Mar 5, 2014

A Golden Moment

My friend Olivia believes the best way to explore a new place is to talk to as many people as possible. Her Japanese language abilities are excellent and always improving, so she's able to have conversations with anyone she meets and befriend them in no time. She has not only been "adopted" by several families in her town of Noto-cho, but also in Nanao!

Down Ipponsugi street, there is an old man and his wife who make butsudan - Buddhist altars found in temples and homes. Ever since Olivia first popped into the store to look around, they have effectively become her Japanese grandparents. While visiting Nanoa, she took a few of us along to visit the old couple in their golden showroom.

Butsudan, approximately $500,000.

The couple were very friendly and welcoming. As soon as we entered they were excited to see us, and pulled up chairs at a round table so we could join them for green tea. Olivia translated as they explained they were very happy because one of their butsudan had just sold (one of twenty per year). Then the old man began to tell us how he was one of seven craftsman who works on each of these small golden temples.

The delicate gold leaf from Kanazawa used to coat the butsudan.

Showing off his handiwork.

The husband disappeared outside for a long time, and returned with cake!

His wife told us about her love of ikebana - the Japanese art of flower arrangement. "Do you want to see my ikebana license?" she asked us. We said sure. Instead of a small plastic card, she brought over a long wooden board with beautiful kanji painted over it -- it took an expert in a whole different art to make it.
Ikebana license

So if the best way to visit a place is to talk to as many people as possible, and you don't speak the local language that well, you can still have unique adventures if you team up with someone who does. Thanks, Olivia!


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