Sugai World Clips

“Sugai World” clips are very  and come in different styles … animals, monster characters, etc.

An interview with Sugai World is as follows:

 

Q.1 What is the SUGAI WORLD ?

We are tokyo based happy design gift maker.

We plan and design all of our products, and ask Japanese factories to make them.

We are committed to creating unique and playful products, mainly stationery. And we are trying to make them from eco-friendly material as much as possible.

Q.2 How did it start the SUGAI WORLD, Inc.?

When our founder, Yu SUGAI, was working for another company, he started writing down his ideas about things that can change the life more comfortable and happier. (There are more than 20 idea-notebooks now. That was a way to reduce his stress in the packed train of everyday.

At first, He was just enjoying sharing his ideas with his friends. But someday, one of them said to him, “Your ideas are so fun! Why don’t you make them?” and he said “Why not !? Let’s do that!! “.

In 2011, we made the first product “Mustache-it”, a mustache shaped sticky note.

For the first 2 years, we were selling only the one. “Mustache-it” became a quite big hit riding the mustache-boom which came in those days. (That was a beginner’s luck!)

Q.3 What is the purpose of the SUGAI WORLD products?

People in Japan works very hard in a small space. So we want to make them to be able to work happier with our products. And also, we hope the same thing about people all of the world. Our mission is “give imagination and dream to the world ”.

Q.4 What is the dream of the SUGAI WORLD?

To communicate with people all over the world through our products. And we believe that will be a part of the world peace.

Vintage Kokeshi

Kokeshi are Japanese wooden dolls, originally from northern Japan. They are handmade from wood, have a simple trunk and an enlarged head with a few thin, painted lines to define the face. The pattern of the trunk of the doll usually has a floral print although sometime there are variations. The bottom of the doll usually has the signature of the artist.

Kokeshi were first produced by kijishi artisans proficient with a potter's wheel near the Tōgatta Hotsprings where kokeshi-making techniques spread to other spa areas in the Tōhoku region. It is said that these dolls were originally made during the middle of the Edo period (early 1800’s) They might have been originally made by farmers who started carving these dolls during the long winters and sold as good luck dolls designed for fertility or a good harvest. These dolls were also for children. Eventually they were sold at hot springs for the many travelers who were visiting the hot springs in the north-east of the country. In the 1920’s these dolls started becoming collectors items. From then kokeshi artists started experimenting, making very large kokeshi, very small kokeshi, different shapes, styles, etc.

It wasn’t until after WW2 when Japan was occupied by US military forces, that these dolls became a curiosity overseas. Servicemen would bring back the dolls for their wives or family in America because they were particularly cute. Since then, there have been new types of Kokeshi with many artists experimenting with new styles that we follow, as well as some of the more traditional styles.

The woods used for kokeshi vary, with cherry used for its darkness and dogwood for its softer qualities. Itaya-kaede, a Japanese maple, is also used in the creation of both traditional and creative dolls. The wood is left outdoors to season for one to five years before it can be used.

"Traditional" kokeshi dolls' shapes and patterns are particular to a certain area and are classified under 11 different types named for the hot spring area that they originate from: Yajiro, Togatta, Narukyo, Sakunami, Tsuchiyu, Yamagata, Zao, Nanbu, Hijiori, Kijiyama, Tsugaru.

image.jpg

"Creative" kokeshi (新型こけし shingata-kokeshi) are the new style of kokeshi developed after WW2 that allow the artist complete freedom in terms of shape, design and. They are not particular to a specific region of Japan and generally creative kokeshi artists are found in cities.

When looking for a vintage kokeshi there are 2 ways to choose. Some collectors look for a particular style to add to a collection, and some just look at a face and fall in love with it or the cut or style. This is part of the joy of being a kokeshi collector.

MOKULOCK Wood Blocks

Mokulock was a brand created by a technical company that makes electronic machinery, devices, parts, home appliances, medical equipment/medical electronic equipment, jigs, tools, mold components and toys.

MOKULOCK BLOCKS was primarily designed to develop children’s creativity and enhance their senses by stimulating them with its characteristics driven by its natural materials.

