Trip to Japan - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 08-15-2019, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
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Trip to Japan

I don't post or comment much in the forum (normally I only seek infos, probably made 5 replys in years) and I don't know if it is the right place.

I am planning to visit Japan (honshu and Hokkaido), I want to know if someone know good places for a woodworking fan

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post #2 of 16 Old 08-16-2019, 08:17 AM
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how long will you be there ?
ask a taxi driver if they know of a small woodworking shop
where foreigners would be welcome. my experience in Asia
is that some places do not want outside visitors but on the other hand
in some shops, foreigners are welcomed. taxi drivers are always a wealth
of good information. . . . no matter what country you are in.
personally, I would narrow down the type of trade that interest you the most.
like carving, furniture building, etc. just the term "woodworking and carpentry"
covers a very broad spectrum of talented craftsmen.
best of luck in your journeys and travel safe.

.

.
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post #3 of 16 Old 08-16-2019, 10:51 AM
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I was on a work assignment to Japan ...

In 1989 or so, I went to Fujisawa City on a work assignment to the Isuzu Motor company. It was the trip of a lifetime! I stayed in an Enlish speaking hotel, but virtually all the other places I visited spoke only Japanese, even the taxi drivers. Luckily, a work companion picked me up and dropped me off daily for about 10 weeks, a Japanese native. So, he was able to take me around to shop for the tools I needed for work as a clay modeler because my tools were being shipped from The US and had not arrived on time. We ended up in a small shop about 10 or 12 ft feet wide on the drive to the plant one day where they sold wood working chisels, slicks and planes. Apparently I was one of the very few customers to enter the shop and the older woman behind the counter was really glad to sell some of the merchandise. The boxes were dusty from years of sitting on the shelf and the prices were just as far back into the past. My friend commented to me that they were real "bargains" and I bought everything I saw that I could use, even though they were not strictly for the job assignment, modeling in clay.

It was my first introduction to Japanese steel, the finest hand wrought in the world at that time as far as I know. I ended up with a couple of slicks, the long wood handled heavy bladed type for pushing away thicker slices on large timbers, a goose neck or offset chisel or two, and some spoon gouges for carving. I didn't venture into the hand planes they are so famous for, reluctantly now. I wouldn't have clue where the place is/was so I can't pass on any further information. What I do remember is there is a large department store, kinda like Sears where I found some additional hand tools. I also took up water color painting as there was not a lot to do in the evenings on my own. They have some wonderful intense inks/dyes that make for very intense colors on their great rice water color paper. I had shipped my 10 speed and I would venture away from the hotel as far as I could and still see the neon sign on the top of the building. I got to see a cool timber frame temple from the outside and other really great wooden gates that are typical of the private homes.

The hospitality of the Japanese people is par none, and my design companion and I were treated like royalty for our contributions to their project. A Saturday night going away party with flowers, great food and gifts from the management was unusual, as they do not spend time away from their families except on rare occasions. I was really honored.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

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post #4 of 16 Old 08-18-2019, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Smith_inFL View Post
how long will you be there ?
ask a taxi driver if they know of a small woodworking shop
where foreigners would be welcome. my experience in Asia
is that some places do not want outside visitors but on the other hand
in some shops, foreigners are welcomed. taxi drivers are always a wealth
of good information. . . . no matter what country you are in.
personally, I would narrow down the type of trade that interest you the most.
like carving, furniture building, etc. just the term "woodworking and carpentry"
covers a very broad spectrum of talented craftsmen.
best of luck in your journeys and travel safe.

.

.
5 to 14 days I haven't decided, probably autumn(best period for people that love kaki)

Ask to a taxi drive is good option, but I don't know if a will use a taxi due the expensive fares in Tokyo. Maybe I use in Fukushima-shi, but I think I won't find any open visitation workshop in Fukushima-shi, the tourist focus is fruit farm

