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  • 執筆者の写真Aki Acton

Serene mountainous spot in Shiga


Deep and green mountainous way:

In order to escape from boiling sun in Tokyo, I made a plan to visit in the mountains and valleys as deep and green as possible. Shinkansen train took me to the Kyoto station of Japan Railway and my trip started there by a rental car along the southern route by way of Uji city, stopping for green tea on the way, to the mountain side in a small village of Shigaraki, known as Shigaraki-yaki pottery, toward the area of MIHO museum.

[ Walking through a curbed tunnel towards a sunlight to the museum]

Taking summer vegetables:

About one and half hour drive from Kyoto brought me to Shigaraki, Koga and I was on the way to the parking area of the museum adjacent to the Reception Pavilion. They have a fine and tiny restaurant next to the reception where local food was carefully cooked and served to a turn. I tried “Somen” prepared with local organic summer vegetables, which had fine flavor and tasted so fresh by its soup served cold in its carefully selected glass tableware. Somen is traditional thin noodles with a sauce especially taken in hot summertime. The one I had there was with cold soup instead of an ordinary sauce usually made from sesame. The table spacing was rather roomy and not crowded though it was weekend lunch time.

Passage to the museum:

Now I proceed to the museum gate in front of Reception Pavilion. We can take either chauffeured 11-seater EV transfer or 8 minutes’ walk on our feet from the gate to the museum building. The museum is located on a ramp of a valley or a chasm behind a low mountain ridge, which is also a part of I.M. Pay’s work. In another words, when we prefer walking approach, we enter in the gate and continue moving through a curbed tunnel toward a sunlight coming from the other side of it, which leads to a bridge over a tiny valley. Taking EV transfer bring us the same root in about 3 minutes. In either way, we can pass through this mountain ridge and valley to the museum building.

An ancient woman and a shell of cicada:

The exhibition at the time was traditional Japanese craftwork “Makie”, gold-relief lacquerware masters, produced 17 to 19 centuries. Every work shows exquisite and sophisticated design, which is the fine fruit from Edo era, several hundred years before. Their permanent collection includes some ancient arts from West Asia, and I met a simple but graceful seated figure of a female curved in chlorite rock, throwing a soft look toward myself. The figure instantly attracted me and transcended time and space into the world of ancient West Asia such as Turkmenistan, Afghanistan in 2000 years BC.

This fleeting and tentative encounter with an ancient woman made me feel full of imaginations and satisfactions coming from this figure produced in ancient Asia.  Really, this image of ancient woman overlapped the empty shell of cicada I saw on a wall and a moment later faced the hard fact of our fleeting nature of life. I could deeply touch a serene atmosphere in the green of the mountains and enjoy satisfactions throughout the day. 【AA】






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