Despite such background, MOKULOCK’s customers are not limited to TOY retailers but all adults in DESIGN industry because of its appearance. The common impressions of people who touch MOKULOCK for the first time are very positive with unexpected joy and satisfaction of confirming the alternative utility of unused yet sustainable material.

Conditioning the natural material at the best moisture and temperature level is the most important process of making a precise toy, which will last for long time. The wood is dried for 6 months in a small room with a hydromatic heating system. It is then sent to be cut by a machine robot and then sanded by hand. After that each piece is inspected to make sure that it is flawless. From there everything is taken to the packaging facility. This company supports disabled people and relies on them to do the packaging.

Lifestyle of co-existing with nature nearby and depending on resources produced through cultivating the forest is still rooted in everyday life for many, making the unchanging character of the people of Yamagata.

Preservation of Natural Resources:

They maintain the local mountains for healthier environment.

Together with the help by local children, even MOKULOCK sawdust plays an important role as the fertilizer.

Since trees cannot thrive when growing close together in the mountains without sunlight filtering in, some trees in Yamagata are carefully cut down in winter using snow as a cushion. Trees cut down for forest thinning, and ones unsuited for architecture or furniture uses are to be processed into pieces that provide us delightful lives with warmth.

Since different types of wood are used, you will receive a box of different types of woods which include: Japanese Cherry, Japanese Zelkova, Hornbeam, Maple, Birch, Japanese Magnolia.

MOKULOCK is simply carved out from a solid piece of wood. No surface finishing oil, chemical, paint, or glue is used.

Moreover, MOKULOCK’s safeness has been proved by qualifications of various safety standard examinations around the world.

Uno Hake Brushes

Uno Hake brushes started their business in 1917. Currently Ms. Chieko Uno wiorks with her daughter Michiyo to continue their family craft.

“Hake” are brushes formed by two separate pieces of wood that bind the hair and the hair fibers are planted by hand inside the wooden holes and strung together. After this the hairs are cut to symmetry.

These brushes have been modernized to have an array of modern uses. For home use, to clean your face, body, clothes, shoes, etc.

To achieve this the animal hairs need to be chosen and prepared for each product. If pig, horse, goat, boar hair has a different texture. Each hair needs to be treated with oil.  The mother and daughter of the Uno family have a history with these materials and create products suitable for each occasion.

We have an exclusive line of products with this company at our store.

Hightide Tape Dispenser

A simple, rugged steel tape dispenser. With rust and scratch resistant hammer tone finish, industrial coloring is attractive. With two sizes of S / L, S size is perfect for masking tape etc. It is a tape base that is perfect for professional use with a bottom screw hole for fixing to a wall or desk. L size upgraded the body weight, renewed more easy to use on the desktop.

Current available colors: Navy, Red, Green

MARCOMONDE Socks

MARCOMONDE was launched in 2007.

MARCOMONDE is a coined word consisting of [MARCO=MARCO POLO] and [MONDE=WORLD]. It is a Japanese brand which offers products, mainly legwear. For each season, a country or a city is chosen as a theme, and products are designed and made after the designer actually visits the place and experiences culture, seeing their folk crafts, climate and inhabitants.

In the 13th century, Marco Polo, merchant in Venezia, made a voyage aboard a big boat, searching for the spice that had a value equivalent to gold. And he provided people in the world with the foreign culture that no one on those days had ever seen. A travel would build up the spiritual richness in a person. Since those days when Marco Polo lived, it has still remained unchanged even today that a person starts traveling, longing for the culture and history in a foreign country.

Brand, “MARCOMONDE,” is proposing on a collection by collection basis those items which would permit you to feel as if you were traveling in a country, with one of her eras taken for the collection’s theme, just like a pleasant happening you may encounter there during your travel.

We have their current collection for both male and female clients.

MARCOMONDE also have  a selection of “Tabi” socks. Tabi are traditional Japanese socks dating back to the 15th century when everyone wore geta or zori shoes which are similar to current flip flops where your large toe is separated from the other ones. This gives you good balance.  Many people still wear Tabi socks. In Japan, workmen also still use a type of  black Tabi  shoes because they more comfortable and give better stability while working.

ninja_shoes_350x354.jpg

Ponzu dressing

Ponzu Sauce with 3 different types of citrus:

Make a delicious salad with Ponzu sauce or use it as a dipping sauce or a dressing.  Or just add it to any dish for more flavor. 

