Gutsman Toe Socks

The strong brand of socks for a sports and running.

Technology of strong five finger socks is used and five finger socks were developed for running. There are many reasons for this, the most obvious being so that your toes don’t rub up against each others causing blisters.

Toe socks also provide better balance in general. When Japanese builders work, they use “Tabi shoes” and toe socks for better balance.

Gutsman has a large selection of rich color variation and variation. The company encourages you to use these socks for not only marathon and running, but also for walking, yoga, pilates, training, and golf, etc.

These socks are also made so with anti odor qualities. Uses patented "mu-func." thread, which has anti-bacterial and deoderant effects. The seam around the toe is strategically placed on the outside to prevent friction and callusing. 

Tapered leg area to encourage better blood cirulation for exteneded wear with high-top boots. The support of the arch is also very important in the design. 

Reinforced with pile in high friction areas (heel, sole, toes, ankle) for increased protection.

Both high socks and ankle socks are available.

Soy Sauce

We love our soy sauce. Every time we cook Japanese food, or even western, we need soy sauce the same way that in the west there is salt.

One rule however, please don’t ever put soy sauce directly on rice. There are reasons for this but mainly, rice is precious and putting soy sauce on it disrespects the purity of enjoying the rice. As a country that has relied on rice for centuries, when we wash rice before cooking it, we don’t waste a single grain our of appreciation and respect.

The soy sauce that we carry is made with premium whole soybean grains. The Ohitachi soy sauce is fermented for longer than a year in over 100 years old wooden barrels. Even the most demanding of connoisseurs will be delighted by the quality of this soy sauce. 

The flavor is deep, long, round and very rich in umami. 

It can be used in all your preparations often in place of salt, it is preferable to use it as a final touch (for example for sushi, sashimi, or salad dressings) rather than for cooking, considering the high quality of this product.

Keep refrigerated and enjoy!.

Okinawan Pottery

Okinawa is a tropical island with more than 150 islands in the East China Sea, between Taiwan and the main island of Japan. It is known for its tropical climate, large beaches and coral reefs, as well as for World War II sites. On the largest island (also called Okinawa) is the prefectural Okinawa Peace Memorial Museum, which commemorates a massive invasion of the Allies in 1945, and the Churaumi Aquarium, where sharks can be seen along with whales and manta rays. Because of it’s geographical location, Okinawa has had many influences from other countries. This is reflected in the music, colors, patterns, food and drink. 

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“Goya Campuru” is favorite dish in Okinawa made with bitter Goya, tofu, pork, onions. This dish has also become popular in  the rest of Japan.

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“Awamori” is the Okinawan “sake” which is very strong.  Awamori was once considered a shōchū . But shōchū is usually distilled from short- spiked rice (japonica), unlike the awamori which uses Thai long-spiked rice (indica). In addition, awamori uses the Okinawa - specific black koji fungus for fermentation , while shōchū uses aspergillus oryzae , a microscopic fungus (called white kōji ). It could be compared to tequila and Okinawan’s love to have this drink and sing and dance. 

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At the enterance of many establishments and some homes in Okinawa you will see Shisa, a traditional Ryukyuan cultural artifact and decoration derived from Chinese guardian lions, often seen in similar pairs, resembling a cross between a lion and a dog, from Okinawan mythology. In magic typology, they are sometimes also classified as gargoyle beasts. Shisa are wards, believed to protect from some evils. People place pairs of shisa on their rooftops or flanking the gates to their houses, with the left shisa traditionally having a closed mouth, the right one an open mouth.  The open mouth shisa traditionally wards off evil spirits, and the closed mouth shisa keeps good spirits in.

