Friday, July 21, 2017

Exhibition Featuring Works by Kuroki Taira and Shiho Takada

Our summer exhibition featuring works of the talented husband and wife duo Taira Kuroki and Shiho Takada started last weekend.  On the opening day, we were delighted to have Kuroki-san and Takada-san with us present at our store to talk about their work with our customers and fans.  Our staff had a wonderful time spending time with the lovely couple, learning about their works, and seeing new creations of this year.  We will showcase some of Kuroki-san’s works in the following photos.   

These cups are called cylindrical tea cups, but they are probably perfect for a small cup of beer.  The white glaze with smooth, matt finish and the stylish form make this work a refreshing piece just right for a hot summer day.  The sensual form seen in this work is definitely an example of Kuroki-san’s artistry.   


For the highly sought-after oribe (green) glaze series, Kuroki-san created many small items, such as plates and bowls, which are just the right size for putting snacks for sake.   

We’ve received many new items from the oribe glaze series.  This new flat plate is a beautiful piece that will definitely go well with chilled pasta and other types of noodles.  

This small pitcher with charming round form can be used as milk pitcher, but also as soy sauce and vinegar pitcher.  

We received many irresistible items from the ash glaze series and kohiki (white slip) series as well.  

The impressions we got from this year's exhibition are that the couple’s works are not only aesthetically pleasing, but also carefully crafted to be functional items that enrich our daily life.  Their works inspire us to want to eat healthy and cook delicious meals for special someone we care about in our life.    
We were only able to introduce a few items from a wonderful selection of items from the exhibition.  Please come see Kuroki-san and Takada-san’s work at our one month long exhibition and get inspired from their work!  


Monday, July 3, 2017

Tableware for Noodles

Soba, udon, somen, hiyamugi… Even when we’re a little under the weather here in hot, humid Japan, we somehow are able to find appetite for these mouthwatering Japanese noodles and can’t resist eating them!  For our June event “Tableware for Noodles”, we’ve gathered a collection of tableware for all kinds of noodles to satisfy the need of noodle lovers.  We will showcase some of the wonderful items from the event here.  



We will start off with “Soba Choko”, a type of cup used to serve dipping sauce for buckwheat noodles.  

We’ve received soba chokos with refreshing green glaze from Kazuharu Adachi, an artist based in the Mino region of Gifu prefecture.  With color reminding us of lush green maple during Summer, these cups are practical pieces that can also be used as beer cups.  

These high fired unglazed cups are made by another Shiga prefecture artist Keishi Tanaka.  These cups with simple, classic shaped body is made with clay dug in Tanaka-san’s neighborhood.  Each piece has a unique finish that is created by long hours of wood firing.  


Michihiro Domoto and Kumiko Domoto from Echizen, Fukui prefecture, have made us twenty soba chokos with all different carved patterns!  


If we’re writing about soba, we must mention Fukui prefecture’s delicacy “Echizen Soba”, which we had the pleasure of tasting when we visited the pottery fair in Echizen.  Unlike cold soba that is usually served on bamboo strainers with dipping sauce in soba choko, Echizen Soba is covered in a light broth and is served in a semi flat bowl called “Soba Bachi” with grated Japanese white radish and bonito flakes.    


Fukui prefecture offers one other unique way of eating sobas.  Eaten often in the Aizu region of Fukui prefecture, chicken and burdock soba was a delicacy served at weddings back in the old days. The harmony of chicken, burdock, and bonito broth makes this noodle irresistible! A clove of garlic adds extra flavor to the broth and makes this dish perfect for eating your way through the unbearable Summer weather.  


Warm soba looks scrumptious when served in a bronze bowl by Kotomi Daigo.  Daigo-san’s bowl is a very versatile piece that can also be used with stews, salad, and Western cuisines.  



Please come join us in our event for “Tableware for Noodles” and have a chat with us noodle lovers about your favorite noodle dishes!   

