typhoons and a tidal wave in the 14th and 15th centuries. So, since 1495, the Buddha has been standing in the open air.
 Then back on the Tokyo subway and a bus to the airport brought us home.
The aim of the trip was to bring European and Japanese craftsmen together to share and learn, whilst our cultures are very different they also have many strong similarities. Two weeks was only enough for a brief taste but we had a great time and made good friends.

Author Robin Wood

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