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Field trip to Noto: the Wajima Koubou Nagaya, the Kiriko Lantern Museum and the Wajima Salt Farm

On our field trip to Noto, we visited the Wajima Koubou Nagaya(工房長屋), the Kiriko Lantern Museum(キリコ会館) and the Wajima Salt Farm(輪島塩田) in September.

The Koubou Nagaya is a place where we can see the lacquer ware making process. “Koubou” is a place where craftsmen work, and “Nagaya” means a Japanese style single story row house. Young craftsmen are working there so we can not only watch details of the process closely, but also ask any questions about Wajima lacquer ware, also so-called wajima-nuri, its processes and their techniques and thoughts. The Kiriko Lantern Museum introduces various kiriko festivals held in Noto peninsula with many kinds of kiriko, original pictures and movies. While the Salt Farm shows us a demonstration of traditional ways of making salt, many kinds of salts, so-called wajima-shio, and processed goods are sold in a shop neighboring the farm.

I became more interested in these cultures of Noto and hope to visit many places in each season after visiting these places. There three spots showed us different things, and each of them enlightened me about life in the Noto area from different points of view. So the experience there awakened in me curiosities about Noto culture, Japanese culture in the past, and my daily life, as below.

The first point is about Noto culture. I found that people’s lives in Noto are harmonious with nature, which is not as mild as that in plain areas. Some people make salt, others make lacquer ware or engage in fishing, and celebrate some special days in various events and festivals, which concern nature.

The second point is about Japanese culture in the past. I assume that people lived adapting to nature in each place all over Japan in the old days. This harmony with nature might not be a special case only found in Noto area. What is different is that they preserve the relation well and exhibit it in various ways. I would like to see and compare many varieties of harmonies in other places.

The third point is concerning my daily life. Salt and tableware are commodities in my life. I can buy many kinds of substitutions in various prices but I seldom care how they are different. Now I can imagine those histories, processes, people’s concerns, and the reason why prices are different. Thoughts like this might bring depth and width to think about what commodities are in my life.

(N.O.)

wajima kobo nagaya 1
kiriko museum
wajimashio 2

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