Ponzu is a popular and widespread sauce in Japan. It combines soy sauce, dashi (fish soup stock) and a Japanese citrus. It also often includes a little bit of vinegar or mirin. Its taste is very much appreciated as it is both fresh and deep and rich in umami.

You can make a salad and use cherry tomatoes, green salad, avocado, cucumbers, radish, daikon, fresh seaweed, mango, fruits, shiso, basil, and whatever vegetables and herbs you like. You can add chicken, tofu, tuna fish, scallops, meat, or what every you like.

We also use it as a dipping sauce for hotpot dishes or shabu shabu etc.

There are No specific rules on how you like to use it. Take a taste and let your imagination take you to enjoy a meal.

We have this at our store so please feel free to stop by and try to add it to your list condiment list. For us, it is just as a important to keep in the fridge next to soy sauce.



Vincent Shoelaces & Cocks Combs

"Vincent Shoelace" was started by a man and woman from Kyoto and their love of shoes however he felt that there was a lack in shoe lace varieties so they decided to design their own. They consider that you should change your shoelaces like you change your hairstyles. There all multiple colors and patterns.

The Bees wax:

It is an original waterproof wax for waxing your laces so that they stay clean. All materials are combined with natural ingredients, and are handmade by two people. Lanolin, which is taken from beeswax and kyou oil.

You rub the shoelace with the bar of wax like you would an eraser and finally lightly melt the wax with a dryer. This process makes the shoelace stronger and helps to keep it shape better when tied. The wax also protects your laces from dirt and rain.

They also created what they named, “Cocks Comb” in three different colors so you can change the front of you favorite sneakers when they get dirty. A spin-off item that they wanted to create as another way to accessorize your sneakers.

These products can be found at our store. 

Sakurai Kokeshi Wooden Dolls

As our clients know, we always find special vintage Kokeshi dolls. We will of course continue to have a selection, however we have found a more modern company that we will have at our store. A more modern take on Kokeshi with different colors and patterns. We hope you enjoy these as well.

Screen Shot 2018-05-02 at 15.18.41.png

 

This is their companies story:

The Kokeshi studio/shop of Akihiro Sakurai, is located in Naruko, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan.

Naruko, a very famous spa community, has one of the oldest and strongest traditions of Kokeshi that dates back more than a hundred years. Surrounded by the majestic nature of Naruko and nurtured by a lively flow of travelers, they are always striving for further sophistication while honoring generations of family Kokeshi tradition—meeting contemporary demands while promoting Kokeshi culture. They produce traditional Kokeshis in types such as “Iwazo,” “Mannojo,” and “Eikichi,” (all named after their ancestors) as well as wooden Hina-ningyo type Kokeshis.

Kokeshi has a tradition nurtured by harsh winters, blessing of hot springs, and uncompromising craftspeople-kokeshi, a type of simple, traditional wooden doll, is thought to have originated as a children's toy during the mid-19th century in the hot-springs communities deep within the mountains of today's Miyagi Prefecture. In the mid-20th century, people "discovered" kokeshi, and the emergence of collectors transformed it from an everyday toy to a coveted treasure for all generations. With their stark simplicity and gentle expressions, kokeshis have long been used as beloved gifts suitable to a variety of occasions, such as birthdays, house warmings, weddings, and births, and as unique design objects to illuminate contemporary homes.

This companies Kokeshi tradition goes back to Matagoro Ohnuma, who is believed to be the founder of Naruko Kokeshi, towards the end of the Edo period. Since then, surrounded by the abundant nature and hot springs of Naruko, they have produced Kokeshi for generations.

Although the environment that surrounds Kokeshi has changed drastically over the course of 150 years—including social transformations, booming demand, and changing taste—their fundamental attitude towards Kokeshi has remained unchanged: pursuit of tradition and exploration of new possibilities.

Today, with an aging and declining population and challenges faced within the local economy, the situation of Kokeshi craft in Naruko is not an easy one. However, with Akihiro’s young son, Naomichi returned back from Tokyo his studies in Tokyo, and are striving to revitalize this unique craft in a sustainable way, accommodating contemporary demands while maintaining tradition.

