To help out all my Sunday church-going readers I have been wanting to report favorably on the second Saturday of the month shrine sale at Gokoku-ji. I don’t have it on my “official” shrine sale page because I don’t like to recommend anything that might be disappointing and while it has been good in the past, I tend to find it unreliable now, both in terms of schedule and quality/quantity of  dealers and merchandise. Today wasn’t much different from that assessment – only about a dozen vendors. Now, we all know that Nogi Shrine only ever has about that many dealers at best, but they are all top quality.  The goods today were more junk shop and imports from China than real antiques, so if you live in the nearby Mejiro neighborhood or on the Yurakucho line, it might be worth stopping by. I am not sure I would have anyone travel there, although that being said, it only took me 15 minutes driving from my house on the Shuto.

Just because it wasn’t the best market doesn’t mean there weren’t things to be found.  My subconscious has been making itself heard lately by pointing me towards medium-sized unusually shaped Imari plates. I think it wants them for first course or lunch settings. I have been resisting, on the grounds that I don’t need them, but today brought two examples.

The first was eye-catching, but…

… it was the second set that was breathtaking.

If you do go and the market turns out to be lousy or unexpectedly cancelled, the Temple complex, situated up on a hill and surrounded by substantial grounds, is beautiful and well-worth visiting.  Built in 1681 by the 5th Tokugawa Shogun at the request of his mother, it has survived earthquakes, fires, and WWII, and the main temple is designated an important cultural property of Japan. Today they had a special flower arranging exhibit on the grounds and in the main sanctuary. Take note of the unusually colored sudare.

Unfortunately for me, my practical conscious mind ruled out and I didn’t buy that second set of plates. I am now mooning over the photo at home, so if anyone sees them tomorrow or next week at a different market, please feel free to let me know!