|A swan water fountain at a highway rest stop in Iwate Prefecture.|
|Little kokeshi-wrapped crackers to bring back home as a present.|
|Kokeshi-themed mini-baum kuchen slices, another good present.|
|In Ms. Honma's workshop, examining wares.|
|Some of Ms. Honma's finely crafted pieces. You'll notice kokeshis of course, but also a daruma-otoshi, hair clips with with her unique kokeshi faces, and other small wooden crafts.|
|Some recently completed Honma kokeshis.|
|Naoko saw this fun character on Ms. Honma's work table and couldn't help but take a picture.|
|Hair clips. Yes, they are adorable.|
|Absolutely beautiful kokeshis with Ms. Honma's trademark maple leaf. She also likes to give her kokeshis big, rosy cheeks.|
|This wasn't for sale, but it's a tiny peach kokeshi designed for a post-tsunami disaster fund-raiser.|
|Most kokeshi makers seem to make Hina kokeshi, a boy and girl brought out at each March on Girl's Day. These are Ms. Honma's version of the tradition, which have bibs.|
|A traditional Tsugaru kokeshi, and as you can see Ms. Honma is a master. Apparently once the traditional design is mastered then a craftsman can start their own variations.|
After discussing kokeshis for a while Ms. Honma brought us to a large nearby park so that the kids could run around and we could enjoy a beautiful, cool Aomori summer day chatting and eating snacks. There are many parks like this up in Aomori I've noticed, as they have the space to build them. It was certainly a refreshing way to spend the early afternoon.
|The lower part of the park.|
|A king-sized lady bug of some sort.|
When it was time to go we bid a fond farewell to Ms. Honma and Kamikita, and then drove through rolling garlic and tobacco fields toward Shichinohe 七戸町, and old castle town that has a brand-new and quite spectacular Shinkansen (Bullet Train) station. Next to the station is a Michi no Eki 道の駅, a chain of roadside shops found throughout Japan that are part farmers' market, part local crafts shop. We went in and what did we find but a very nice selection of Honma kokeshis! Kokeshi adventure part 1 complete!