We met her at the fountain near the museum. Where would we go? To the bookstores, of course! There is an entire section of Tokyo near the University devoted to them. We took the train and then the subway to get nearby, and then walked through a pleasant afternoon. The bookstores were full of books.
Problem is, books mostly appear as spines until you pull them out of the shelves. Reading Japanese is not one of the things I do. So, we poked around, pulling likely looking things off the shelves, and zeroing in on bookstores that had ukiyo-e. Prices ranged from 1000 to 80000 yen, about what you'd find in the States. Reports of shockingly high prices here are not always true. Some things are very expensive, such as fruit, but most things are only about 20% higher than we expect. For example, our Chinese restaurant lunch was 1000 yen apiece, about $12, no tip expected. Not cheap, but not crazy expensive either.
Around dusk, we wandered through Ueno Park to visit Allan West, an American ex-pat from Utah who came here as a Mormon missionary and stayed as an artist. He learned traditional screen painting from a Japanese master, and uses mineral pigments with deer bone glue and big floppy brushes. His screens are even better than they look on his website. The colors are deep and mineral looking, as though the land itself is participating in the art. He keeps to traditional themes of trees and leaves, but adds motion to make his screens seem to pulse. We talked for a long time, and then he suddenly realized that we lived on the same island where the author of "Andrew Henry's Meadow" lived.
Wow. That book inspired him to become an artist. To find out that there really was such a meadow, and that Camilla and I have personally viewed it with our own personal eyes made him light up. We all ended up grinning at each other.
After our visit, it was late. We went to a drinking restaurant, one that serves all kinds of traditional snacks to go with the alcohol. Yayoi had a clear drink from fermented miso soup. My sip was quite interesting, a fruity, salty, freshwater kind of a taste. The snacks were really well done. Tuna, bream, and salmon sashimi; kebabs with liver, kidneys, bacon, and weird things; skewers of tomatoes and quail eggs; salad with a very soft boiled egg quivering on top; leek aspic; mushrooms in butter; caramel pudding.
We took the subway home and actually got there without incident.
Words of the day: The kanji for Camilla mean: kami - god, divine, up, or paper, and la - orchid. The kanji for Julie mean: juli - large tree, i - wild boar.