I bought a lot…mostly washi tape, stationery, pens, Biore products, some craft supplies and some seriously tasty snacks involving green tea. (The Green Tea Kit Kats sold at the airport are my favorite things on earth!) Naoto was very much an enabler. Every time I wavered about buying something, he reminded me that we are only in Japan once every year or so. I rarely argued with this reasoning. Even so, I regret about five things I chose to not purchase…ahh next time! These are the stationery bits I bought at bunbougu cafe. I chose some calendar stickers, two rolls of MT tape, message cards and this lovely silver box. The box is covered in tiny scratches, which I love because it’s not so precious that I won’t use it. (I always need more wabi-sabi in my life.) It’s large enough to hold pens or post-its on my desk and has become a catalyst for the Great Desk Clean-Up. (Remember this post? Yeah, it’s that bad again.)
The thing I loved about the box is its story. The box is handmade by artisans in Shitamachi (an old section of Tokyo) who used to make tea containers. Since most people are buying mass-produced tea tins now (because they are cheaper, of course) the makers branched into creating other useful household items in order to keep their livelihoods and to preserve the act of making goods by hand. Each box is handmade and hand scuffed, giving it all those tiny scratches, and celebrates monozukuri (simply, the act of making things, but for a more complicated answer, click the link.)
I love having a little piece of handmade Japan on my desk to remind me of our trip, bunbougu cafe and (most importantly) to keep my desk clean!