Tuesday, March 15, 2016

More Hakone

Hokone, which I thought was the name of the town we're in, is actually this area that Mt. Fuji is in. I think. Not sure. Today we traveled by bus to a lake near Mt. Fuji, visited a Japanese art museum, took a ferry across the lake to a very nice hotel for a fabulous buffet lunch, then visited an Open Air Museum that was basically a magnificent sculpture garden that included a Picasso museum.

In the small town we're staying in, there's a famous private school for girls. During the war many families that had money moved here or bought a second home here for safety from bombing raids in Tokyo. Some of the school girls today are from Tokyo and take the train daily to this school, about a 1.5 hour ride one-way. This morning we were walking through town when a train stopped and these girls got off and walked toward the school. 

We passed a local tofu shop where fresh tofu was being made, from Canadian soy beans.

The weather made a magnificent recovery from yesterday's snow storm. The sky was crystal clear and Mt. Fuji was brilliant white with fresh snow. 

Our ferry ride across the glassy smooth lake took about 30 minutes. The ferry was almost empty, an advantage of traveling this time of year. This is Bob and Ann from Seattle. Mt. Fuji, in the background, was obscured by clouds just an hour later. 

Elizabeth and Robin on the bow of the ferry, with some sort of pirate-themed ferry in the background.

The Picasso Museum, located on the grounds of the Open Air Museum, held a great collection of Picasso paintings, pottery, ceramics, and prints. Very inspiring. Favorite Picasso quotes seen in the museum: "Everyone wants to understand art. Why not try to understand the song of a bird? Why do we love the night, the flowers, everything around us without trying to understand them? But in the case of a painting people think they have to understand." Also: "To copy others is necessary. But to copy oneself is pathetic."

On the way back to the hotel we stopped at a shop that created a certain style and technique of wood inlay art in 1892. This man is the 7th generation of his family to own this shop.

The inlay technique involve and ingenious method of creating wood patterns and slicing thin veneers of wood from a master block.

Our group watches a demo of the technique. They might look bored, but they were really fascinated. Really. After the demo, the shop sold quite a few products.

Tomorrow we bus to a train station, take a bullet train and eventually end up in Kanazawa.