The Towel Museum in Imabari Japan, Part 1
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desktop background image of a wall of large spools of thread, at the Towel Museum, in Imabari Japan -- Probably Not What You Think -- Imabari, Ehime, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 5000 — map & image datanearby photos
Probably Not What You Think
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Imposing and Stately what could this building be? -- Imabari, Ehime, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 @ 50 mm — 1/160 sec, f/9, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Imposing and Stately
what could this building be?

Where would you go to find towel haiku and see these riveting presentations like “Magical Towels of the Pharaohs”? I know you're tempted to answer “The Towel Museum” in Imabari Japan, but alas, you'd be wrong. This post is a look at what you would find upon a visit to this oddly-specific destination, which we visited on the last day of our recent short trip to the city of Imabari, in Ehime Prefecture, Japan.

“Towel Museum” with Anthony playing coy -- Imabari, Ehime, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 @ 50 mm — 1/8000 sec, f/1.4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
“Towel Museum”
with Anthony playing coy
At The Bus Stop Anthony being less coy -- Imabari, Ehime, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 @ 50 mm — 1/1250 sec, f/1.4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
At The Bus Stop
Anthony being less coy
Just Inside the Entrance According to the sign, the giraffe's name is apparently “Don't Climb On” -- Imabari, Ehime, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 @ 50 mm — 1/320 sec, f/1.4, ISO 900 — map & image datanearby photos
Just Inside the Entrance
According to the sign, the giraffe's name is apparently “Don't Climb On”

On the way to the museum proper, you are funneled through three floors of towel stores of various types...

Store #7 of 28 ( I'm making up the numbers, but you get the drift ) -- Imabari, Ehime, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 @ 24 mm — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 5600 — map & image datanearby photos
Store #7 of 28
( I'm making up the numbers, but you get the drift )

You'd expect stores inside a “Museum” to be full of kitsch, but they were all really quite nice, with photogenic displays abounding...

Towels Shaped Like Baby Clothes wall of color -- Imabari, Ehime, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 @ 24 mm — 1/320 sec, f/1.4, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos
Towels Shaped Like Baby Clothes
wall of color
Tasty-Looking Towels -- Imabari, Ehime, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/4, ISO 1400 — map & image datanearby photos
Tasty-Looking Towels

Finally, just before entering the museum proper, you get to a room full of fun displays all made of towel-related “stuff” (cotton, etc.)...

Big Fun Stuff made of towels -- Imabari, Ehime, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Big Fun Stuff
made of towels
The Most Fun Since Sliced Bread -- Imabari, Ehime, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
The Most Fun Since Sliced Bread
Yup, I Like Popcorn -- Imabari, Ehime, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Fumie Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Yup, I Like Popcorn

Upon entering the museum proper, you find yourself in a ridiculously long room that shows the towel-making process from start to finish...

Early Stages with Raw Cotton -- Imabari, Ehime, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 @ 24 mm — 1/320 sec, f/1.4, ISO 560 — map & image datanearby photos
Early Stages with Raw Cotton
Newly-Minted Thread -- Imabari, Ehime, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Newly-Minted Thread
Towel Programmer? -- Imabari, Ehime, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 2800 — map & image datanearby photos
Towel Programmer?
Automatic Loom -- Imabari, Ehime, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/4, ISO 4500 — map & image datanearby photos
Automatic Loom

The orange thread guides (essentially long thin tubes in which the thread travels without worry of getting tangled, I guess) are, of course, the answer to the More Challenging Imabari “What am I?” Quiz from the other day. When viewing the large size of the quiz photo, you can see smudges of dirt on the tubes that makes it apparent that they're not actually thread, so officially no one got the quiz correct, though guesses of “threads in a loom” were impressively close.

The image metadata includes a map location marked (in Japanese) as “Towel Museum” and “Ichihiro Ltd. Towel Factory”, so that might have provided a clue.

Multi-Colored Thread Guides -- Imabari, Ehime, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1800 — map & image datanearby photos
Multi-Colored Thread Guides

You then double back through a room of equally impressive length, including a 40-meter long towel on one side...

Towel Museum 40 -Meter-Long Towel “woo-hoo!” -- Imabari, Ehime, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 @ 24 mm — 1/60 sec, f/5.6, ISO 5000 — map & image datanearby photos
Towel Museum 40-Meter-Long Towel
“woo-hoo!”

On the other side were various kid-friendly displays whose connection to towels was dubiously tangential, but fun is fun and we enjoyed it...

Imabari, Ehime, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 @ 24 mm — 1/320 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1100 — map & image datanearby photos
Relaxing With Towel Moomins -- Imabari, Ehime, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 @ 24 mm — 1/60 sec, f/13, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
Relaxing With Towel Moomins

Moomin is a Scandinavian children's character dating from the 1940s and still mildly popular in Japan, though likely nowhere else more than the Towel Museum, which could well be confused for a Moomin Museum due to the immersive, saturated Moomin presences.

Then it was into a room with a wall of 1,800 large spools of thread...

Wall of Thread -- Imabari, Ehime, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 @ 24 mm — 1/60 sec, f/1.4, ISO 280 — map & image datanearby photos
Wall of Thread
Somehow Begging To Be Touched -- Imabari, Ehime, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/60 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos
Somehow Begging To Be Touched
Imabari, Ehime, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 5600 — map & image datanearby photos

Then it was off to a series of room with towel-related art (art rendered in towels, art made from towels, and other such excitements)...

Imabari, Ehime, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 @ 24 mm — 1/320 sec, f/1.4, ISO 5600 — map & image datanearby photos
Imabari, Ehime, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 @ 24 mm — 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Imabari, Ehime, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 @ 24 mm — 1/125 sec, f/1.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Imabari, Ehime, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 @ 24 mm — 1/80 sec, f/1.6, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Imabari, Ehime, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 @ 24 mm — 1/80 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos
Imabari, Ehime, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 @ 24 mm — 1/80 sec, f/4.5, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos

Back out at the third-floor shop just outside the Museum-proper entrance, Anthony was drawn to a big stuffed Moomin placed near the isle just for that effect, I'm sure...

Snuggly Moomin -- Imabari, Ehime, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 @ 24 mm — 1/125 sec, f/1.4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Snuggly Moomin
Imabari, Ehime, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 @ 50 mm — 1/125 sec, f/1.4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

I asked about the connection between Moomin and towels, since Moomin was everywhere in the stores and the museum. I thought that maybe the author had been from the area or something, but it turns out that Moomin is from Scandinavia, and that the Towel Museum is simply a Moomin licensee to the apparent exclusion of other characters that would seem well suited to the task (Snoopy, Hello Kitty, Miffy, Relax Kuma, etc).

Anyway, it was fun, but the story is not over yet....

Continued here...


All 4 comments so far, oldest first...

Fascinating record of the colorful towel museum. As usual your photo jaunts are a good guide to what is
going on in Japan at the present time. With so much destruction in the quake-tsunami zone, it is fun to
see something beautiful for a change. Thanks.

— comment by Father Mac on April 11th, 2011 at 1:05am JST (6 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

Very nice photos! Very good Foto equipment! And very interesting to see how yours now lives in Japan. It’s not the same, as we see in the news. (Sorry my bad English) 😉

— comment by Ralph Gierling on April 16th, 2011 at 2:25am JST (6 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

Some nice composition and lines in this series.

— comment by Andrew on April 16th, 2011 at 2:43am JST (6 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

The “Relaxing with Towel Moomins” looks like brother and sister. Absolutely gorgeous.

— comment by Anne on September 26th, 2012 at 5:28pm JST (5 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink
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