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post #5 of 16 Old 08-18-2019, 03:00 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
In 1989 or so, I went to Fujisawa City on a work assignment to the Isuzu Motor company. It was the trip of a lifetime! I stayed in an Enlish speaking hotel, but virtually all the other places I visited spoke only Japanese, even the taxi drivers. Luckily, a work companion picked me up and dropped me off daily for about 10 weeks, a Japanese native. So, he was able to take me around to shop for the tools I needed for work as a clay modeler because my tools were being shipped from The US and had not arrived on time. We ended up in a small shop about 10 or 12 ft feet wide on the drive to the plant one day where they sold wood working chisels, slicks and planes. Apparently I was one of the very few customers to enter the shop and the older woman behind the counter was really glad to sell some of the merchandise. The boxes were dusty from years of sitting on the shelf and the prices were just as far back into the past. My friend commented to me that they were real "bargains" and I bought everything I saw that I could use, even though they were not strictly for the job assignment, modeling in clay.

It was my first introduction to Japanese steel, the finest hand wrought in the world at that time as far as I know. I ended up with a couple of slicks, the long wood handled heavy bladed type for pushing away thicker slices on large timbers, a goose neck or offset chisel or two, and some spoon gouges for carving. I didn't venture into the hand planes they are so famous for, reluctantly now. I wouldn't have clue where the place is/was so I can't pass on any further information. What I do remember is there is a large department store, kinda like Sears where I found some additional hand tools. I also took up water color painting as there was not a lot to do in the evenings on my own. They have some wonderful intense inks/dyes that make for very intense colors on their great rice water color paper. I had shipped my 10 speed and I would venture away from the hotel as far as I could and still see the neon sign on the top of the building. I got to see a cool timber frame temple from the outside and other really great wooden gates that are typical of the private homes.

The hospitality of the Japanese people is par none, and my design companion and I were treated like royalty for our contributions to their project. A Saturday night going away party with flowers, great food and gifts from the management was unusual, as they do not spend time away from their families except on rare occasions. I was really honored.
My father already visited Japan in 96 in representing a labor union of Cvrd, and told the same(about English and Cordiality).

But I have some friends that already visited Japan in "modern days". They told me that the language problem is not so big now, that many "speak" English, the problem is more restricted in the elderly, but thanks to my carrier, I have access to the data plan outside my country for free, so I'll be with my old friend, Google translator (I've used it in Germany and France and helped a lot)

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post #6 of 16 Old 08-18-2019, 04:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkChewie View Post
...I am planning to visit Japan (honshu and Hokkaido), I want to know if someone know good places for a woodworking fan...

Hi DC...

Not sure of your focus interest in Japanese woodworking? I specialize in the folk traditions from there mainly in timber frames (民家 - Minka) and boats...

As to places...just about any old building is a great place to look for inspiration...but I can help better if I new your focus and interest...

Good luck and look forward to pictures if you will share them?

j
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post #7 of 16 Old 08-18-2019, 05:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkChewie View Post
My father already visited Japan in 96 in representing a labor union of Cvrd, and told the same(about English and Cordiality).

But I have some friends that already visited Japan in "modern days". They told me that the language problem is not so big now, that many "speak" English, the problem is more restricted in the elderly, but thanks to my carrier, I have access to the data plan outside my country for free, so I'll be with my old friend, Google translator (I've used it in Germany and France and helped a lot)

Young people tend to be more likely to speak English, I've had lots of friends who spent time in Japan teaching English in school. A lot of the older people don't, which is understandable, but you're right, the Japanese people are some of the nicest, most police people around. For the most part, if you need help, they will bend over backwards to help you out.
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post #8 of 16 Old 08-18-2019, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by DarkChewie View Post
5 to 14 days I haven't decided, probably autumn(best period for people that love kaki)

Ask to a taxi drive is good option, but I don't know if a will use a taxi due the expensive fares in Tokyo. Maybe I use in Fukushima-shi, but I think I won't find any open visitation workshop in Fukushima-shi, the tourist focus is fruit farm

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Tokyo is a large place. If you do not use a Taxi how are you planning to get around? It used to be that you could "book" a taxi for the day and save a lot on money.


George
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post #9 of 16 Old 08-19-2019, 05:38 AM
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I was in Tokyo in 2016 for a wedding. The taxi driver had great problems finding the place for the reception and refused to take any money because of his "fault".
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post #10 of 16 Old 08-20-2019, 01:53 AM
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That would be one of the main things I'd like to do if I ever go there is check out the local woodworking scenes (Among other things...). I know a timber framer who works over there a few months out of the year, guy gets to hang out with a whole bunch of older carpenters and learn from them. That's certainly a gig I'd love to have but it just ain't in the cards.


