Japan Video Topics 2011-1 (DVD)

Wajima-nuri lacquerware

Of all traditional Japanese lacquerware, that made in Wajima City, Ishikawa, is famous for its special combination of fine decoration with the strength to endure many years of use. Over 20 different processes go into the making of a single piece, each handled by its own specialist artisan. Unique techniques for reinforcement and for delicate golf leaf and powder ornamentation are the hallmarks of a lacquer tradition much loved both for its beauty and its practicality.



Lighting up the night in Arashiyama

One of Kyoto's best-known tourist spots, this area of picturesque scenery, ancient shrines and temples is transformed each December by nighttime illuminations. The beauty of Togetsukyo Bridge and the bamboo forest walk become even more magical, lit by electricity generated hydraulically from the river and from solar panels. Streets lined with andon lanterns also feature ikebana flower displays, while illuminated temple buildings and gardens shine magnificently among the surrounding darkness. It's a time of year when the nights of this scenic area are just as entrancing as the days.



Fine marquetry from Hakone

The Hakone Yosegi-zaiku marquetry craft tradition, featuring complex geometrical patterns formed using the natural colors of different types of wood, began about 200 years ago in Hakone, a forested area containing many tree species. Several types of wood are cut and glued into a solid block so that a pattern runs all the way through it. Thin veneers shaved off this block are used to decorate products ranging from jewelry cases to chests and trays. Hakone Yosegi-zaiku ware is also famous for intricate secret puzzle boxes.



A cascade of chrysanthemums

Autumn is chrysanthemum season in Japan, and flower shows are held all over the country, where you can see an enormous variety of displays, from plants with giant blossoms over 20 cm across to huge cascades with up to 2,000 blossoms all growing on the same stem. The Japanese have been refining their chrysanthemum growing skills for almost 200 years, and today techniques like night time greenhouse lighting can control flower growth so that hundreds or even thousands of flowers will bloom at exactly the same time.

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