Monday, August 4, 2014

Ningyocho Setomono Ichi (Ceramic Fair)

Last week I read about a pottery fair happening in Tokyo today, August 4th through Wednesday, the 6th.  Lucky for me, this is Kris' Monday off of work, so I could go on a Terra-only outing!  So, after a good workout, shower, breakfast and some coffee, I packed a bag and headed out on this (HOT!) Monday morning in search of dishes.  I made it to Yokosuka Chuo around 0815 and saw (on a new, untested train app) that there would be an 0821 Limited Express train that went all the way to Ningyocho Station (950 Yen one-way)...and I wouldn't have to worry about making connections at stations in-between!  Bonus!  So, I hopped on the train and started reading my book.

Okay, side note here...I had trouble deciding what to title this post.  Name it something that described the reason for my outing, or name it something that I experienced on my outing.  I decided on a title that people could use to help them get to the fair, instead of a title highlighting my failings as a train navigator.  So, here I am, just a-reading and a-reading.  I realized that I was starting to get hungry and thought it was kind of crazy that my stomach was insisting on food when the banana bread I ate at 0800 should last me the whole 83 minutes I was supposed to be on the train.  So, I took out my phone to check the time and see how far I was from my destination. was 1010...I had been on the train almost two hours and I wasn't even to Yokohama (that is only about a 35 minute ride from Chuo!)  What the?  Well, what I didn't notice as I was devouring my book was that the train I was on was stopping.  at.  every.  darn.  station.  Yes, that's right friends, over thirty stops between Yokosuka and Ningyocho, that would be how a local train works, as opposed to the express train I thought I was on (note to self:  check that box on the train that says either express or local...duh!)  Perhaps reading a good book is only a good idea if you actually know exactly where you're going.  After texting Kris a few times (and, him slowly coming to the realization that I'm not as handy on the trains as I think I am :) I figured out the error of my ways, but I said, I'm only a few stops from where the Keikyu line switches to the Asakusa line, maybe it will speed up there.  Oh.  My.  Goodness!  Every stop....e v e r y  s t o p!  Some stops we sat at for like three to five minutes!  What was supposed to take me 83 minutes ended up taking me 180 minutes!  At least I got some reading done.  Sheesh...

Now, back to the good stuff!  I exited Ningyocho Station via exit 4.  This took me to a side street where I took a right and walked out to Ningyocho Dori, also called Ningyocho Shopping Street.  I took a left onto this street and walked toward the many stalls set up on the side of the road.  The fair is stretched along both sides of Ningyocho Dori for about five blocks.

Looking through the tents
 There were tons of dishes for sale.  Most were in the 500-1000 Yen ($5 - 10) price range.

But, there were some in the 3500 - 15,000 Yen ($35 - 150) price range.

 There were sauce dishes, chopstick rests, tea pots and cups, sashimi plates, regular plates, rice bowls, miso bowls, serving bowls, spoons, forks....

I'm not sure what this is, but it was pretty

There were radish graters, too.

This stall had a lot of plates with ships and sailors and fish

Pretty leaf plates

You could even pay 1500 Yen ($15) and make a piece of pottery!  Not sure if you could take it home with you or not.  It was hot (90 F/32 C) and I was tired (three hours on a train can do that to ya), so I decided to push on down the line and head back to the train station.

I did happen to see this clock tower.  Turns out, on every hour the characters on the tower (just below middle) move.  I was not going to hang out for another 45 minutes to see that....maybe another time.

 So, what did I get....

cute little chopstick rests

Some pretty bowls

One of the booths I stopped at had a very nice gentleman that spoke a little English.  So, he explained that he had dishes with designs from the Meiji Era (1868-1912) and Taisho Era (1912-1926).  Now, I think what he said was that the three plates below have designs from the Taisho Era.  

Also from the Taisho Era, I got two sashimi plates

And, as I was checking out he came running over and said, "Gift.  Gift.  Taisho.  Gift."  I replied with, "Arigatougoziamasu!!!"  Below is his gift to me (along with about a 700 Yen discount).

With all of my (now heavy) dishes in my bag, I headed to the train station.  You would think with the L O N G train ride I had earlier in the day that I would take my time in chosing trains.....check that it's heading the right direction (I quickly saw Misakiguchi on the side of the train, must be headed the right way), check to make sure it's express and NOT local (forgot to do this), find a seat and ride home.  I got to the bottom of the steps and onto the train platform and just jumped on the first train that came.  Luckily, I made it onto the Limited Express train headed toward Yokosuka!  Wow!  What a difference the right train makes.  One hour (not three) later, I was pulling into Chuo Station.  After cooling off a bit on the train my tummy was letting me know that it was in need of sustenance.  So, into the closest 7-11 I go.  What to chose, what to chose....humph, this looks different....

Yummmmmmmmy!  It's rice with salmon in the middle and a sheet of nori to go along with it.  Must find this again!

Here's the map I used, apparently you can run the Shichifukujin trail here too....maybe I'll try this circuit next January.  I came out of Ningyocho Station from the exit that came out onto Ningyocho-dori Avenue and walked 4 blocks north.

I'm really happy that I finally found a pottery fair, and met someone that explained some of it to me, and now I've started my collection of dishes!!  :)