March 27, 2013

Sakura full bloom!

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I would like to share these sakura photographs with you. I shot these photos around our office today.

Higashigaoka, Meguro-ku, Tokyo

In Tokyo, sakura flowers full bloom. Once sakura reach to full bloom status, the flowers stay for 3 - 5 days, and then they will scatter very quickly. That means you will have less than a week chance to enjoy flowers. The scattering is triggered by rain we often have during this season. We refer this rain as "flower scattering rain".

When sakura full blooms, the flowers come out even from the stem!
Fukasawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo

In Tokyo, many sakura trees are planted along roads, pavements and small rivers for public enjoyment. The trees are maintained by the city. Althoug we only have one week for flower viewing during the year, very few argue against using tax for tree maintenance. Sakura are soul, spiritual trees for the Japanese. Cutting a sakura tree is bad moral.

If you look up a big sakura tree, you can enjoy more. The sky is covered with flowers!

Fukasawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
While taking photographs, I found many Japanese black pine trees. This is a small park with only pine trees. In the park, an old man cleaning staff was sweeping the ground. No visitors, very quiet when I came in. It was a weekday afternoon.
This pine tree is planted at a house entrance. I presume that this residence is owned by a wealthy person.

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March 21, 2013

We will attend Cherry Blossom Festival on April 13th at Roosevelt Is. NYC

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We will be attending at Cherry Blossom Festival to be held at Roosevelt Island in NYC on April 13th, 2013 (Saturday). The festival will be held along the promenade looking to Manhattan, next to Coler Goldwater Specialty Hospital & Nursing Facility. You will see a festival signboard at the subway (F) station exit and also at the Tram Station.  The festival hour is 10:00AM - 8:00PM.
We will be expecting cherry blossoms around the day, according to the festival organizer.
Once again this year, we will be bringing some showcases. If you happen to reside around the area, we look forward to meeting you!

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Please allow some more week to refill stocks of Kincaku bags

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Currently, we have a few stock left in Kinchaku category.  Please allow some weeks before we refill stock. Theses small bags are handmade, so we will get stock again from the same craft men and craft women. Also, we will find other designs that international customer may be interested in.

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March 20, 2013

Sakura have started to bloom in Tokyo

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Surprisingly early, Sakura started to bloom form last Sunday here in Tokyo.  This is one week to 10 days earlier than we observe every year. Sakura are dashing to their full bloom towards next week. We would like to post photos of full bloom again.

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March 15, 2013

Ten'mari (handmade balls) added

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We have added ten'mari (meaning handmade balls). These balls are suitable for ornaments and interior decorations.
Ten'mari handmade balls by skillful artisans

The balls measure approximately 8 to 9cm (3 -3/16" to 3 -9/16"). They are made of raw silk (more accurately "keba" in Japanese, which is fluff or fuzz when Goggle translated) and the designs are hand-stitched by cotton. A silkworm cocoon is embedded inside with a nut, to make a gentle sound when shook. The design motifs come from flower, tree and nature images. Chrysanthemum, sakura (cherry flowers) and Japanese cedar are images of the designs.

There are many kinds of ten'mari and skills in Japan, but these ones are particularly called "Yashu ten'mari". "Yashu" is a historical name of Tochigi prefecture (about 100km north of Tokyo), where these ten'mari are created. The Yashu ten'mari artisans are organized at Utsunomiya city in Tochigi prefecture.

The "Yashu" ten'mari skill was at first developed by an old lady called Harue-san in the city (she is now retired), and has been passed down by the group named "Yashu Ten'mari Sha" with skillful old lady artisans. Tremendous trainings and experiences, plus geometric sense are necessary to become a ten'mari ball artisan.
Please enjoy the traditional spirit and the workwomanship.

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March 3, 2013

Entering the 3rd year of our business

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We would like to announce that we are celebrating our 3rd birthday since we opened our web store on March 3rd, 2011.  Based upon customers' comments and feedback, we will continue to enhance product lineups and improve our service and also web site design. We strive to establish our position to of an open-channel, easy-to-use, standard platform for accessing Japanese traditional crafts and information. We are grateful to your supporting our business.

Thank you very much!

March 2, 2013

New tenugui lineup added - "Rien-zome"

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We would like to announce that we have added new lineup of tenugui brand named "Rien-zome". (Rien-zome literally means pear garden dyeing.) These tenugui are often sold at large department stores in Japan. We fill stocks so that international customers are able to purchase the brand through Internet without travelling to Japan.

Rien-zome tenugui are high quality and  beautiful designs. Their designs are picturesque, so they are suitable for home deco and collections. 
The producer (a company named Todaya Shouten in Tokyo) started tenugui and yukata (casual version of kimono) business in 1872. Since then, they stick to the traditional dyeing method called "Chu-sen" and keep artisans spirits. Chu-sen dyed tenugui don't have right and wrong sides to the images. You can enjoy the image from both sides of tenugui. For example, you can enjoy the symmetry images by turning a tenugui to the other side as depicted below.

Chu-sen dye method was first invented and improved in Osaka Japan for producing non-expensive products. Before that,  cloths were dyed each by each by attaching stencils. With Chu-sen method, approximately 20 layered cloths are dyed one at a time. So, Chu-sen tenugui are often sold in Japan between the range of $10-$20 US per each. By considering the design complexity and the fact of all hand-dyed, we think the prices are still reasonable.

Please click here to visit our web store and find your favorite "Rien-zome" tenugui. We get stocks of Ukiyo-e, antique, bird and flower designs.



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March 1, 2013

New noren, tenugui added

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We have added some new products from the producers.
Roketsu-zome (batik) noren new lineup from Kyoto
These "circle" images are all hand-painted on off-white cotton. The circle is hand-brushing style. "Circle" implies good situation in Japan.

New design Tenugui arrival
New designs of flowers, trees and birds. Tenugui that are dyed with "Chu-sen" method have no right and wrong sides to the image. You can enjoy the design from each side of tenugui.

Thank you for visiting our blog!