We made it to Kyoto, my old home after graduating from college. After checking in to our hotel, we happened upon Ohasi Ippo, a traditional Kyoto-style master doll-maker. The artisans welcomed Elise and showed her various doll styles in their catalogue and showroom, and even gave her a piece of gorgeous textured red fabric and a handmade set of porcelain doll hands. We learned that there are specialists for each part of the process, such as the head crafting master, hair attaching master, hand and foot craftsmen and accessory craftsmen, who are masters of traditions dating back to the Edo era.
I asked Elise, who makes tiny, painted figurines out of oven-bake clay, which aspect of doll-making she’d most enjoy if she were part of Ohashi Ippo and she said head crafting, since she loves creating expressions on her dolls. She brought this set of dolls she made with us on our travels. She’s been writing a story about the two taller ones, Any and Sunny, and their pets, Luna the panda and Sugar the cat.
Across from the Ohasi Ippo was an Indian restaurant that served up spinach curry and the largest piece of naan I’ve ever seen.
Back at the hotel, it was a relief having a bit more space after having tripped over each other for days in our teensy tiny hotel room in Tokyo.