If I were you I'd get a bike and travel that way, Japan isn't exactly a huge place and it is quite bike friendly. Post pictures when you get back mate


-T

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post #11 of 16 Old 08-20-2019, 06:33 AM
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That would be one of the main things I'd like to do if I ever go there is check out the local woodworking scenes (Among other things...). I know a timber framer who works over there a few months out of the year, guy gets to hang out with a whole bunch of older carpenters and learn from them. That's certainly a gig I'd love to have but it just ain't in the cards.


If I were you I'd get a bike and travel that way, Japan isn't exactly a huge place and it is quite bike friendly. Post pictures when you get back mate


-T

It is a very HUGE place when you try to ride a bike that you have never ridden before.


Especially so when you suddenly find yourself riding on the "wrong" side of the street. Much easier to get run over when you turn a corner and suddenly find yourself facing the traffic instead of riding with it.


George
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post #12 of 16 Old 08-20-2019, 06:48 AM
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motor bike, motorcycle or bicycle?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WeebyWoodWorker View Post
That would be one of the main things I'd like to do if I ever go there is check out the local woodworking scenes (Among other things...). I know a timber framer who works over there a few months out of the year, guy gets to hang out with a whole bunch of older carpenters and learn from them. That's certainly a gig I'd love to have but it just ain't in the cards.


If I were you I'd get a bike and travel that way, Japan isn't exactly a huge place and it is quite bike friendly. Post pictures when you get back mate


-T
Quote:
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It is a very HUGE place when you try to ride a bike that you have never ridden before.


Especially so when you suddenly find yourself riding on the "wrong" side of the street. Much easier to get run over when you turn a corner and suddenly find yourself facing the traffic instead of riding with it.


George



https://jp.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen...ving-in-japan/


From the above link:
Driving in Japan
Driving in Japan can be quite complicated and expensive. Those who cannot read the language will have trouble understanding road signs. Highway tolls are assessed at about US $1 per mile. City traffic is often very congested. A 20-mile trip in the Tokyo area may take two hours. There is virtually no roadside parking. In mountainous areas, roads are often closed during the winter, and cars should be equipped with tire chains.
Roads in Japan are much narrower than those in the United States. Vehicular traffic moves on the left. Turns at red lights are forbidden unless specifically authorized.


Getting a driver's license over there is pretty difficult for the natives, if I recall. I don't think your USA license will just work without a driver's test, but I could be wrong. However, I had no issues riding my bicycle there 20 years ago. They are so polite, that when in a taxi waiting for a RED light the driver would turn down the headlights to PARK to avoid blinding oncoming drivers. When the light changed to GREEN, all the car's lights would come back on to LOW beam.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

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post #13 of 16 Old 08-21-2019, 12:55 PM
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You would need an IDP, International Driving Permit, along with the drivers licence from your home country to drive in Japan.

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”
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post #14 of 16 Old 08-21-2019, 01:16 PM
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not to mention, you drive on the right side of the car, and the left side of the road! not uncommon to encounter a "new American visitor" driving on the wrong side of the road.

lived there for 3 years - you'll love Hokkaido (Sapporo has a city underground).
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post #15 of 16 Old 08-24-2019, 11:34 PM Thread Starter
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Tokyo is a large place. If you do not use a Taxi how are you planning to get around? It used to be that you could "book" a taxi for the day and save a lot on money.


George
I will use JR pass, that can be used in all Japan rails lines including Yamanote and Chuo-Sobu lines in Tokyo, and metro

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post #16 of 16 Old 08-24-2019, 11:38 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by 35015 View Post
Hi DC...



Not sure of your focus interest in Japanese woodworking? I specialize in the folk traditions from there mainly in timber frames (民家 - Minka) and boats...



As to places...just about any old building is a great place to look for inspiration...but I can help better if I new your focus and interest...



Good luck and look forward to pictures if you will share them?



j
I don't have any specific topic, but my friend told me that some workshop specialists in shire repair and maintenance do some "events"

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