Thank you!

The titles for these posts are becoming quite a challenge! It’s like I’m on a big cake that is getting an extra layer added every day!

I just realised that, though you seem to be enjoying the text and pictures you are still missing out on a lot here… you should serve yourself a big cup of popcorn tea and get some elevator music in the back (like this one).

But let’s get back to 19/2

I finally had the honour of meeting Mayu, my guide for the day. She’d arranged to visit the bamboo grove of Arashiyama early in the morning so it wouldn’t get so crowded. But first we stopped at a shrine and I took the opportunity of asking her which charm could suit me.



There were charms for many occasions but none of them suited me, so we went on.



When we arrived at the grove Mayu was surprised to see so little people in it. It was exceptional and very beautiful. When getting out we saw a path that was without a hedge so we took that one too. In the middle of it were 2 statues with coins on their heads, so I asked my guide and that was for thanking the gods for all good things that are happening. Then this had to be the opportunity to thank for all the nice things that were on my path for the last few days…

Later on we went to lunch and I had dombori with fish for the first time. A very delicious dish!

Then we met some other members of the Good Samaritan Club to go for a sumi-e workshop with Ms Kono. It was very nice. I learned new ways of loading the brush, how to paint bamboo in the wind and learned the theory of painting bamboo in the rain.


After that the day wasn’t over yet! Ms Kono had suggested us to see the exhibit on the domain of the Shokokuji tempel (2nd of 5 Zen-tempels of Kyoto) in the Jotenkakumuseum where we should observe the work of 伊藤若冲 – Itō Jakuchu. Delightful!

So far for the icing on the cake! Then came the Dutch cherry! Ms Kono had also suggested a shop … and so an half hour later we were speechless to see the most beautiful shop ever!


Thank you Mayu for this wonderful day!



Gisteren dus in een ooghoek shodo opgemerkt in het gebouw van het museum voor Westerse Kunst in Ueno. Puur toeval!

Eigenlijk dacht ik dat museum over te slaan maar dat zat mee in een combi-ticket… En neen, die calligrafen komen niet uit het Westen, het zijn Japanners…

Maar goed, de tentoonstelling zou vandaag pas open gaan, dus ik terug naar Ueno.

Ondanks de goeie raad van S. over de goedkoopste vervoeropties bracht de zon vanochtend nog een betere optie: de immer gratis benenwagen… Mét een dikke halve ton extra’s onderweg naar Ryogoku station.

Nu ik die foto terugzie vind ik het jammer dat ik er zelf niet bij ben gaan staan. Misschien toch maar eens zo’n armprotese (selfiestick) kopen.

En dan dus bewust naast Googlemaps gelopen, de lange weg naast het water gekozen … Zoiets leest ge dus nergens, maar gisteren hadden S. en ik het nog over het feit dat het zovelen ontgaat hoeveel water er is in Tokyo… Zonde om over te slaan! Iedere brug ziet er totaal anders uit  en zou je doen geloven dat je elders bent!  
 Dan de tentoonstelling (daar maak ik een aparte post van want die was de max!) 
En dan de belofte aan Kiéro: alle beren van Ueno Zoo op de gevoelige plaat vastgelegd. Samen met wat observatie voor traditionele Sumi-E.


En dan was het al middag… Al late middag zelfs omdat die expo zo supercaligrafalisticexpialishodocious was en omdat ik daarom toch maar  besliste om wat later te vertrekken.

Uiteindelijk om 16u 33 vertrokken met de shinkansen richting Kyoto. Reisgids erbij gepakt: “vraagt u bij de stoelreservatie naar een stoel bij het raam aan de rechterkant om Fuji-san te kunnen zien”. Wist ik dus niet voor het opstappen, jammer… 

Opgestapt, plaats gezocht. Raad eens waar mijn plekje was… Yes! I’d got a golden ticket! Bij het raam aan de rechterkant!

En weet je, hier zijn ze heel bijgelovig… Ik dus ook nu. Mij dunkt dat als ge de top van Fuji-san niet hebt kunnen zien door de wolken dat ge dan minstens nog eens moet terugkomen… Ja, lap!
Maar neen, ‘t was nog niet gedaan! Net aangekomen in Kyoto. Bij vertrek thuis dacht ik: “Ik ga mij ginder toch een fles Shiseido shampoo zien te vinden, zoals meter vroeger voor mij kocht”

Raad eens wat mijn badkamer mij te bieden heeft…



Spreading sumi-e ;-)

Just got a new mail from Japan. By M., a student volunteering to guide tourists around and practicing her English. I’ve come across more than one such organisation during my preparations. It sounds great. You contact them via their site and they match you with one of their members. From then on you fix everything directly in person. Logically you have to pay for the transportation, lunch and entrance fees of your guide but apart from that their service is free (or in some cases you pay by spreading peace over the world). img_0009

M. had confirmed that she would guide me around in Kyoto. That was something to look forward to! But it got even better…

When I filled out the application form I’d mentioned my interest in sumi-e. She had had courses in shodo when she was younger and was eager to personalise the tour around those themes… Wow! Great news!

I had heard from sumi-e teachers and enthousiasts alike that the technique wasn’t very popular in Japan anymore. That it became harder and harder to find craftsmen who still make our precious materials. That the so called Living National Heritage was experiencing great difficulty in finding successors.

But then today a new message from my guide in Kyoto… with such great news!

During the preparations for our excursion she met a sumi-e artist who would love to meet us. That during the conversation M. got more and more intrigued by the technique that she wants to try it for herself… And if it would be OK for me if she arranged a little course for us, and if that would be ok for me than it’s out of the question that I would be paying her fee for attending…

Can someone pinch me now please?

You have to know that this is not the first mail in this tone. I am feeling so welcome in Japan already! You can hardly imagine what’s going to happen in the next weeks! The kids are less enthousiastic but I am counting the nights as they do when their birthdays approach! It’ll be worthwhile! I only have to sleep for 12 nights!!


… My Maps is very useful!

Planning with My Maps

I’ve been dreaming of travelling to Japan for years. Daydreaming while flipping the pages of travelguides and browsing blogs. When I heard about My Maps 2 years ago it was a nice gift. Finally I was able to keep all this information together in 1 place that’s always within reach.

I’ve had fun giving every spot it’s own colour and icon and adding my personal comments to each of them. Now that I’m planning my trip on a relatively short period of time it comes in handy. I can see which places are close to each other and thus decide where to stay a few nights.

Een stukje van MyMap Japan
A piece of MyMap Japan

Travel directions

You even have the possibility to generate travel directions directly in My Maps. That is, when you travel by car, because unfortunately the public transport option is only available in Google Maps… Let’s hope that will change soon…

Other possibilities

My Maps is a great tool for private use but it also offers the possibility to upload a list of addresses. This could be useful for example to visualise the geographical spread of a list of clients.


What happend before…

2016 started as a very special year…

For years I’ve been dreaming, planning without purpose… and now suddenly I get the opportunity to make that dreamtrip… Off to Japan, to the roots of my passion… sumi-e.

I’ll be travelling solo, 3 weeks without my loved ones to a country of which I don’t speak the language… I sometimes tell myself I get the chance to get lost and make sure to find my way to get back in time for the flight home. ;-)

Why do I go? Because I love to wander off on my own from time to time… Because it’s time to go and thank those who make the wonderful materials I love to paint with!

How I dare to take off? Well, a year ago I would have passed, but since I see so many people cheering up our world by making their dreams come true, why wouldn’t I give it a try?