[Tableware for Noodles]
June 17th (Sat.) - July 9th (Sun.)
Artisans:   Kazuharu Adachi, Momoko Otani, Toyoki Onimaru, Kazuhiko Kudo, Keishi Tanaka, Manabu Tanaka, Kotomi Daigo, Michihiro Domoto and Kumiko Domoto, Mayumi Hiyama, and others.  

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Tableware for Tea Time 3

Japanese tableware is unique in many ways when compared to Western tableware.   Rather than buying a complete set of dinnerware with matching colors and patterns, we Japanese usually purchase each item separately and match them to create our own dinner set.  We sometimes even buy one piece at a time for personalized items like tea cups, rice bowls, and chopsticks, so family members may all have different rice bowls with various sizes and designs. In hopes that you will find a special, personal cup for your relaxing tea time, we gathered quite a selection of tea wares made by various artists for our event “Tableware for Tea Time”.    
 It’s just too difficult to choose just one from these charming mugs by Kenichi Muso!   Muso-san’s meticulous craftsmanship can be seen in the flower pattern on the surface called “Inka”, which are carefully made by making indentations with stamps in equal intervals.  

We also carry cups without handles and sake cups from the same “Inka” series.  


 We Japanese love to enjoy the change of seasons by switching tableware to match the season.  These refreshing pastel color tea cups are perfect for spring and summer season.

With faint gradation of pink that is created during firing, these white teacups by Taro Sugimoto from Kyoto prefecture are perfect for sipping roasted green tea and brown rice tea. We also have a teapot from the same series in stock.


Using local clay that he digs himself, Kazuhiko Kudo makes pottery with distinct warmth in Hokkaido, the Northern Island of Japan with harsh cold winter.  The white birch series is done with glaze made of ashes from the white birch tree near his neighborhood.  This earthy tea set is sure to be a warm delight in a cold winter day.  

Shiho Takada’s signature series with gray cracklings is always a popular choice among our customers from overseas.  The simple, stylish form seems to make Takada-san’s work universally appealing.  

We can’t miss out on some sweets if we’re having some tea!  These lovely bowls with high foot by Taira Kuroki are great items to have ice creams and frozen yogurts with.  Yum yum.  

Come join us at our event “Tableware for Tea Time” to find an item that will make your tea time even more pleasurable experience.  

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Tableware for Tea Time 2

We are delighted that so many of our customers are enjoying our event “Tableware for Tea Time” that started in April.  

We will showcase some popular items from the event in the following.  

[Kazuhiko Kudo   Buck Wheat Noodle Cup   2700 yen      Small Plate 3780 yen]


The two separate items that we used as cup & saucer are “soba choko”, a cup for buck wheat noodle dipping sauce, and small plate.  We actually recommend this set to have some cold tea or coffee.  Having cold drinks in earthenware might seem a bit strange, but it actually makes sense for a couple of reasons.  The clay absorbs cold liquids and retains coldness so your drinks will stay cold.  Also, the clinking sounds made against the clay when the ice melts is charming and refreshing.  


[Kazuhiko Kudo   Cold Sake Cup   3780 yen]

We absolutely fell in love with these unique shaped pieces by Kazuhiko Kudo. The tall cup is great to have cold sake, but also goes well with cold tea and beer.  



We received charming tea cups with delicate paintings by Maki Oida from Kyoto prefecture.   We also have a sugar pot with most intricate paintings and small plates perfect for sweets by Oida-san in stock as well. 




Manabu Tanaka’s highly coveted mugs are in stock.  We received a wide range of items from Tanaka-san, so please come see them before they’re sold out!  
The good thing about Japanese tableware is that you can be creative in how you use your wares.  For instance, these sake pourers can be used as a “yuzamashi”, a type of pourer used to cool down boiling water before poured onto green tea or Chinese tea.   

Caffeine lovers, elevate your coffee time with special accessories!  These coffee measures measure beans for about one cup serving.   The brass coffee scoop is by Shunsuke Tanaka, and the cherry tree scoop is by Koji Ishii.


To all of those tea lovers and caffeine lovers, we still have wonderful items related to Japanese tea, Chinese tea, black tea, and coffee in our store.  Please come and see items that will bring your tea time to another level if you are in the Shibuya area.  

