bamboo fever

June 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

Every prefecture and every city in Japan has its “famous” things. Usually, these things are food related, Hiroshima and Osaka have their rival styles of okonomiyaki, Kyoto has a special kind of mochi. Well it seems every where there is a special mochi which my elementary level taste fails to differentiate but always appreciates. Mmmmm, mochi…I am getting sidetracked.

Anytime you go travelling in Japan, people want to know if you have done or tried such and such famous thing. So it would be criminal for me to live in Fukui for two years and still not have visited the bamboo doll museum. It must be done. So, about a month back, I had my chance.

The museum itself is quite small, but as you walk through you can watch the artisans working on their craft and learn a thing or two about how these dolls are made. I took a few pictures in the workshop.

This guy was slicing bamboo into fine strings to be used for the dolls hair. He was very friendly and wanted to explain what he was up to in his broken English.

Little bald bamboo heads.

After geting bamboo hair.

Though it is hard to tell in the picture, the flowers on this bamboo kimono are carved on. Actually, in order for the carving to be raised, all the bamboo surrounding it is shaved down. Wow!









Here are some ladies with wooden hair. The one on the left with the various colours of bamboo would be quite expensive, possibly around 5000 to 10,000 yen ($50-100 US). The ladies on the right are classic Fukui style holding the characteristic daffodils which come out every February on the hills by the seaside.

After the workshop is the museum itself. I can`t imagine how much some of these dolls are worth, but the photos are free!

And, my personal favourite:

The hair is amazing and the look carved into the face goes so well with the whole image. In the museum there were many framed magazine articles about this doll, so I must not be the only one who is drawn to it.

After all the bamboo adventure, we went through the souvenir shop. I wanted to buy a doll, but turns out I have expensive tastes and the only ones I liked were at least 10,000 yen. Ouch! So, I left with a nice set of chopsticks. How very practical.


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