Sunday, May 27, 2012

Return to Sakunami Onsen 作並温泉に戻ります

During our recent Sendai kokeshi adventure in April we returned to Sakunami Onsen to visit our friend Mr. Hiraga Teruyuki 平賀輝幸さん whom we had visited last December. Naoko and I are both big fans of his work, and the fact that he's one of only a handful of craftsmen that makes Sakunami-type 作並系 kokeshis is, well, very interesting. We actually went to his shop twice during this adventure, and if you've ever been to Sendai then you know well that Sakunami is somewhat out of the way, so we must really be dedicated fans! And it was worth it. Mr. Hiraga, a true gentleman, welcomed us right in to warm up at his wood-burning stove while we talked kokeshis and had some snacks (after that we went back to Ichinobo Onsen 一の坊温泉 located right next door, one of the nicest onsens I've had the pleasure of entering). Naoko was really excited to see some of his miniature pieces of which we bought a selection that can be seen in the photo below. We also a got one of his large-size Sakunamis, as well as one by his father Mr. Hiraga Ken'ichi 平賀謙一さん who passed away in 2007. Interestingly, the shop still has a few left by Ken'ichi, as well as some by the grandfather Mr. Hiraga Kenjiro 平賀謙次郎さん who passed away earlier in 2012. Overall another great kokeshi adventure that can't be recommended highly enough, and I am absolutely certain that we'll be back to visit Mr. Hiraga and Sakunami Onsen sometime in the near future.

Some kokeshis still available at the shop created by Teruyuki's father and grandfather.
An innovative use of a kokeshi head. It's a back massager as I recall, which as you can see has a "pillow" for when not in use.
Our piece by the father Hiraga Ken'ichi. Not the tear-drop shaped nose,  a style that Teruyuki has not continued.
This is the large Hiraga that we bought (for a good price, too) with a more contemporary look that sports rosy cheeks of which I like a great deal.  That's a Stars Wars action figure for size reference by the way.
Tiny Hiragas that Naoko ordered, and whose size can be contrasted with the action figure in the background. These are really nice, and are perfect miniatures of their larger counterparts.  

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