News Letter

News Letter

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Dear Customers & Friends
Hello from Japan! This is Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA'S News Letter No.81.Do you enjoy peak of winter season? Here in Japan, a few days ago big chill had come, and we had snow also in Osaka. We rarely have snow, and we don't prepare for snow, so in the morning we had major traffic jam everywhere. I came to our office very early in the morning by motorcycle in the heavy snowfall. I drove slowly with full care, but at very near our office I fell on the snowpacked road. I was running very slowly, and it was like slow motion, and I was safe. But at the beginning of our office time, half of our staffs could not reach here because of traffic jam. I went to Niigata district two days ago, and I saw very thick snow on the roofs of houses. I heard that about 10 people died by the accident during snow removal. I asked a taxi driver why the people had to died, Even if they fell from high roofs to grand. I wondered there had to be thick pile of snow there, and it had to soften the impact. The driver told me they died by asphyxiation. 'If you fall into the a m!eter pile of snow, you can not escape by alone, and snow shut your mouth and noise, and kill you.' Niigata is in the Hokuriku district, and famous for its heavy snow. And Niigata is also famous for its asa textile, called Ojiya.Their lives in olden times had to be more severe than I can imagine from now. And I can not help admire their endurance and stamina, which made possible to create supreme textiles in that severe life.
By the way, recently I came across a book at a antiquarian bookshop. Its title is 'Gensyoku-sensyoku-daijiten', which means ' Original color- dyeing and weaving - dictionary'. It is 1200 pages with many color photos, and cover all topics and words about Japanese textiles. It was issued in 1977, and went out of print, and it is said to be best exhaustive book about Japanese textiles. About two years ago, I heard about this book from a kimono seller, and I looked for it, but I couldn't. I was very pleased to find it, and thought about him, who passed away a year ago.
When we started our business, we didn't have enough knowledge about kimono textiles, and we didn't have enough merchandise resources. At that time we often went to Toji and Kitano temple to buy merchandise. At Toji temple I came to know Kanzawa san, whom I am going to write about. He was an old man bent with age, looked mid 70's. I don't know how old he was, but some of his fingers were also bent, and seemed to feel languid to do everything. He had curl hair, and had a charming face like aged Kewpie! It is not exaggeration. Although he wore a far-sighted glasses, if Kewpie got old, he had to be like Kanzawa san. I liked his smile from bottom of my heart. He had more than 50 years experience in kimono business, and knew almost everything about vintage and antique kimono. We bought many kimono from him, and asked him about their history and textiles. Not only we bought from him, he always opened my baggages, which we bought from other sellers, and gave us explanation about the!m. And we were often scolded that we paid too much money compaired to market price. He was very kind to us, but at a time he was easily offended if customers done bad manners. For example, no care about merchandise, no care for wet umbrella in rainy day, demand for too much discount and so on. He sold at temple markets, but also had a store in Himeji. His shop was in the very old and desolate commercial avenue. Sometimes I went his store, and dug among the huge piles of kimono. Kimono were piled also out of his shop, and I wondered if someone stole them during night, but he said no one won't take them. And in addition during night or his absent time neighbors left kimono or antique goods in front of his store. While I was at his store, people came and asked him how much he could pay about left items. When I went to buy uchikake, he took me to other stock places. It was an old wagon car, a dog was tied and slept under it. The car seemed not to be able to run anymore, and was filled with lots of uchikake! Next time I took to another ordinary house near his store, which was also filled with kimono.He was well-respected by all sellers, and his shop in temple market was always crowded. Later I became to attend a same auction with him, and I rarely won against him. He was an extremely strong bidder, and had enough good customers. Sometimes he suddenly sent packages of kimono to some sellers, with pricing calculations. Always he said you might take only you wanted, and sent back the rest of them. Prices were not low to make profit easily. But we owed him a lot, and took as much as we could. It was not only for us. I heard a very experienced seller said that she tried to buy as much as she could because she wanted to get recognition as a power seller from him. One day I asked him whether we should pay tax although we had just started our business. He said I shouldn't pay tax, if I made some profit. 'Paying tax is too early for you!' He hated our government, and never trusted them. He told me how government led people to reckless war (WWII) under the name of Emperor. I was astonished by his heat when he talked about government. Later I came to know he was a chairman of chamber of commerce of Himeji, which Japanese Communist Party had influence on. I don't know if he had individual experiences of WWII, but there is no doubt that he was convinced anti-authority man.He passed away the next day of Toji temple market. He sold at there as usual.At that night he said he got tired, and went to bed. Next morning he became cold. One day I asked him many topics about kimono, and was taking a note as usual. It had to be too long time although I didn't notice. Finally Kanzawa san took my note and said. ' You must buy this book, and read it!' He wrote the name of book with trembling fingers.
Dear Kanzawa san! At last I got that book! We will study more and more about kimono and Japanese antique goods. And I will become a good seller like you to my last day as you did.
Today we have listed many furisode, kurotomesode karinui, ranru and silkbolt. We are very happy if you could check them. a nice winter Sunday!
Ichiro & Yuka WadaKimono Flea Market "ICHIROYA"
e-mail: info@ichiroya.comaddress: Asia-shoji Bldg.301 1841-1 Nishi 1 chome Wakamatsu cho Tondabayashi city Osaka 584-0025 JAPANTEL&FAX ****( international number ) - 81-721-23-5446


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