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Tableware for Tea Time 1

Most people in Japan love tea time.  It gives us workaholic Japanese a valid excuse to take a breather from our hectic day.  Tea time is a precious, relaxing moment when we step away from work to sit down, talk with one another, and reconnect.

“Let’s have some tea.”, “Would you like some tea?”, and “I’ll pour some tea.” are common phrases used throughout the day between one another.  When we happen to meet up with a friend on a street, we have a quick chat and often say goodbye with “Let’s have some tea next time.” Even an old, stereotypical pick-up line is “Wanna go have some tea?”.  Tea seems to play a unique role in creating intimacy between people in Japan, perhaps because of the long history of influence from the Japanese tea ceremony, a ceremony of hospitality that creates intimacy between the host and the guest.

We believe a moment of tea time will be even more pleasurable experience if you have a special tea set, so we gathered a wonderful selection of items related to tea time for our event “Tableware for Tea Time” that started last week.   The following are some of the lovely items from our event that we are excited to introduce. 

 [Saori Yamazaki   Small Teapot 9,720 yen    Large Teapot 12,960 yen]

The beautiful sisters of tea pots with vine handles by Saori Yamazaki are looking radiant on display.   Yamazaki-san specializes in making tea wares in Kasama City, a city historically known for pottery making.  The teapots that Yamazaki-san makes are highly sought after by not just Japanese customers but by our overseas customers as well because they are known to be both functional and aesthetically pleasing.    The stylish, delicate form of the teapots is carefully crafted so that the spout does not drip on the side. 

 [Saori Yamazaki   Teapot] 

We are charmed by the stunning shade variation and refined form of these pots. 

 [Manabu Tanaka   Teapot 10,800 yen]

We adore this teapot by Fukui Prefecture artisan Manabu Tanaka for its soft, gentle blue and the simple form with faceted surface.  The teapot is big enough to serve tea and coffee for a group of people.  

 [Keishi Tanaka    Teapot 8640 yen    Medium Size Plate 7560 yen]

The high fired unglazed teapot by Keishi Tanaka based in Shiga Prefecture is a quiet, understated piece that reveals its true beauty after years of regular use.  Tanaka-san pride his high fired unglazed works for its durability and claims that after decades of use, his pieces gradually change their expression and in the end, they almost resemble wood.  He says that the long hours of firing with wood enables the fire to thoroughly reach to the core of the ware, thereby making his work durable for many decades of use.  The ash from wood firing gives each piece unique finish with variance in rustic pattern and color. 

[Tetsuya Kowari   Teapot  21,600 yen   Plate 2,700 yen  Cup 3,240 yen]

Tetsuya Kowari from Fujinomiya City near the foot of Mount Fuji makes pieces that are steeped in the tradition of Shigaraki-ware but also have one of a kind presence with strong, bold form.  This wood fired tea set is sure to attract attention when used in tea time and will also be a wonderful wall display. 

 [Akira Yamada   Cofee Cup & Saucer 10,800 yen    Tea Pot 21,600 yen]

Though the word “tea” is oftentimes associated with Japanese green tea, we often say “tea break” even when we drink coffee and black tea, which is why we asked some of our artisans to make pieces that go well with coffee for this event.

Kyoto Prefecture artist Akira Yamada makes beautiful pieces with stunning colors and modern, stylish design.  The remarkable contrast of scarlet and silver of this coffee cup & saucer is quite unique, and sure to make your coffee time a special moment.  

Our event “Tableware for Tea Time” will be held for a month at our store.  Please take this opportunity to find your favorite piece for a relaxing tea time. 

[Tableware for Tea Time]

Teaware for green tea, black tea, and Chinese Tea, as well as coffee cups, mugs, and accessories.  

April 15th (Sat.) ~ May 14th (Sun.)

