Wednesday, November 30, 2005

More Pottery Shopping

I spent three days at a bi-annual pottery festival in southwestern Japan last week. As you can see, I found enough treasures to fill the trunk of my car. There were several tea parties, including one with the artist, his father, and ten other relatives and friends. I had an amazing time, and one of my favorite purchases was this frower pot.

I spent two of the days shopping with a friend, and we decided that we enjoy Japanese pottery so much because it is like affordable art. Everything is hand painted so each piece is unique and very beautiful. After three years I pretty much have the yen thing down, and can look at a price (for example, Y6,800) and know right away how much it is in US dollars (about $60). However, pottery prices range from very inexpensive to way beyond my budget, so I try to be extra careful. During my last trip to this area I was looking at sake cups and trying to decide between two pretty brown ones. I thought they were both around $60, but right before I asked the clerk for assistance I realized that one was $60 and the other was $600. That made my decision easier.

Which reminds me . . . when I first arrived in Japan (right before the holiday season in 2002), I found some nice, regional sakura rice bowls as a gift for my sister and brother-in-law, and decided to get some chopsticks to go with them. I found a very pretty set for only $3 each (a real bargain for nice chopsticks), and decided to buy two pair. As the Takashimaya rep was ringing up my purchase, I got confused because paying for the gifts took all of the yen I had at the time, and I started to wonder if I had done the math wrong. Yes, the chopsticks were $30 each, not $3. And, no, I didn't give them away. I still have them, and they're still in their wrapper.

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