Like the komainu ("lion dogs"), the shisa are a variation of the guardian lions from China. From the Edo period, they started to be called "guardian dogs" in general in mainland Japan. Gender is variously assigned to the shisa. Some Okinawans believe the male has his mouth closed to keep bad out of the home, while the female has her mouth open to share goodness. Others believe the female has her mouth closed to "keep in the good", while the male has his mouth open to "scare away the bad

When a Chinese emissary returned from a voyage to the court at Shuri Castle, he brought a gift for the king, a necklace decorated with a figurine of a shisa. The king found it charming and wore it underneath his clothes. At the Naha Port bay, the village of Madanbashi was often terrorized by a sea dragon who ate the villagers and destroyed their property. One day, the king was visiting the village, and one of these attacks happened; all the people ran and hid. The local noro had been told in a dream to instruct the king when he visited to stand on the beach and lift up his figurine towards the dragon; she sent the boy, Chiga, to tell him the message. He faced the monster with the figurine held high, and immediately a giant roar sounded all through the village, a roar so deep and powerful that it even shook the dragon. A massive boulder then fell from heaven and crushed the dragon's tail, so that he couldn't move, and eventually died. This boulder and the dragon's body became covered with plants and surrounded by trees, and can still be seen today as the "Gana-mui Woods" near Naha Ohashi bridge. The townspeople then built a large stone shisa to protect it from the dragon's spirit and other threats

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In Okinawa, pottery is called yachimun. The quality of pottery improved through exchanges with neighboring countries such as China and Korea, and in 1616, potters of Korean pottery were invited from Satsuma for guidance. Joyachi: Glazed pottery, which was first introduced to Okinawa by Korean potters. Over the years, Joyachi made the transition from serving as items for everyday use to objects of fine art.

In 1682, pottery kilns that were in three different places were brought together in Tsuboya, Naha, which then became the birthplace of Tsuboya-yaki, the pottery that represents Okinawa. Before then, pottery was produced in various regions of Okinawa, and there is a ruin of a kiln in Kina, Yomitan of Central Okinawa that was used to make Kinayaki, which is said to be the oldest in Okinawan pottery.

In 1972, as a result of Jiro Kinjo, the Living National Treasure of Okinawa, opening a studio in Yomitan, many potters followed, and Yomitan became a place known for yachimun alongside Tsuboya in Naha.

The technique employed in creating yachimun (pottery in the Okinawan dialect) in the Ryukyus was imported from China around the middle of the 14th century and was later influenced by Japanese and Korean ceramics. Sturdy construction and distinctive hand-created designs are the unique characteristics of Okinawan pottery. Including plates, sake bottles, vases, flowerpots, incense burners, light shades and coffee cups, potters produce quality pieces by employing traditional methods and at the same time promote the developent of new techniques. A number of young and innovative potters are actively participating in the ar

Tsuboya ware is majorly divided into two: “Arayachi (unglazed Tsuboya ware)” and “Jouyachi (glazed Tsuboya ware).”  Arayachi is made from the soil of the south of mainland Okinawa, unglazed, or coated with mud or manganese glaze, and then is fired at about 1,120℃while“Jouyachi is made from the soil of the north of mainland Okinawa, and baked at about 1,200℃. The Jouyachi is strong and colorful because of using glaze.

Okinawan people used to use the Arayachi jar for storing miso (fermented soybean paste), beans, oil, etc.  In addition, storing awamori (Okinawan liquor) to make kuusu (the aged awamori) in the Arayachi jar producse more flavored, mellow awamori.

The Jouyachi has been especially used for eating utensils because its beautiful colors and glaze makes dinner tables gorgeous.   Which soil and which glaze are used for the yachimun brings a different atmosphere to your table!!

Tsuboya Ware has various techniques of its own including “akae (polychrome overglaze painting with red as the central tone),” which used to produced only limited number of for the royal government’s use, “takkuwasaa (decoration with additional clay on the surface),” “kakiotoshi (sgraffito)” and “sen-bori (line-engraving)! 

After main firing at 1,200℃, products are painted before being fired a second time at around 800℃.  “Akae,”which needs to have brilliant red settled on the surface goes through this process.