We hope you enjoy our selection of new Kokeshi!

Sugai World Cute Clips

We are currently showcasing a new brand from Tokyo called, “Sugai World”. They are very cute clips in different styles … animals, monster characters, etc.  We only have a limited selection right now so come to the store to get them soon!

An interview with Sugai World is as follows:

Q.1 What is the SUGAI WORLD ?

We are tokyo based happy design gift maker. We plan and design all of our products, and ask Japanese factories to make them. We are committed to creating unique and playful products, mainly stationery. And we are trying to make them from eco-friendly material as much as possible.

Q.2 How did it start the SUGAI WORLD, Inc.?

When our founder, Yu SUGAI, was working for an another company, he started writing down his ideas about things that can change the life more comfortable and happier. (There are more than 20 idea-notebooks now.)That was a way to reduce his stress in a packed train of everyday.

At first, He was just enjoying sharing his ideas with his friends. But someday, one of them said to him, “Your ideas are so fun! Why don’t you make them?”, and he said “Why not !? Let’s do that!! “.

In 2011, we made the first product “Mustache-it”, a mustache shaped sticky note.

For the first 2 years, we were selling only the one. “Mustache-it” became a quite big hit riding the mustache-boom which came in those days. (That was a beginner’s luck!)

Then we made second product and third… and in 2013, we made our first debut at Tokyo Gift show.

Q.3 What is the purpose of the SUGAI WORLD products?

People in Japan work very hard in a small spaces. So we want to make them to be able to work happier with our products. And also, we hope the same thing about people all of the world. Our mission is “give imagination and dream to the world ”.

Q.4 What is the dream of the SUGAI WORLD?

To communicate with people all over the world through our products. And we believe that will be a part of the world peace.

 

Stalogy : Touch Screen Roller

Perfect cleaner for touch screens like Ipad’s, Iphones, etc. This gently cleanses of any dust or fingerprints without damaging the. Highly addictive.

Portable and refillable, what everyone should have on your desk.

The roller contains 12 sticky sheet sections that can be used for approximately 40 times.

Available in Black, Red, Light Blue. Refill’s are available as well.

Summer Hakutou White Peaches

Okayama’s peaches are well-known among the Japanese for the folk tale of “Momotarou (Peach Boy)”, and peach blossoms represent Okayama as the “Prefectural Flower”.

Full-scale peach cultivation began in 1875 (Meiji Period), when peaches were brought to Okayama from China. With the gifted environmental features and the long hard work of the foregoers who acquired brilliant techniques, Okayama became one of Japan’s largest peach producers.

“White peaches” are grown with extra care; each fruit is covered with a small bag to protect the delicate soft white skin to ripen it to perfection. This process requires a lot of work, and is an important technique in cultivating the finest peaches. Comments like “I’ve never had peaches that are this soft and sweet.” and “Peaches made in Okayama are always delicious!” are the finest compliments for the peach producers in Okayama.

White peaches from various regions can be found in August and are very special. Juicy and without preservatives. When the fruit is small the farmer will examine each fruit and cut any that do not look. About 1/3rd of the peaches are culled during this process, hence all the goodness of the tree can go into the peaches that are kept. After this, each peach is individually wrapped in light paper to prevent spoiling by bugs.

If you cannot find any green colors on the stem of the peach, that means your peach is fully ripen. You should enjoy it right away. If you leave it in the refrigerator to cool for two hours before you eat it, you can enjoy it even better!

But be careful not to cool it too much. If you leave it in the refrigerator too long, you won’t be able to fully enjoy the flavor or sweetness. So if you can’t eat it right away, leave it in room temperature, but try to eat it as soon as possible. Avoid leaving it in the refrigerator too long, or under direct sunlight for the peach may rot.

The best way to enjoy peaches are eating them fresh, but if you have more than enough peaches, try making some fresh peach jam. Cook it in an enamel pot, with half the amount of granulated sugar of the peaches.

You can enjoy the jam along with some yogurt, or mix it with milk to make a refreshing drink!

These are truly special peaches and we look forward to having them in summer!

Summer Hakutou White Peaches

Okayama’s peaches are well-known among the Japanese for the folk tale of “Momotarou (Peach Boy)”, and peach blossoms represent Okayama as the “Prefectural Flower”.

