Robbie San suggested that a reference in this journal to himself would be appropriate, something, he said, along the lines of “Robert knows his stuff” would be fine. Even at this early stage of our tour, the evidence seems to suggest that he really does, having us zip from ferry to train to platform to train making connections with precious minutes to spare thus saving hours of time that would otherwise be wasted, making side journeys that would otherwise be impossible, possible.
Today our commute to Okayama brought us within a couple of train connections to Imbe in the provence of Bizen, noted for the style of unglazed ceramic ware that bears its name, and home of a very important museum explaining the history and detail of how it came to be.
Now Robert may know his stuff, but seriously he hasn’t a clue when it comes to our own habit of arriving on precisely the day that museums are closed. Thus it was, that when we arrived the museum which was normally closed on Mondays, had decided that Tuesday would be nice for a day off this week.
Using all the guile and skill carefully honed through years of travelling with groups like ours, our leader was fearless and undeterred, talking his way into one of the family run potteries, and having us invited into another where the firing process was explained in great detail.
There we learned from a young potter that sitting cross legged on the floor throwing pots as his father-in-law has done for forty years is perhaps a much too painful way of eking out a living. Instead he had dug a hole beside his wheel and placed a chair in it bringing at least a semblance of twenty-first century sensibility to his craft though he assured us the ancient methods will prevail through time.