Gifts and memories

Bringing back momentos and presents from Japan is something I make some effort to do. Its not just about the item itself, its craft, or its price, it is just as much about the story of its purchase. Relevance and importance that becomes part of the gift

I can remember just about every place where I got those gifts for others. The tea cup ‘for every day use’ for my mother from the laneway in central Nara; the locket for my wife in Kawagoe, made by a local artisan; the flamboyant glasses case for her as well in Numazu; the exquisite Noritake cup and saucer than came with elegant wrapping and box from the Matsuzakaya Department store in Shizuoka; the old ceramic bowl for my daughter from a tiny store in Mishima. Intangible memories now attached to tangible goods.

Not necessarily gifts that are unique to Japan, but from a place that is unlikely to be visited again.

While the outcome has mostly been satisfying, the process does not come that easily. I am not a great shopper! In fact, it can cause me grief, and take out a day from the travel itinerary.

You might have seen me: grey haired man, furrowed brow pressing forward against shop windows, straining to eye off that special gift. That’s usually me.

Careful readers might note that the examples above relate to girls in my life. What about the boys?

Last trip it got easy. With 4 nights in Mishima (about an hour south if Tokyo) I got to walk the streets a fair bit. This was particularly in early evenings, on the prowl for that special place to eat after a long day seeing and doing.

I did pass by the closed Esuno-ya t-shirt shop and was struck by the mix of 60’s psychedelia, thrash-metal, J-Pop and politics jammed into this tiny place. This eclectic place sang ‘my boys’.


About TonyJ2

I live in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. I started writing stories about my trips to Japan largely to be able to print them out for my Mum to read. Now it has got a bit out of control. After nine trips, 100+ posts and another 200 in rough draft, my irregular postings on Having a Ball in Japan will go on for a few years yet. Having a Ball in Japan is not just a bunch of travel photos, and picks up my interests in the history and culture of Japan, emergency services and disaster management, as well as hours travelling by railways big, small and tiny. Awareness to Action takes the emergency services and disaster management theme deeper into experience and resilience. Effectively Awareness to Action is my professional blog. My partner and I have been lucky enough to do a fair bit of travel both in Australia and overseas. Escaping the Nest chronicles our times in United States, France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and soon to be Ireland. Tony
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