Full-scale peach cultivation began in 1875 (Meiji Period), when peaches were brought to Okayama from China. With the gifted environmental features and the long hard work of the foregoers who acquired brilliant techniques, Okayama became one of Japan’s largest peach producers.

“White peaches” are grown with extra care; each fruit is covered with a small bag to protect the delicate soft white skin to ripen it to perfection. This process requires a lot of work, and is an important technique in cultivating the finest peaches. Comments like “I’ve never had peaches that are this soft and sweet.” and “Peaches made in Okayama are always delicious!” are the finest compliments for the peach producers in Okayama.

White peaches from various regions can be found in August and are very special. Juicy and without preservatives. When the fruit is small the farmer will examine each fruit and cut any that do not look. About 1/3rd of the peaches are culled during this process, hence all the goodness of the tree can go into the peaches that are kept. After this, each peach is individually wrapped in light paper to prevent spoiling by bugs.

If you cannot find any green colors on the stem of the peach, that means your peach is fully ripen. You should enjoy it right away. If you leave it in the refrigerator to cool for two hours before you eat it, you can enjoy it even better!

But be careful not to cool it too much. If you leave it in the refrigerator too long, you won’t be able to fully enjoy the flavor or sweetness. So if you can’t eat it right away, leave it in room temperature, but try to eat it as soon as possible. Avoid leaving it in the refrigerator too long, or under direct sunlight for the peach may rot.

The best way to enjoy peaches are eating them fresh, but if you have more than enough peaches, try making some fresh peach jam. Cook it in an enamel pot, with half the amount of granulated sugar of the peaches.

You can enjoy the jam along with some yogurt, or mix it with milk to make a refreshing drink!

These are truly special peaches and we look forward to having them in summer!

Japanese Beach Culture

In Japan everyone tries to go to the beach during summer. There are many cliffs Japan’s coastline so naturally the beaches with sand are very packed.  Since we live on a mostly volcanic island, most beaches have black sand that gets really hot in summer so if you don’t have beach shoes, it can feel like you are walking on hot coals. There are some beaches with lighter sand and always completely full of people. By the busy beaches you find several Umi no ie (seaside house) which is more like a shack with food (providing shade, bathrooms, showers, lockers for storage, etc.) These prefabricated buildings are put up quickly at the end of tsuyu, rainy season, and taken down on September 1st.  Tatami mat on the floor which work well to remove sand.

In the last decade, “Designer umi no ie” have become popular for the fashion & design crowd with private bookings organized by various brands. Expect good food, special cocktails, select activities, etc. In the evening there are dj’s and sometimes live performances as well. One of our favorites is Caban by David Guarino & fashion house Tomorrowland.

Popular activities on the beach are pretty much the same as in every country, with the exception of hard core sun-tanning like in Europe. While some people tan, it is still considered bad to ruin your skin in the sun. Many people bring their own protection, a parasol, sometimes a tent. These are mostly for families. Otherwise many use the Umi no ie to find shade and food and refreshments. Kakigori (shaved ice with a flavored syrup on top) is very popular for both adults and kids.

Other games are Suikawari (watermelon Splitting) : you are blindfolded and given a bamboo stick to whack a watermelon until it splits, everyone enjoys eating the watermelon afterwards. It’s always fun to make sand castles or burry a friend or family member in sand.

suikawari.jpg

At the end of the day we do small Fireworks which can be bought in a convenience store or supermarket. Very fun, no matter what age you are.

Then clean up and go home, make sure to leave the beach clean without garbage and please recycle.

Obon Festival

Every summer we celebrate Obon for about 3 days, which is a yearly Buddhist event for remembering our ancestors. Traditionally obon is the time each year when the spirits of our ancestors return to visit relatives. For this lanterns are hung outside the house to guide them back. We clean and water their grave stones and prayers at temples. Bon Odori dances are performed and Taiko drums playing. Each district has different dances and rituals.

At the end, floating lanterns are put in the river or lake or ocean to guide the spirits back to their world.

This is also the beginning of summer holidays. Many people plan trips around this time both domestically and abroad. If you have plans to travel around Japan in this time, expect higher prices and plan far in advance.