Sunday, February 20, 2011

コケーシカ КОКЭШКА Kokeshika

This is not a kokeshika.
What do you get when you cross a kokeshi doll with a Russian nesting doll (matryoshka)? Why, a "kokeshika" (コケーシカ) of course. This hybrid is apparently a new idea by a shop of that name in Kamakura -- home of the Great Buddha -- about 40 miles south of where we live, and thus became the quest of another kokeshi adventure! The owner of Kokeshika, Mr. Numata Genki (沼田元気) came up with this new idea, at least in part out of an interest in promoting and preserving Japan's traditional kokeshi tradition. He has also written a terrific Japanese language book on traditional matryoshkas.
The shop is on the first and second floor of this house.
Thank goodness we departed our home early on this trip. Due to the many roads that went nowhere, or went the opposite of where we thought they were going, heavy traffic, an inordinate number of traffic lights, as well as a lack of proper planning on my part, the 40-mile trip took about four hours -- an average of ten miles per hour! We picked up our friends on the way, and made a number of pit stops, but honestly, the roads in that area are a nightmare. We also stopped at the beach on the beautiful Shonan Coast so the kids could splash in the 40-degree water (which they loved), and then after finding a place to park finally arrived at Kokeshika, nestled away on a quiet residential street fairly close to the Great Buddha.
The Kokeshika shop.
The photos probably do not do this shop justice, filled with matryoshkas, traditional kokeshis, and of course, kokeshikas. Suffice it to say that it was delightful. Naoko bought a five-doll kokeshika and a special modern kokeshi carrying a tiny traditional kokeshi in one arm, and a tiny matryoshka in the other. We decided not to buy any kokeshis, since our goal was to find a kokeshika, though we did get a 1,000-yen surprise in a bag, which turned out to contain a Zaotakayu-style traditional kokeshi (see previous blog). Overall, a fantastic trip, and another successful kokeshi adventure!

A five-doll kokeshika.
Kokeshi with tops on their heads.
A kokeshi carrying a kokeshi and matryoshka.
Daibutsu kokeshikas.
Traditional kokeshis for sale. As I recall, they were tiny.
Hollow kokeshis. Or are they kokeshikas?
Mr. Numata's book (Japanese). Naoko bought a copy and loves it.

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