Paths for Slow Travel

A path invites, lures and beckons. It meanders, follows a  creek for a while or crosses a bridge. Perhaps its surface is uneven with cobbles, shale or stepping-stones. Or maybe it is time-worn and ancient, following the steps of our ancestors or tracks made by animals to a water source in the bush. The best paths are well beaten and have evolved over time. Shortcuts, ways and lanes call the curious to explore. They are not politically correct- they were not built with the disabled in mind. They were not built for bicycles either.

The pedestrians wandering these featured paths are not alerted by the impatient ringing of bells from the lycra clad or speed obsessed bicycle brigante. They wander at their leisure, quietly reflecting as they go, stopping to take a photo or admire the view, or striding out more vigorously to an appointment.

Stone pathway with drinking fountain  around Gujo Hachiman, Japan
An inviting pathway to  a home in Gugo Hachiman, Japan
Old walking track following the creek, Dunkeld, Australia
A leisurely stroller in Valparaiso, Chile
Meandering around the back paths of Valparaiso, Chile
Country paths of Victoria. I always travel slowly, often on foot and with a camera. Seasons Greetings, Francesca.

Harmony. Rockabilly Dancers of Harajuku, Tokyo

In the park near Harajuku station, Tokyo, the Rockabilly Club meets each Sunday.

Japanese Rockabilly Dancers of
Japanese Rockabilly Dancers of Harajuku, Tokyo

2008-04-13 16.05.19The old-time sounds of Rock Around the Clock and other 1950s legendary sounds blast out from their portable players. A far more engaging and harmonious display than the Cosplay dolls in the main commercial street nearby.

The Road to Indigo

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Fabric speaks to me. I collect it, stash it, feel it. Antique European linens, worn Irish cloth, functional and timeless, faded Ikat from Java, Sumatra and Flores, woven wall hangings from Myanmar, mid-century Japanese Kimono sprinkled with shibori, or little fabric offcuts featuring sacred cranes, plush velvet Italian betrothal bedspreads, alive with colour and kitsch cherubin, or hand worked pillow cases and curtains from the antique market in Arezzo in Italy, embroidered table cloths, ancient filet crochet edging with worked in stories, words or historical events, crocheted jug covers featuring Dolly-Varden shells and beaded weights, Indian silk saris and long dupatta scarves, visiting every floor of a Sari shop in India: fabric hunting is a central part of my journey. It is often the history of women’s work, or a window into a culture, or one that is about to become obsolete, that appeals so much.

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Hand dyed indigo fabric is a recent addition to my textile addiction. I discovered some wonderful indigo fabrics at the Chatuchak ( Cha-Cha) Market in Bangkok in 2013. The following year, I toured an indigo factory in Dali, on the banks of Erhai Lake, Yunnan, China. And this year, I found another small producer of hand died indigo clothing on the banks of the Mekong River, in Chiang Khan, Thailand, as well as some lovely long lengths of deep indigo died linen in the back streets of the Warorot market, in Chiang Mai.

My next step is to learn this ancient art and dye my own cloth. I envisage drifts of indigo muslin, irregular in colour, floating in the summer breeze.Thanks Ailsa for this week’s travel theme, Fabric, at Where’s My Backpack. If I dug out all the representatives of my fabric collection, this post might fill a book.

Hats of Furukawa Festival, Japan

Furukawa is located in Gifu prefecture, Japan, not far from the beautiful old town of Takayama. The annual ‘naked’ festival is held on April each year. On the afternoon of the 19th, elaborately decorated festival floats are carted into Furukawa town. From 9 pm on that day, continuing until early morning of the 20th, the Okoshi Daiko, an enormous drum atop a tower, is carried through the streets by hundreds of men clad only in cotton loincloths, despite the cold. 1-Rae&Stu2 151 These shots of Japanese men in hats (and clothes) were taken as the floats went down the street, before the start of the Okoshi Daiko. 1-Rae&Stu2 142 And a modern hatted young man observes the parade from behind. I wonder if he might join in one day?1-Rae&Stu2 150 Thanks Ailsa for an appealing travel prompt.

Walls of Takayama, Japan

Walking along the paved banks of the Miyagawa river, Takayama, Japan, I noticed this little vignette in the far distance against the river walls. It is a grainy old shot but captures a lovely moment in time.

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Takayama is an intriguing small Japanese city, famous for its well-preserved Edo period streets and dark wooden buildings, river walks and a famous annual festival. It is located in the Gifu prefecture and near the Japanese Alps. The local cuisine is also memorable! Added for WordPress photo challenge: Walls