The elegant, dazzling red mesmerized us all the more for a good deal of time and effort.♪

Currently, 14 potteries produce their products in Tsuboya. Please visit any of potteries to watch how they work and listen to potters, and you will be more and more drawn by the charms of Tsuboya ware, what a great deal of time and care they devote themselves to the yachimun, how much passion and deep affection they put into the yachimun, etc.

We now have a selection of Okinawan pottery at our store. Please visit us and take a look!


Sola Cube

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3.8 billion years have passed since the one single life began on Earth. Later, these lives evolved into flowers, fruit and seeds. These lives maintained the life cycles for millions upon millions of generations.

The colors and materials each have their own unique purposes. These intriguing shapes have form unpretentiously with each functional purpose by the hand of Mother Nature.

We offer beautifully preserved plants, exquisitely in the form of a 1.6 x 1.6in acrylic cube. Sola cubes can be arrange and combine in multiple patterns to inspire sensitivity and learning. Arrange your Sola cubes, observe them intently, and appreciate the wonder or botanical lives.

By observing a small plant carefully, we are able to glimpse a more perfect world. We express the name “Sola” with the Chinese kanji 宙, which means “universe.” This kanji explains everything we know and don’t know, including time and space, with a single character.

Sola also has another meaning: “blue sky.” An imaginary world spreads out like the sky before us.

Every Sola cube is carefully handmade by an experienced Japanese craftsman, and each one takes considerable time and effort to complete. Outstanding craftsmanship is required to ensure that this small transparent cube, which measures only 4cm, holds a plant at its very center and that no air bubbles get inside.

Manufacturing process:

Step 1 Foundation creation:

In the first step of manufacturing, liquid acrylic is poured into a mold, which is 5-6cm square, slightly larger than the Sola cube. The dried plant is carefully inserted when the liquid hardens toa gel.

Step 2 Pressurization:

Additional liquid acrylic is then poured into the mold.

The mold is placed into a vacuum kiln, then pressurized to force out any air bubbles.

Step 3 Heat treatment:

The product then undergoes a heat treatment. The cube is showered with hot air, at temperatures of 80 degrees for 3-4 hours. This stabilizes the binding of the acrylic, and ensures the cube is durable and long lasting.

Step 4 Processing:

The cube is cut to precisely 4cm on each side, then planed. The corners are rounded and smoothed at the end of this step.

Step 5 Polishing:

The surface of the cube is polished until it is shiny, and a clean, glossy finish is achieved.

These have multi functions, it can be a paperweight, a display piece, whatever you imagine. They are lovely on there own, also collectors items to enjoy the whole set. Each piece is handmade and unique.

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Coming Of Age Day

Seijin Shiki or 成人式or Coming of Age day comes on the second January of every year. This year it is on January 14th. It is for everyone that have turned 20 years old in the last year, both male and females look forward to this special day. We are alerted by the city or ward office about where to meet and what time but it is usually after 11:30am at the city office. Boys and girls mix and compliment each other. 

We wear colorful kimono’s and the men wear kimono’s or suits as well. Grandmas and mothers still help the girls with the Kimono, Obi, and hair decoration. In modern times it is less common for people to live with their Grandparents so you can go to the store where you buy your kimono and then to a hair salon for a special hair-do with ornaments and make-up. 

From there many times we go to a temple with our family and friends and take photos and enjoy the day. 

If you are in Tokyo at this time please enjoy the day!

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Gassan Washi Paper

Road with a long history

The Nishikawa area of Yamagata prefecture has long been a center of mountain worship based on the Three Mountains of Dewa (Dewa sanzan): Mt. Gassan, Mt. Yudono, and Mt. Haguro. Many pilgrims came from far-awdistant places, even as far off as the Kantō region, and followed the 24 km long highway that runs through the town from east to west. Remnants of the mountain cult can still be found in temples, shrines, and ruins in the area. 

