Like a good novel the history of Kyoto slowly reveals itself on a second or third reading. Today I am at Ms Nishino's fabulous fan shop for the third time, and again I learn something new.
Prior to the Meiji period if I wanted to go to a clothes maker, I would need to take off my shoes at the entrance, while the owner would carefully take items out of storage for me to inspect. It was like a private viewing of their collection of keepsakes. Likewise, when I step up to the tatami mat here to view their treasure trove of fans, it is like I am stepping back into the Nineteenth Century.
Folding fans were invented in Japan, originally for their nobility to hide their face in the ninth century, like a kind of masquerade. They were exported to China and later used by the European Royalty, but their design evolved to western taste with the addition of feathers and other materials. It is amazing the stories you hear from Nishino-san as you understand how their design and usage have changed over time.
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I knew my future was destined to be with Japan the moment I flew from Sydney to experience the atmospheric lane ways of Kyoto last century. From the skies above Sapporo to the old charm of Naha's alleyways, I have been enchanted by the beauty and variety on every island. I am humbled to have met many distinguished people in my role as Regional Partner, especially the national living treasures of Japan, such as the doll maker to the Imperial Family. From sushi cooking classes to Ninja training grounds I welcome your ideas on what you like from JapanTravel.com. Please visit us in Kyoto or Osaka and have some green tea or sake with us.