March 10th 2007: Arrive in Tokyo from Bangkok, late at night.
Take the airport limousine bus and alight at Akasaka. Its only a short walk to our hotel, but my mother and I are unprepared for the icy winds! With chattering teeth, we drag our suitcases to a sheltered corner of the closest highrise and take out our warmest coats.
After getting lost for a little while, we did find our hotel lobby, which was WARM and lovely. My memories of our dinner that night, were that it was tasty and warming and comforting! Like all hotel rooms in Tokyo, this one too was a little cubby hole. Certainly not something for two well built Indian ladies. Our every move had to be coordinated and planned like a duet!
March 11th 2007, Sunday: Up and ready early, all in anticipation for the show ahead of us. A hearty breakfast, and we are all set to go. It was a cold, blustery and bleak day in Tokyo.
We had a long ride ahead on the Tokyo subway. Sign language and some helpful Railway attendants and we managed to make our way from Akasaka to Otemachi on the green line. Change to Hanzomon line. On to Kiyosumi Shirakawa. Change to Oedo line and off at Ryogoku!
We emerged to our view of the initial cherry trees in blossom.
"Blooming Flowers for Tomorrow" - that was the title of Akane Teshigahara's enchanting show at the Ryogoku Kokugan. Its been several months since we witnessed the demonstration by Akane, in Tokyo, but the memories are still clear. The show was to start at 1, but we were there by 11 in the morning, and there was an excited stream of Japanese women all heading in the same direction!
The Rogoku Kokugan, seen in the picture is actually a famous sumo wrestling stadium, and the lay Japanese were very nonplussed at the choice of the venue for an Ikebana show! They were quite sure we had got it all wrong, but when we reached it was clear as to why they had chose the venue. Seating was on four sides of a square, and as the show progressed, we realised that as a result, everybody had a good view.
There was an anticipatory hum, as the hall began to fill up. Her Highness Princess Hitachi arrived to signal the start of the proceedings. The organisation was superb, and we non-Japanese were also given headsets to hear the English translation in real time. There was around of awards, and a film on 80 years of Sogetsu, before the stage was cleared for Ms Teshigahara's show.
Read about the show in the next post!