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Iwanesawa Sanzan Shrine

During the Edo period (1615–1868) various types of handmade Japanese paper were produced in Nishikawa-cho, resulting in the name Nishiyama washi. Gassan washi was originally an offshoot of Nishiyama washi and is made in the Iwanesawa district of Nishikawa, situated at an entrance to Mt. Gassan, where there is a large shrine called Iwanesawa Sanzan Shrine (formerly Nichigatsu Temple) and a community of guesthouses for visiting pilgrims 

Saving the paper making tradition

When Iino Hiroo became the last paper maker in the Iwanesawa district, he changed the name from Nishiyama washi to Gassan washi and continued to engage in and teach papermaking up until 1995. The photographs taken in the mid 70’s show the family business in action. 

Papermaking at the Nature and Craft Museum, Oisawa

In 1989 in the Ōisawa district of Nishikawa, a papermaking studio was built in the Shizen to Takumi no Denshokan (Nature and Craft Museum). Iino Hiroo declined to work at the studio feeling that the 30 minute drive from Iwanesawa to Oisawa was too much at his advanced age, so Miura Kazuyuki, who was training as a papermaker in Ogawa, Saitama Prefecture, was invited to be the instructor for the papermaking studio. After Miura moved to Nishikawa, he worked with Iino mastering the production of the Gassan washi and eventually became the one and only papermaker in Nishikawa.  

A road along a clear stream

The Ōisawa district is a valley running southward from the headwaters of Sagae River located deep within the far southwest of Nishikawa. Looking north from Ōisawa, Mt. Gassan appears above the clear river. This area is sometimes called “the Japanese Tibet.” Near the old highway along the river where in the winter the heavy snowfall piles up over two meters in height, stands the ruins of a huge temple whose lines of foundation stones mark an area the size of a soccer field or a small village. 

 Characteristics of Gassan paper

Gassan washi is characterized by its effective use of locally produced paper mulberry (kōzo) to bring out texture of the natural fiber. The paper made by Iino was dried on boards that gave his paper a natural soft texture. The traditional size for the Gassan washi is 30.0 cm x 79.0 cm. Even after Miura took over the production, the paper has not changed and still brings out the texture of the paper mulberry. 

Production Processes: Harvesting and cutting

Lets take a look at the process of producing Gassan washi papermaking. The kōzo (paper mulberry) branches are harvested just before the snow sets in at the end of November. The harvested branches are then cut to about 70 cm.

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Production processes: Steaming

The cut kōzo branches are bundled together and set in a covered bucket to steam for two hours. Immediately after steaming, water is poured over them so that the outer skin contracts making it easier to strip.

Production processes: Peeling

The skin of the steamed kōzo can be easily peeled off by hand.  Since this needs to be done before the branches cool, local people and college students come to help out with the work. The peeled skin is dried in bundles. Then, the dried paper mulberry skin is soaked in water again and the surface skin is shaved off using a knife. Paper mulberry that still has the outer skin is called “black bark” (kurokawa) and the stripped paper mulberry inner skin is called "white bark" (shirokawa). The shirokawa is then dried. This process is still done with the help of the Iwanesawa locals. 

Production processes: Boiling, rinsing and removing dusts and debris

The shirakawa skins are then boiled for two hours in a solution of water and soda ash (sodium carbonate aqueous solution). The boiled paper mulberry fibers are washed in water to take the soda ash off. After thorough rinsing, scars and knots left in the fiber are taken out by hand one by one. 

Production processes: Beating

The cleaned paper mulberry fibers are beaten into pulp. In the old days, this used to be done by hand beating the paper mulberry fibers with a wooden stick on to a board, but now naginata beaters and electric beaters are used.

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Production processes: Mixing fibers and neri in the vat

The pulp is put into a vat filed with water and the fibers distributed by moving the harrow back and forth. A bamboo pole is also used to thoroughly mix the fibers, and then a viscous agent (neri) is added and the vat mixed again to create the bath for forming paper. Adding the neri emulsifies the pulp so the paper mulberry fibers are uniformly suspended in the vat. The viscous liquid from Abelmoschus manihot (tororoaoi)roots is used for neri.

