Artisan Spotlight is a new initiative at the Spoon & Tamago Shop to highlight the work of individual artisans and craftspeople in Japan. Although we’ve always been supportive of traditional crafts, our focus within the shop has always been on makers and designers that fall somewhere in-between handmade and mass-produced. But with limited travel and exposure now due to the pandemic, we thought it was important to expand our coverage.
Cerabo Kutani is a new museum and hands-on workshop that opened over the summer in Komatsu City (Ishikawa prefecture), a location known as one of the few and first production centers of kutani-yaki porcelain. It’s here that, over 350 years ago, clay was first made by crushing rocks mined from the nearby Hanasaka mountains.
Windows on the Teahouse (Credit: ©2019 Takumi Ota Photography)
Curated by architectural historian and critic, Igarashi Tarō, Windowology explores the ways in which windows frame our world, each bringing a completely unique perspective to our lives. Discover this vital cultural and architectural element through an exhibition filled with models, drawings, photographs, film, manga, books, crafts, and original artwork by renowned performance and installation artist, Tsuda Michiko.
Celebrating Windowology’s 10th anniversary, this exhibition has been reimagined for an international audience. Experience this renowned exhibition from the comfort of your own home through our virtual tours. Explore a historical Japanese teahouse, watch an interview with Igarashi Tarō, and dive into more exclusive content available online.
Visit the virtual exhibition at https://www.japanhousela.com/exhibitions/windowology/.
all photos by kenta hasegawa
Hundreds of hinoki wooden blocks, each connected by stainless steel rods, have been draped over an office building in Tokyo, creating a latticed curtain that is both dense, but also airy. The beautiful entranceway, newly installed over the summer, creates multiple visual effects depending on the distance and angle of the viewer.
Your cat already acts like a god. And you probably treat it like one. So why not take the next step with this cardboard Shinto shrine for cats, created by a Japanese cardboard company. From scratching pad and hiding spot to litter box cover, there are multiple ways to use the shrine to further your devotion.
In December of last year a local government agency in Aomori prefecture set out to create a PR campaign that would boost the value and attractiveness of their fishery industry. They eventually landed on the idea of creating sets of trading cards featuring real-life fisherman, flexing in poses often featuring the fish they caught. The cards have become a huge hit among the local community and beyond with kids trying to collect different cards while also vying for rare cards.
Since 2016, a uniquely Japanese event has been held in Osaka each year: the Kei-tora Gardening Contest. The kei-tora, formally known as the Kei Truck, is a tiny but practical vehicle common in Japan, particularly on smaller construction or agricultural work sites. And because most homes in Japan don’t have gardens, the Japan Federation of Landscape Contractors came up with the idea of the Kei-tora Gardening Contest. Landscape design and gardening companies from all around participate to see who can come up with the best garden within the confines of the trunk of a kei-tora.
Back in 2018 we featured the awards but we decided to check in on some more recent winning designs.
Seiwado Book Store in Osaka began producing playful covers as freebies for their customers
If you’ve ever purchased a book in Japan you’re undoubtedly familiar with the phrase kaba otsuke shimashouka? “Would you like a cover?” The book cover is a free service that booksellers in Japan offer, giving your newly purchased book a thin, dust cover that protects the binding and pages. With a little bit of creativity, one bookseller in Osaka has turned the book cover into a method of attracting new customers into their bookstore.
Join us for some laughs and chuckles on Saturday, November 21, 2020 (EST) for an online talk and storytelling by rakugo performer Shinoharu Tatekawa. Rakugo is Japan’s art of comedic storytelling that dates back to the Edo period (1603–1868) and remains popular today. The monologues rely on the skill of the teller, rather than scenery or complex props. A 14-year veteran, our guest, Shinoharu, spent several years growing up in America, first as a child and later as a student at Yale University, and will be performing entirely in English!
The online lecture will be available to Spoon & Tamago members. Already a member? Awesome! Members will automatically be receiving a link by email to join. Not a member? Consider joining us and getting access to this talk, as well as many other perks!
Online Member Lecture Series with Shinoharu Tatekawa
WHEN: November 21, 2020 (EST) | 8:00 – 9:00 PM
WHERE: Zoom Meeting
HOW TO JOIN: All members will be receiving an email with a link to join the meeting.
Archive footage of the talk is now available. Members can sign-in to view.
Akudama Drive is a new anime set in a dystopian future Kansai. The story revolves around an antihero group of criminals known as Akudama who are pursued by the government. And while the story and characters propel forward, it’s the art direction — in other words, the stationary elements; the backgrounds — that create this anime’s arresting aesthetic, setting it apart from others.