Japan at home

Most of the House Industries color palette, paper and wood substrates we’ve been pedaling have been “inspired” by some of the Japanese folk craft we have in our home. When my wife Steph found out that we were going to be in Japan last month, her priority was to sniff out a few countryside flea markets. We spent a few days in Tokyo then jumped on the Skinkansen and rolled south fast.

I’ve been sweating a jizai kagi (hearth hook) for some time. After a rainy day chin-stroke at the Mengei Musuem and seeing the live specimens featured in this handsome brochure, it soon turned into a quest.

First sale, first turn: had to adopt this wooden girl.

The woman that sold us this container had it overflowing with silks. No interest in the silk this trip…we wanted the basket she wrapped in washi and customized with her company name.

A few taiyaki treats later, turn the corner and BOOM: the whole hook rig! Once installed at home, my mom happened to stop by and asked, “you went all the way to Japan to get an old chain fall?!?”

The hand carved carp that hangs from the hook is used to adjust the the height of the tea kettle over the fire.

An aisle away I saw a little old lady sitting on what looked like an Ultraman x G.I. Joe foot locker. Heavy negotiation ensued. A few yen later, we scored the transport unit for our finds and a new crate to hold firewood.

Still not knowing what the box said, we got a few good looks & laughs from the locals. Back at our inn, the owner (laughing the entire time) translated and told us it was a true soap box and then said something about crazy Gaijins.

Posted by on October 11, 2010