"The fabric place is just awesome. There are many small shops. Not big at all. The shops are mostly old and have bare walls. BUT there are so many varieties of materials there. Materials I've never seen! And so inexpensive. I enjoyed visiting all these shops. Often times they sell cotton for a dollar for 1m (1yd is 92cm, 100cm is 1m). They are not the best quality in Japan but good enough for everyday thing. Some places sell more expensive materials from overseas."
"One shopkeeper told me they used to be wholesale shops. Individual customers couldn't buy any. They sold like half a roll or for a whole role. Now they made the place to be inexpensive, varieties of kinds, and some of the shops sell the same yardage as from Japanese pattern and sewing books."
Many fabric rolls were displayed right on the sidewalks. What was unusual about this is that the space they were stored might not be close to the shopkeepers store. The honor system is well and alive in Japan! According to Toshiko, some of the signs shown in the collage above said:
The yellow sign said "Please go to pay at the third shop from here.
The blue sign said "Please don't take these " and "Please don't take these to the next door shop, but take the to our shop - HAPPY. Please take them to HAPPY" (I thought they are saying not to take them home, but they meant not to take them to the next door neighbor).
The town of fabric consists of 92 associated shops with fruit, flower, and other shops interspersed. The assciated shops sell not only textiles in raw form, but shops for jeans, clothing, beads, hats, buttons, belts, and quilts. Awww, wouldn't it be fun to visit there?
Toshiko and I have been enjoying conversations about kimonos. They are held in high regard and are quite valuable. Our discussions have led to modern clothing designed and made with elements of the traditional kimono. In the collage above, you will note a Japanese Hoari jacket. It is an American version of the Japanese design. It was a photo from a local quilt show and had an attached note that said that the length of the sleeve is made according to the age of the individual (the younger you are, the shorter can be the sleeves). I am not sure why, but I like the concept! Toshiko's experience and expertise doesn't mesh with the Americanized version of the attached note, though. She says that all kimonos have sleeves of the same length.
Thank you, Toshiko, for sharing so generously with us!
Photos are by Toshiko@2009 and her son, Joel@2009.