Northallerton, and I had never been before, is a gem of a market town in Yorkshire. The sun was shining as DH and I made an early start and headed up the A1. Approximately 140 miles later and we arrived in Northallerton. The purpose of our visit was to join Katie Chaplin for "Japan Day". We had arrived in plenty of time so wandered into the town and found a wonderful deli/tea shop, called Lewis & Cooper, where we had coffee and some sustenance after our long journey. Then back to The Forum for Japan Day.
Japan Day was a collaboration between Katie, of Japan Crafts, and Emiko Kajino, of Kimono World. The Forum was filled with a combination of like-minded Japanophiles and kimono-clad Japanese ladies. There were a wonderful range of activities and displays of Japanese martial arts.
The members of Kimono World would be performing at the Forum in the evening and during Japan Day were involved in sharing their culture and skills. We enjoyed a brief tea ceremony with two Tea School Grand Professors, learned about Japanese embroidery and beadwork with Jane Smith and about silk painting, calligraphy and temari balls.
and were shown how our names might be written in Hiragana, the basic Japanese phonetic script, and Katakana, a script mainly used for words imported from non-Japanese languages.
With help from the poet-in-residence, Judith Lesley Marshall, we were invited to write a contribution to the collection of Spring Haiku. Inspired by the wonderful journey through the Yorkshire countryside that we had enjoyed I came up with this:
Haze of bright, soft green
unfurling, springing open,
clothing the hedgerows.
I was tempted into buy some fabric and a bag pattern from Katie's dad who was manning the Japan Crafts stall and I bought a secondhand copy of Clarence Hornung's "Traditional Japanese Stencil Designs" which is inspiring.
I was delighted by the opportunity to be dressed in kimono by lovely Eme Shiratsuchi who has been studying kimono dressing for six years. I felt so elegant and the obi certainly made me stand up straight, I added a pair of geta and then couldn't move. Maybe with a lot more practice I will move elegantly too.
Thank you to Katie, Emiko and everyone involved in making Japan Day such a great event. I don't suppose you're reading this though, I imagine you're asleep or at least relaxing in the sunshine!