I visited MINO-WASHI Traditional Japanese Paper Museum in Mino city Gifu Prefecture.
The River Nagara is in front of it.
The sign says Waku-Waku it means exciting House.
In the museum entrance there is a huge paper plane.
It was used in a TV program.
There is a large garden where children can play.
The museum has a lot of information about Japanese paper and its manufacture.
You can join a workshop to make paper.
The school children in Mino city, make their graduation certificate paper themselves. I am jealous of them.
After visiting the museum, I was taken to Mr. Masashi Sawamura who is a chairman of Hon Mino Paper Preservation Society.
Here he is putting his hands into chilled water and showing how to make Japanese paper.
It was a very cold day and he used a heater for his back.
I asked him to stop as it was so cold, but he said
“I must continue so we can make high quality paper.”
I could see his love of paper making.
There was a big poster on the wall next door.
Mr. Sawamura’s photo.
It was a lucky shot to catch the mist effect, it was NOT a photoshop picture.
“For the photo, I arranged for the wind to blow like that…”
The director of MINO-WASHI Traditional Japanese Paper Museum explained with a gesture.
I was thinking to leave, but Mr. Sawamura invited me into his office to show me some materials.
He also showed me some calligraphy.
Some of them are treasures, I enjoyed seeing them.
I thought we had finished, then Mr. Sawamura surprised me.
“Could you write on the paper?” Mr. Sawamura said.
“I DO NOT want to write on such a precious paper.” I could not accept his offer.
He said, “No problem. Try to write.”
“I know the value, so I can’t.”
At last he won the discussion.
He said that “I want you to feel how it is to write on my paper.” so I accepted.
But he handed me a calligraphy pen, not a proper calligraphy brush. I was sorry to use a calligraphy pen on such a precious paper.
“Show me your hand writing.” he asked me.
I wrote `MINO`美濃.
He saw my calligraphy, then asked
“Could you write bigger letters?”
He took a big calligraphy pen from his drawer.
I was very surprised to see such a big calligraphy pen, I did not know the company made them that big.
I was glad about the offer but I did not want to waste the paper, so I refused.
However he insisted, and I gave in.
It was valuable paper. I shouldn’t write without practice, I thought. Then I asked everyone what I should write for him.
`WA` for WASHI 和 `at MINO` 美濃
I was sorry that it was not my best work, but he was glad to see my calligraphy and people took a photo for us.
I was sorry that it was not my best work, but he was glad to see my calligraphy and people took a photo for us.I did not expect to write in Mino, but I could not refuse his smile.
After the visit, the Gifu prefecture officer and Mino city officer took me to town for sightseeing. They took me to Udatsu(firewall) rising street.
They showed me an Udatsu it is a gap between buildings that stops fires crossing over.
Only rich people used Udatsu during the Edo period, so we have a saying that “If you do not succed, you don’t need a Udatsu.
There are a lot of Udatsu in Mino city because the city’s commerce was thriving due to Japanese paper making and other.
In the town, there is the shop named Shiyuu.
Shiyuu sells many kinds of Japanese paper’s goods.
I could see the variety of Mino Japanese paper.
I am glad to know about Mino Japanese paper from the people in Mino. Many thanks to Gifu prefecture officers, Mino city officers. The director of MINO-WASHI Traditional Paper Museum gave me MINO-WASHI goods. Mr. Masashi Sawamura gave me his hand making paper.
Not only did I have a good experience there, I felt their passion for MINO-WASHI and thank them for their kindness in helping me.
I would spread the word about MINO-WASHI in the UK.
I am looking forward to going to Mino city again.
I hope to go there with my students next time.