Wednesday, 15th November 2018
I did not plan these few days very well. After our mission to get to Hakone last night we worked out that we had to be up and out very early to catch an early morning bus if we wanted to be in Tokyo in time for Ben's Kintsugi class at 1pm.
While we were standing at the bus stop, Ben managed to nip down to the lakeside to take some photos before the bus arrived and we found a vending machine selling snacks to eat for breakfast.
This was our last travel day of the trip; from Hakone to Tokyo.
Once we were back in Tokyo, we headed straight for the trains that would take us to our Kintsugi class.
Kintsugi is the art of repairing broken ceramics with lacquer and gold. Each piece takes weeks or months depending on the complexity, but Sensei Showzi-san teaches a four-hour course to show you the basics. (Here's a link: Kintsugi in 1 day)
He provided small cups with v-shaped chips on the edge to the students. Since it was a fairly expensive experience (gold!) we only paid for Ben to take part. I felt a little guilty being there too but Showzi and his wife were very welcoming and let me take photos of the process.
The gold dust is sprinkled over the black lacquer and then blended together by dabbing it.
The cups are the fired to melt the gold and burnished by rubbing a smooth gem over the area once cooled.
The freshly lacquered cups were placed in a curing cupboard. The curing process takes too long for a half-day session, so the cup that Ben lacquered is different to the one he put gold onto and can take home.
While waiting for the cups to fire and cool, Sensei Showzi performed a tea ceremony in the style of a samurai and showed us other examples of his work. Delicate pieces of kintsugi with different mediums, and photos of larger pieces that were on display elsewhere.
Once the cups had cooled, we could take them home.
It was nice to think of how some previous guest of Showzi had worked carefully on these before us, and that the cups we'd worked on earlier would go to future guests in turn.
When the tea was finished and the class was over; we packed the cups carefully in our rucksack, and headed back out to the streets.
We found our way to Pokémon Center MEGA TOKYO, the largest Pokémon Center in Tokyo!
Now that we are back in Tokyo, we are also in our last hotel of the trip, so we can stock up on gifts without worrying about how we have to carry them around the country! We bought lots of plushies for Christmas gifts (and one or two for ourselves)
Then something to eat.