Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What We Brought Back

Though Steph and I filled a backpack entirely with our purchases in Japan, once unwrapping everything (and what nice wrapping and packaging it was!), it's safe to say we didn't buy that much during the three weeks we were away. What we did buy were small things, items that you can't find in America, and certainly not in Marquette.

What we brought back I

Steph has had some of these items for a while (such as the large maneki neko, black maneki neko, and daruma), but the teeny and fat maneki nekos are from our trip to Japan. The teeny one was purchased at Todai-ji, and the fat one, which is a bank full of our leftover yen, was bought at Nijo-jo. The two owl pendants are from the Nunobiki ceramics studio in Higashiomi, and the two omamori (good luck and dreams come true) are from Kinkaku-ji. As Steph mentioned in a previous entry, the two tanuki figures are from the Ohmi Merchant Village and Hikone Castle. The Nihonga painting, behind the large maneki neko, was made during one of our workshops at JCMU with Mayumi Kakimi.

What we brought back II

We did get some useful things! We found a small bento box that matches the one our friends Molly and Caroline sent us a few months ago. We also bought plenty of chopsticks, little cups for bento boxes, teeny bottles for soy sauce, and of course, a Totoro bento box.

I love bugs. Japan loves bugs. It should be no surprise, then, that I purchased some buggy cuteness:

What we brought back III

Glass Beetles

The stickers and magnets are from a book/CD/DVD/video game/stationery store in Higashiomi. The store was amazing and full of very cute things, and it's a wonder we only escaped with a select few items. The glass beetles -- which are absolutely tiny -- are from the Glass Museum in Nagahama. There were many beautiful things for sale, and again by some miracle I left only with these teeny beetles.

What we brought back IV

The trip to Nara led to the purchase of cute deer. It's interesting to note that most of the deer stuffed animals sold in America are fawns or does, but almost all the deer toys we saw in Japan had antlers. I desperately wanted to find one of these while we were in Nara, but apparently they're only sold at the Kasuga Shrine, which we did not visit. Oh well, there's always next time!

What we brought back V

What we brought back VI

We definitely bought our fair share of keychains and mascots. Hikonyan was irresistible, and he now jingles along with me wherever I go.

What we brought back IX

While in Higashiomi, Steph and I thought we were going to run out of toothpaste, so we bought a new tube just in case. It's delightfully menthol-flavored. Also amazing is this hand sanitizer, whose mascot is a raccoon. Steph spotted it at Lawson's (the convenience store across the street from JCMU) one of the first nights we were in Hikone, and we just had to buy it.

What we brought back VII

While in Nagahama, Steph and I discovered a shop that sold Studio Ghibli merchandise... it was amazing, to say the least, and again, I'm astounded we purchased so little there. We left with a tiny magnetic Gigi, a Totoro heating pad, and plenty of Totoro handkerchiefs/napkins.

What we brought back XII

Across from the Nunobiki ceramics studio in Higashiomi, there is a Shinto shrine. It is said that the owls that roost there are good luck.

What we brought back VIII

We encountered some very beautiful fabrics and papers. Steph bought a couple lovely scarves and looks very nice when she wears them.

What we brought back X

We did bring some books home, as well! Steph bought two children's books, as well as a very nice guide to the animals, plants, and insects of Japan. The art inside is beautiful.

Also purchased: an amazing t-shirt and Nekopanchi!

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