Production processes: Forming paper

The paper is made using a sugeta, which is a bamboo screen set in a deckle, or frame mold with handles. It is possible to swish the pulp back and forth on the screen because of the viscocity of the neri. The solution is scooped in at the front and then swished back and forth so that the pulp spreads evenly over the screen. Depending on the type and thickness of the finished product, the movement will differ. Because the amount of pulp in the solution decreases with each sheet of paper made, fine adjustments are needed to maintain the same thickness in each paper.

We have some New Gassan Wallets at our store in various colors.

Clean your home, body, and mind to prepare for the Yew Year

In Japan we have a tradition of cleaning our houses and our bodies before the new year. House cleaning involves throwing away clutter and unnecessary items for a clean new start. A deep clean in the house that we usually prefer to do by ourselves. Cleaning can be a part of meditation. Whether or not you have someone to help you during your busy schedule in the year, it is always good to do this clean yourself to check all of the points that may have been missed, go through belongings, rearrange furniture and lifestyle. It is very meditative … nostalgic, deciding what to keep and what to toss, creative, and deciding how you want to start the next year.

After that process is completed we clean our bodies. Scrubbing off all the dirt and grind of last year. Soaking in a bath. In Japan we go to the hot springs but when they aren’t available we take a long bath with bath salts. This is also the end of the meditation, letting the steam enter your lungs and clean your spirit.

Some of the products that we recommend for the body washing process:

Makanai Scrubbing Towels: Many types to be found at https://www.japan-best.net/bath-salts/

Woven from cotton and strings made from natural washi paper which are naturally soft and durable, while leaving a gentle and pleasant after-wash unique to the Japanese bathing culture.

These body wash towels made from Japanese washi paper pulp, have been awarded Gold in the 2014 Omotenashi Selection. This award is a program dedicated to discovering, screening and awarding exciting products and services that epitomize the concept of omotenashi, a unique spirit of the Japanese culture. 

https://www.japan-best.net/bath-accessories/makanai-washi-paper-body-scrub-towel

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We also Love the selection of bath salts. Many different types: https://www.japan-best.net/bath-salts/

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Binchotan Charcoal Peeling Towel :

The fibers of the peeling towel are enriches with Binchotan charcoal, which cleanses the skin and absorbs dirt and bacteria and lightly prevent from sweating. It is perfectly suitable for both face and body as its composition is lightly scrubbing. https://www.japan-best.net/bath-accessories/kenkawai-binchotan-peeling-towel

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Uno Hake Brushes (Since 1917) for a nice good back and body scrub!

“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. https://www.japan-best.net/bath-accessories/

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We hope you enjoy our selection of Bath goods.

Xmas Japan Style

Christmas has only been widely celebrated in Japan for the last few decades. It's still not seen as a religious holiday or celebration as there are not many Christians in Japan. Now several customs that came to Japan from the USA such as sending and receiving Christmas Cards and Presents are popular.

In Japan, Christmas in known as more of a time to spread happiness rather than a religious celebration. Christmas Eve is often celebrated more than Christmas Day.

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Christmas Eve is thought of as a romantic day, in which couples spend together and exchange presents. In many ways it resembles Valentine's Day celebrations in the UK and the USA. Young couples like to go for walks to look at the Christmas lights and have a romantic meal in a restaurant - booking a table on Christmas Eve can be very difficult as it's so popular!

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Families often eat fried chicken on Christmas day. Traditionally, homes and apartments in Japan do not have ovens so the traditional oven baked chicken cannot be made. Hence it is the busiest time of year for restaurants such as KFC and people can place orders at their local fast food restaurant in advance! There was an advertising campaign by KFC in the 1974 called 'Kentucky for Christmas!' (Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!) which was very successful and made KFC popular for Christmas!

The traditional Japanese Christmas food is Christmas cake, but it's not a rich fruitcake, but is usually a sponge cake decorated with strawberries and whipped cream. The 'shortcake' emoji is Japanese Christmas cake!

