Everyday Japanese Slow Craft | 日々の宝物図鑑


Kamisuki (Forming the Sheets)

At the beginning of this year, we have interviewed Ichibei Iwano IX, a Living National Treasure of papermaking as part of our project aiming to produce an e-book based on the theme of “washi”.

Ichibei-san dips his mold and deckle in the vat and first scoops up a small amount of slurry, shakes it forward and back a few times, and then returns the slurry remaining on the mold to the vat. From the second time on, he scoops more deeply and shakes more slowly, returning the slurry to the vat before scooping again. As this process is repeated, a sheet of paper gradually appears on the surface of the mold…

2014-08-26 | Posted in WASHIComments Closed 


Traditional patterns of tenugui (Hand Towels) No.3 Seigaiha


Seigaiha  (wave crest pattern)

This pattern brings to us the thoughts of large waves of the wild ocean. The continuing gentle waves laid out in a regular pattern include one’s wish, “let this life forever rest in peace and happiness”. This wave crest pattern is traditionally named as “Kissho” pattern or “auspicious omens” pattern.

   This traditional pattern not only is used in washcloths, but we can frequently observe this same motif used in kimonos and for its belts, wrapping cloths (furoshiki), wrapping paper and ceramics. Historically speaking, this pattern first appeared during the Sasanian Empire Era (224 C.E ~ 651 C.E) and came into Japan through China. Basically, the colors are composed of white and blue, yet the use of diverse and gradation colors also exist in addition to a combination of a plover bird or a fish, as well as flower petals. Moreover, this particular pattern may completely change its style looking “pop” or “chic” depending on the type of lines and colors being used. It is exciting to observe this pattern in rather unexpected areas like in a pair of sneakers, iPhone cases and for nail designs.






2014-03-11 | Posted in TENUGUIComments Closed 


“ShoyU” Episode 2


“ShoyU” Episode 1
“Matsumoto shoyu” is a brand with a long-established history in manufacturing and selling shoyu. Its shop is found in Kawagoe city in Saitama prefecture. Using a cellar which has been built 180 years ago and continuing to use its shoyu barrel which was also built back then, “Matsumoto Shoyu” at present keeps the same method to produce naturally-brewed shoyu. It sounds quite romantic to think that people with top knotted hairstyle and holding Japanese swords living in the Edo period were also consuming this same exact shoyu made in this particular shoyu cellar. We are currently producing the Japanese version of the e-book for “SHOYU”, but very shortly, we will also publish the English version. Please look forward to our updates!


2014-02-28 | Posted in SHOYUComments Closed 



Presenter: Mr. Mitsunobu Fukushima
Brief profile: System developer, I love to go out fishing all around Japan.
My recommended SHOYU: “YUASA” manufactured and sold by Ohara Hisakichi

湯浅醤油 http://www.yuasashoyu.com/eshop/index.html
630 JPY (300ml), 1260 JPY (900ml)

Recommended points: A big warm hello to friends who love “sashimi” (raw fish)! I would personally very much like to recommend this particular SHOYU named “YUASA” which goes perfectly well with sashimi, especially white fish and tuna fish. The immense flavor of the broth which courses through your nose right at the moment you taste this “YUASA” with sashimi is just so magnificent. In the past, I have tried so many kinds of naturally brewed SHOYU since I love to go out fishing and enjoy eating sashimi with my fishing friends. However, tasting this “YUASA” for the first time in my life was miraculously shocking as it tasted so different, good and made my sashimi really delicious. “YUASA” which is manufactured in Wakayama prefecture is the region famously known for SHOYU brewing. In the same way that we find many wine chateaux in the region of Bourgogne, “YUASA” also has various types of brands, but ever since I met this particular brand, this has always been my choice. But don’t forget! Actually, this brand does not go well with bonito sashimi, just in case there are any international friends who eat raw bonitos! In fact, the two together clashes as this “YUASA” gives too much flavor against the bonito sashimi which has a strong fish smell. For bonito sashimi, I would suggest you to use SHOYU which has been unsealed and used for at least 2 weeks.



推薦者: 福島光伸さん
プロフィール: システム開発者・趣味は釣りで北は青森の大間から南は沖縄まで、
お薦めの醤油: 小原久吉商店 湯浅醤油 http://www.yuasashoyu.com/eshop/index.html

特長: 格調高いもろみの香りとうまみ。やわらかい塩味。
刺身好きの海外のみなさんこんにちは! 僕がお薦めするのは、白身の魚とマグロの刺身に最高に合うこの醤油です。口に含んだ時に鼻に抜けるもろみの香りが素晴らしい。自分が釣った魚をさばいて仲間たちと食べるのが楽しみで、色々な天然醸造醤油を買っては試してきたんだけど、この醤油を口にしたとき、「出会った!」と衝撃を受けました。和歌山県の湯浅は醤油の産地で、ブルゴーニュにワインのシャトーたくさんがあるように、湯浅にもいろんな醤油ブランドがあるけれど、僕はここと決めています。


2014-02-24 | Posted in SHOYUComments Closed 


“Tenugui” Episode 2

Tenugui-Episode2-2  Tenugui-Episode2-1
“Tenugui” Episode 2
A dyeing factory named “Murai” is found in Edogawa ward in Tokyo city. This dyeing factory produces tenugui. By exploring and discovering the making process of how the sparkling white bleached cotton cloth gets dyed by the hands of professional craftsmen makes us really excited! After the publication of “SHOYU”, we will be very pleased to present our next publication for “TENUGUI”, hopefully very soon.



2014-02-20 | Posted in TENUGUIComments Closed 


“Tenugui” Episode 1

tenugui_epi3  tenugui_epi3_2
“Tenugui” Episode 1

In our previous episode, we have mentioned that there are various types of tenugui usage. For example, we can observe shop sellers wearing Japanese washcloths in towns. The primary purpose of wearing them on their heads is to prevent sweat or hair from falling, however, we can observe many occasions where wearing the “tenugui” is more intentional in terms of creating a picture like frame for many shops. For instance, when we visited shops found on streets of Asakusa which is part of  down-town Tokyo famously known for its old shrines and temples, we ran into a man selling famous souvenirs of “ningyo-yaki”* wearing the “tenugui” on his head. For your information, there are many ways of wearing Japanese washcloths.


*Ningyo-yaki: it is a traditional Japanese sweet or red bean bun, made of sponge cake with red bean filing in the inside. The shapes are taken from Senso-ji (Senso temple) representing the Kaminarimon (thunder gate) or the Gojuto (Japanese five-storey pagoda).

“Mihatodo”: http://mihatodo.com/index.html






2014-02-06 | Posted in TENUGUIComments Closed