Saturday, 7 May 2011

Arimatsu, the Shibori center

Arimatsu, 20 minutes by semi-express, costing 340 Yen, on the Meitetsu line from Nagoya, is the center of Shibori or tie-dying dating back to 1608. Shibori originally was practised by the poor where old fabrics were refreshed by dying instead of buying new clothes. Later during the long peaceful period of the Tokugawa Shogunate, different arts flourished. Shibori developed along two paths; tie-dying of silk kimonos for the aristocracy and folk art from different regions.

This town was quiet for Golden week. Most shops were closed. We happened upon a Shibori shop and a chatty owner, who became more so when he discovered we were Malaysians. He had visited Penang and loved the food. A fellow resident of Arimatsu was a Malaysian married to a Vietnamese, who was previously married to a Japanese. He went on to share with us that the Malaysian had since obtained Japanese citizenship and was in the business of manufacturing mouldings for car parts.

I relate this only because it is notably unusual for this much personal information to be forthcoming from a perfect stranger, Japanese at that. His father, who joined the conversation, didn't have much to contribute except repeating 'Malaysia atsui' (hot). I think they are lovely friendly people who shared common ground.

In the old town, Edo period houses line narrow streets on either side. Symmetrical windows with thick shutters are characteristic and presumably keep out the cold winds effectively.

Overlapping eaves of roofs cleverly drain rainwater into ornate copper gutters.

The annual Shibori festival draws textile artists from all over the world. The world is small indeed. My cousin, on my mother's side, is a Shibori textile artist living in Cambridge, England. She is quite an authority on the subject and has been an invited speaker to Malaysia, USA and the UK. I remember her mention Arimatsu in her stories.

This exceptionally tall building houses festival floats through the year between displays. Again you see careful preservation of cultural artifacts for posterity.

Pretty wooden cottages tucked away in a quite nook.

1 comment:

Fonzi said...

Looks like you are having fun fun fun! i think you probably know Tokyo better than KL. cheers.