Artisans:   Fuminari Araga, Maki Oida, Kazuhiko Kudo, Taira Kuroki, Tetsuya Kowari, Shiho Takada, Keishi Tanaka, Manabu Tanaka, Michihiro Domoto & Kumiko Domoto, Kenichi Muso, Takahiro Yahagi, Saori Yamazaki, Akira Yamada, and others. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

A Visit to Nobuhiko Tanaka-san's Pottery Studio

March came like a lion and went out like a lamb! Now we can enjoy the gentle April weather with the wind carrying the faint smell of fresh flowers and newly grown baby leaves. Though there may be some conceptions that the city of Tokyo is a vast sea of gray concrete, it is actually filled with small parks and gardens, in which you can enjoy all different colorful flowers and plants. Take a stroll outside to embrace spring weather, and your eyes will be met with a beautiful array of colors of seasonal, flowers: grape hyacinth, daffodil, daisies, crocus and tulip.

Tanaka Nobuhiko, a new artist in our store who we have waited so eagerly to introduce, is an artist that creates works that reminds us of such vibrant colors of spring: the colorful flowers, freshly grown leaves, and brilliant blue sky. 

We had the pleasure of visiting Tanaka-san’s studio in Iruma City, Saitama Prefecture where we  were warmly welcomed by Tanaka-san and were mesmerized by his collection of works.  
We will give you a sneak peak of Tanaka-san's colorful, sensual works that we stocked up on our visit.  They are perfect to freshen up the table for this season and upcoming summer. 

 [Mini Bowl with Lip   3240 yen    Bowl (in the front)  9720 yen    Bowl (in the back)  5184 yen] 

The works that especially caught our eye are Tanaka-san’s blue pieces.  Not only is the cobalt blue color refreshing, the thinly made simple form makes these pieces ideal for the table for upcoming hot summer weather.  

We are very excited to share some behind the scenes photos of the Tanaka-san’s studio where all the magic happens! 

In order to create his colorful works, Tanaka-san uses over thirty glazes that he himself makes with his own recipe.  

The thinly made pieces that are drawn with a potter’s wheel are carefully stored on a shelf inside a place called “muro”, a small, semi-humid room in which the ceramics are dried slowly and evenly in order to avoid creating cracks on firing. 

The surface of these cups is finished with chatter decorations called “tobi-kanna”, literally translated, jumping planer.   While the dry ware is rotated on a wheel, a flexible metal tool is held against the surface, so it jumps rhythmically, cuts nicks on the surface, and creates a characteristic pattern.   Though “tobi-kanna” is an old, traditional method typically used in Koishiwara-ware and Onta-ware, Tanaka-san’s works have a distinct modern flair that is unencumbered by the weight of traditional technique.  

These are the tools Tanaka-san hand made to make the chatter decorations.  It’s astonishing how these simple looking tools create those complex patterns. 

[Flat Plate (Olive and Yellow) each 5184 yen    Rimmed Plate 5184 yen] 

The flat plate on the left finished with chatter decorations is an aesthetic piece that reflects Tanaka-san’s contemporary, artistic sense.    

 [Flat Plate (Yellow) 5184 yen   Single Bud Vase 4860 yen    Sake Cup 3240 yen]

The muted gold color of this single bud vase and sake cup looks gorgeous when placed on a yellow chatter decoration plate. 

[Small Pot 10800 yen]

The placing of chatter marks and the amount of glaze applied are each carefully calculated and administered in order to create the stunning gradation of vermilion and pink.  

The burst of refreshing color of these soba chokos, cups for dipping sauce for eating buckwheat noodles, render a modern impression and makes them especially useful for placing fresh fruits and yogurts in the morning.  

[Soba Choko  3456 yen]

Tanaka-san strives to make pieces that are not only aesthetically pleasing, but functional as well.  Take this cup, for example.  The angle in which the handle is formed is carefully crafted so that the thumb fits comfortably when you hold the cup.  Each cup comes with different color combinations. 

 [Cup  3888 yen]

All of Tanaka-san’s pieces have a soft color palette that is soothing to the eye and are finished with a transparent glaze, which renders soft, matte finish. 

[Rice Bowl  3780 yen]

Tanaka-san’s colorful work has officially brought spring to our store!  If you are enjoying the cherry blossoms in full bloom down by the Meguro River near our store, please do stop by our store and see these colorful pieces.