After speeding from Kyushu to Honshu on the Shinkansen, we transferred to a one car, narrow gauge train that took us through the mountains to the sea, to the little town of Hagi. No chance of a runaway train here, as the conductor kept his white-gloved hand firmly on the controls as we trundled along at about 15 mph. It seems I may have to paint one more hand for my little series on hands

Hagi is known for its ceramics, which are considered 2nd only in quality and desirability for all things concerning Japanese tea ceremony. Maybe part of the appeal is the way the pieces  change color and develop a crackle in the glaze over time and with use. They really are gorgeous, rough and elegant all at once. The shapes and glazes vary but the ones below were some of my favorites. Don’t let their looks fool you; they are all light as a feather. Light enough, in fact, for us to convince ourselves we could carry a few back home…

The public bathhouse at our hotel had big round tubs made of hand-coiled hagi ware, a great atmosphere in which to soak up the hot water and relax in a steamy outside space. Sorry, no pictures at the bathhouse!

We found a great little cafe, a respite from the first day’s deluge of rain.

We also had a sunny day to wander around, exploring the beautiful (and empty) beach and the fishing village side of town.


Squid fishing boat – they use the lights at night to attract the squid