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Christmas is not a national holiday in Japan. However, often schools are closed on Christmas Day. The Emperor's birthday is a national holiday on the 23rd December and there's also a New Year school break. So the holiday break often starts around the 23rd. But most businesses will treat the 25th as a 'normal' working day.

One piece of music is especially famous around Christmas and the end of the year in Japan - Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and it's final act the "Ode to Joy". The music is so famous it's simply known as 'daiku' (which means 'number nine'). Choirs all over the country sing it in German. One choir in Osaka, has 10,000 people in it and is known as the 'Number Nine Chorus'! It's thought it was first sung in Japan at Christmas by German prisoners of War in World War One and over the years it became more and more popular.

Parties are often held for children, with games and dancing. Japanese Christmas Cake is a sponge cake decorated with trees, flowers and a figure of Santa Claus. 

In Japan Santa is known as サンタさん、サンタクロース santa-san (Mr Santa). Another Japanese gift bringer is Hoteiosho, a Japanese god of good fortune from Buddhism and not really related to Christmas. His belly and red clothing however, resemble those of Santa Clause. 

The Japanese New Year (called 'o shogatsu') is more like a traditional Western Christmas. New year is the period where families get together, have a special meal, pray and send greetings cards. New year is celebrated over five days from December 31st to January 4th and is a very busy time.

Champagne & Wine Glasses for your holiday season

Time and Style started out in 1990 as a merchant of furniture in Tokyo. The company continues to challenge the development of creating a living environment with a commitment to handmade, supporting craftsmen, while remaining contemporary. They produce “tools for life” that have been individually created by craftsmen using high quality materials, while fusing modern lifestyle with culture and tradition, as well as finding a sense of harmony and silence that are an essential part of Japanese culture. This can be felt in the delicate forms and materials that we find in their products.

It’s the union of Time and Style’s expertise in design, and knowing the right craftsmen who can bring everything together and produce a beautiful product. 

We offer a variety of glasses for different types of champagne, wine, beer, sake for you to enjoy their aromas, colors, and flavors. 

The champagne and wine glasses have supple curves, which provides a beautiful appearance, a delicate stem made thin as possible while being strong and durable.  

We also have water glasses called “Moon Glasses” in a series of  4 for the different stages of  the moon: 

Thinly blown glass with a thickness of 0.8mm. Surprisingly light when held, it features an extravagant usability and a delicate texture which accentuates the true flavor of your drinks. A sand-blast which stylishly and beautifully complements the thin glass is applied as an accent. 

We hope you enjoy our selection!

Buube Children's Apparel

The founder of the brand, Naoyuki was born in Tokyo in 1977. She graduated from Fashion Institute Technology New York.

She continued to do packaging and graphic design for the client such as Isetan, Converse, Nike and various fashion stores as a freelance designer since graduating from university.

““I was at a turning point 7 years ago. Almost my works were not independent but depending on the partner of brand. It was that that I decided start over and study design again.””

— NAOYUKI

While being a huge fan of Japanese craftsmanship she started noticing that many prominent factories have moved to China. The quality of, “Made in China” products are improving every year, however she started to think about what Japanese identity is.

She collected any historical graphic design and typography books all over the world. With her collection she started up the online library and book store for graphic designer and students. Most visitors of her website are based in Europe. Among other activities, she regularly teaches graphic design in Tokyo.

After becoming a mother 3 years ago, she studied and learned about childcare including baby and kids fashion, child education. Her impression was that children need to be surrounded by and have an education in art and design, along with her older students.

She came up with product idea with Japanese standard baby products, adding modern design concept for baby and kids item. Each product contains a wish for a good design education.

This is how bib brand began. As her son grew she added additional products including baby and children’s apparel.

The name of a brand is “buube", this doesn’t mean anything and can be pronounced in different ways, because all of new-born babies can’t speak a specific language. It’s just the word which you could imagine coming from a baby in any country. 

Uno Hake Brush for Cashmere Clothing

Clothing Brush (for cashmere)

Materials: Horse hair / Katsura wood

Place of Origin: Japan

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.

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