My friends from the Philippines and United States often tell me how much they want to travel here in Japan, particularly to see famous cultural spots and experience the rich culture and heritage in each area. I have been here for 13 years and I, myself, have rarely traveled outside our prefecture (Aichi) except for the occasional visits to Osaka, where we have the Philippine consulate and Universal Studios, a sightseeing trip to Kyoto with my aunts, and to Gero. Our plans of a family trip to Disneyland has never pushed through because my husbnad’s work schedule is always in conflict with it. So when this PTA field trip at my son’s school was scheduled, I signed up! It was a trip to Kurokabe Square in Shiga prefecture where there are hands-on lessons in glass-blowing and burner work. The place is just an hour from Nagoya via express way and just cost 2500 yen (for the lessons, lunch and transportation).
There were about 20 people in our group who went and we were divided into 3 small groups for the specific hands-on lessons we chose which were either stained glass, glass etching, blown glass, and burner work. I chose the glass burner work where we made small glass ornaments which can be used for jewelry as pendants, earrings or key chains.
Our teacher has been doing the craft for 25 years now. I struggled to understand every word he said (which was in Japanese!) when he explained the procedures and some safety points. I forgot most of what he taught, but, basically it was heating techniques to avoid breaking the glass rods which could accidentally hit other members. The lesson lasted for about an hour and afterwards we were all exhausted from the heat of the burner! I was fortunately able to come up with a nice pendant (with the occasional help from the teacher :D)
Here are the finished products of our burner work group
The coins are payments for the jewelry parts which the teacher will attach to the glass ornaments so it can be used as pendants or key chains.
Here are other pictures I took during the trip…