Japan was a bit of a shopping heaven to me. I knew there were going to be great craftsmanship there, but I did not think it would that affordable. I realize know that once those products come to Europe the price is significantly raised, turning them into a luxury that is a bit detached from their original identity: well-made, beautiful everyday products. I love this idea of craft and good design as a part of a realistic way of life.
The truth is, I’ve brought back a lot of things, but even if I’m just starting to use them, I’m already so delighted with those new objects that I regret not buying more!
A pair of wooden glasses and plates
I had seen pictures of Takahashi Kougei‘s designs before, but seeing in person how light and soft they were made them quite irresistible. The idea that they’re made from wood from the northernmost island of Hokkaido is somehow very romantic to me. I also like the idea that they’re sleek and natural at the same time.
bought at D&Department Store in Osaka
A pair of salad bowls
The blue of Yumiko Iihoshi‘s porcelain is as delicate as can be. Every piece is made by hand and unique. These ones belong to the with 4 series.
bought in a vintage furniture shop in Kanazawa
Four tenugui towels
A tenugui is a printed hand towel. Those numbers from Nijiyura are so beautiful that I might end up framing them, but Wikipedia says that it’s ok to do so. It’s apparently also acceptable to put them on your head. Somebody’s reading my mind it seems!
bought at D&Department Store in Osaka
A brass trivet
This is a very nice change from my Ikea cork trivets, a much needed change actually, if I’m honest. I’m never hiding this one in a cabinet! Check out the rest of Futagami’s collection, it’s a brass heaven.
bought at Cazahana in Kanazawa
A set of wooden ustensils
This trip to Japan made me realize how pleasant it was to surround yourself with beautiful, functional objects in your everyday life. Wooden tableware in particular was a big discovery. It’s available everywhere and is much more light and delicate that what I had seen before. This spatula is putting my old one to shame, a thousand years of refinement are setting them apart!
bought from a craftsman in Kurashiki
A patterned wind-breaker
The few days of rain we had during our trip provided a good excuse to buy this two dollars (not kidding, it was on sale though) waterproof jacket in a granny store in Tomo No Oura. We could have bought the matching pants but weren’t brave enough. As my husband wore it, we wondered if this was screaming “crazy Westerner with an old lady’s jacket”. I guess the answer got lost in translation!
bought on the Tomo No Oura harbor
Two vintage art books
Bookstores stocked with out-of-print and used books were a wonderland filled with unknown Japanese artists, amazing book covers and overall mysterious volumes. I would have bought a dozen but settled for those two.
bought at Oyoyoshorin in Kanazawa
Three vintage kimonos
We got used to lounging in our yukatas – light cotton kimonos – at the many ryokans we stayed in and thought it would be nice to recreate the experience in Paris. There were endless options to choose from on the Tenjin-San flea market in Kyoto, and all at very interesting prices (the one on the right cost me 1 dollar!), so you can imagine this was a bit of a dilemma!
bought on the Tenjin San market in Kyoto
Two porcelain cups
Cause you can’t have too many cups right?
bought at the Kurashiki Museum of Folk Craft
Four rice bowls
I had been told that MUJI’s collections were far more vast in Japan, and I wasn’t disappointed. I could have bought a lot of things, from bed linens to pajamas and household appliances yet I decided to go for more ceramics. You can’t really tell on the picture but I really love the difference of texture between the rustic matte ones and the glazed aqua ones.
bought at MUJI in Osaka
Two wrapping cloths
You’ve probably heard of the Japanese “furoshiki” that consists in wrapping things into fabric to transport and protect them. We thought this would be a nice way to transport our cameras while we travel.
bought at the Kyoto Design House in Kyoto
A steel pitcher and various paper ephemera
We kinda fell in love with the Factory Zoomer shop and café. I shall write about it in detail soon, but we bought a mid-century Old Hall pitcher there, gathered some cool hand-drawn ephemera and were gifted a catalog of Kazumi Tsuji’s latest glass work.
bought at Factory Zoomer, Kanazawa