字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 Hello World! We're in Echizen, which is a 75 minute train ride from Japan's former captial: Kyoto. The thing about Kyoto nowadays, is there's a ton of tourists. It's for good reason, it's a mesmerizing place. But yeah, lots of people. Over in Echizen, you can get hands-on experience with traditional Japanese culture... without the crowds. Echizen is famous for a few things. Cabinets, or Echizen Tansu. Paper, or Echizen Washi. Or Knvies, Echizen Uchihamono. These are all traditional Japanese crafts. And to tell the truth, I'm not much of an arts and crafts guy. I appreciate art work, but I'm much more a sucker for practicality. So that's why when I saw the Echizen Tansu, the cabinets, I was surprised that they had a lot of it. The biggest one was that some of these were meant to be mobile. As in, if there was a fire, you'd push or pull these away. I think this was something the merchant class had, so think records and money. And speaking of money, some even had a built in abacus. The real fun things about these though, were the secret ways to open them up, as well as the hidden compartments. This, by the way, is the not so secret compartment for your katana. The first shokunin we visited was a master of Echizen Tansu. I find the word 'shokunin' difficult to translate, because in English people often say artisan, or sometimes craftsperson. But it's probably more akin to a master. Like you can't just make a few cabinets and call yourself a shokunin. After the Meiji period, people stopped making these parts, so I have to do it on my own. Ah, it's tough to make those little ones. I'm copying what was made around 1712. Usually the front is good, but I make the back good as well. If you see the back and front, you'll understand if it's a good "tansu" (cabinet) or not. I make anything. It's not only cabinets. - What do you make beside cabinets now? - Anything. - Anything? Like business card holders? - Small things like business card holders, yeah. I will cut here. I can make anything. I make anything. I started working at 18 after I finished school. I've been doing this since 18, but I can't make good things (he said sarcastically). Remember how I talked about the crowds of people in Kyoto? So this is a major shrine in Echizen called Otaki Jinja. No one was there. This shrine was orginally a Buddhist temple in the Edo period. But in the Meiji period, became a Shinto shrine. As such, this place has a mix of both Buddhist and Shinto design elements. It's such a tranquil and gorgeous place. So, these mobile shrines are what kami can ride in. And twice a year, they are run up the mountain behind the shrine during the washi matsuri, or paper festival. Last year in 2018 was there 1300th time doing the festival. 1300 years, wow! The guide was telling me that people carrying the shrines can have specific sores on their shoulders from the weight, which is called 'mikoshi dako'. These are pictures I found online, so I'm fairly sure these are more extreme examples of it, but yeah, people do get calluses on their shoulders from carrying these heavy, heavy portable shrines. The nice thing about visiting the shrine during non-festival time, is that you can really spend your time looking at the details. Right around the shrine is the heart of the washi, or paper, production in Echizen. Nowadays, this factory is how paper is made on mass. It was quite neat to see all the machinery in action. But what I think most people come for is the handmade paper. Echizen Washi. Like the cabinets, paper was something I thought I would have little interest in, as I've tried to digitize everything I can in my life. Yet, seeing what these shokunin can do with paper is quite impressive. We only use the skin of Kozo, Mitsumata, and Gampi. And in Echizen we use Hemp. This is boiled Kozo. When you put it in water, it expands the fibre, making it easier to remove the impurities. Once you remove the impurities, you bring it here, and you hit it to loosen the fibres. Traditionally, they hit the fibres, but nowadays, they can use a machine to do it. If you use the machine, the beater, you only need 30 minutes of hitting. But if you're only going to do the manual way, it can take half a day. Little by little the fibre gets softer and loosened up. And then... Can you see the fibre? It's so small! It looks small, but in the paper it's long. Kozo, because the fibres are long, makes strong paper when the fibres mesh together. To get this point it takes hours and hours. The people in the olden days were great... in the time of no electricity. Inside there is Echizen water, which I think is very good water. The fibres I hit are mixed in here with the water. And we add another ingredient, which is "neri" (glue) This glue comes from the roots of the 'tororoaoi' plant This is the root. You put the wet papers together. You lay it down here. After this you put pressure on (the paper). Using a press like this you extrude the water. One by one on a piece of wood... you dry them here. The special thing (about Echizen Washi), is big size paper. I have just made a paper all by myself, but... this was made by 4 people with a big paper making tool. Many people can get together to make massive tapestries like this. They can also make fusuma, which are the sliding doors found in traditional Japanese homes. When I (first) saw Echizen washi, there were so many kinds. Not only one kind. So many materials, sizes, designs... so I entered this field because I wanted to learn how to do it. To learn how to make it, I've been working this job for more than 20 years. Then I finally found I like this one simple kozo paper. There is a challenge spirit among washi craftspeople in Echizen. If you have an ideal paper in your mind, come here to consult with a washi maker. We should be able to make an original paper for you. Working as a craftsperson, making paper is predictible, but I face myself and can use my senses to make paper, so I like it. That's what I like the best. The tough part about this job is getting the materials. I guess I should grow them, but we need lots of materials, so we have to ask farmers to grow them. So those farmers are getting older and there are no young people to take over the job. I think the biggest problem is the lack of young apprentices. Echizen actually has an art camp program, so people from around the world can come to learn the Echizen way of making paper. For example, this is the work of a French artist. These dragons on the fusuma are by a local Japanese artist. And he also painted dragons for Ryusen Hamono, which literally means dragon spring blades. Echizen Uchihamono were my primary interest in the visit. A couple years ago, I saw some YouTuber sharpening and restoring knives and was inspired to start doing it with my own. Ever since then I've been wanting to invest in a good knife and thought visiting a factory where they handcraft the knives, would be a good way to buy art that was also practical in my everyday life. Or if I'm being honest, my wife's, because she does the majority of the cooking. And before you start with the comments, I do pick up the slack in the laundry, bathroom, and dish departments. I knew that there was the possibility to make a knife on the trip, but I was much more interested in seeing the masters at work. But I was really glad that I did get to try my hand at it, because boy, does your respect level for the craft go up, after only a few minutes of trying to do it yourself. What seemed quite effortless through the camera lens, suddenly became incredibly difficult when in my hands. Wow, they must be really strong! The precision of using the auto-hammer was such, that you had to press just hard enough with your foot to get it started. But not so hard that you hit the soon-to-be-knife with too much force. What surprised me was how manual the whole process was. So much of it seemed to be done by touch, by feel. Checking on all the little imperfections, and taking something that seemed incapable of minor adjustments, a hammer, and hitting it out. I actually made a whole video about how Echizen Uchihamono are made; I'll leave the link in the description. I'm also making another video about my experience with choosing and using my new handcrafted Japanese knife, which I'll also link to once it's done. If you want to get hands-on experience with some of Japan's traditional crafts, I don't think you can go wrong with Echizen. During the whole trip I kept on thinking about how much my kids would have liked it, especially Shin, who goes to art class every week. I'd really love to take him out to one of the family workshops where he can make his very own paper, like this.