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[Otaru Showroom]

On November 20, 2022, we opened our fifth Otaru Showroom on the fourth floor of the Kyowa Hama Building facing the Otaru Canal, the cornerstone of the development of the port city of Otaru.

The Kyowa Hama Building was constructed in 1933 as the office building of Shimatani Shosen, a spin-off company of Shimatani Kisen, one of the shipping companies that contributed to the development of Japan in the modern era. Later, it merged with Mitsui Senpaku Kaisha (now Mitsui O.S.K. Lines), a Mitsui conglomerate, and became Otaru's first tenant building, the Mitsui Senpaku Building, which housed the offices of many shipping companies, and on the third floor was Yamashita Kisen, whose branch manager was Shintaro and Yujiro Ishihara's father. The four-story reinforced concrete building has a symmetrical design and is designated as a historical building by Otaru City, with its highly decorative architectural style from the early Showa period, as seen in the entrance area decorated with granite and the arched windows on the fourth floor.

Otaru prospered as the center of Hokkaido's economy, opening shipping routes to Europe, the U.S., and Sakhalin as an international trading port. Ironai Boulevard, the main street of Otaru, was known as the "Wall Street of the North," and is lined with retro stone buildings such as the former Otaru Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Otaru branch of the former Mitsui Bank, and the Otaru branch of the former Hokkaido Takushoku Bank where the writer Takiji Kobayashi worked. The Otaru Canal and historical buildings bequeathed by those who once pioneered the era and dreamed of pioneering the future continue to mark their respective histories as symbols of Otaru's urban development as the city celebrates its 100th anniversary as a city in 2022.

Spring, when the snow melts, summer, with its abundance of greenery, autumn, with its reddish ivy, and winter, with its snow and lights. The Otaru Canal reflects Otaru's four seasons on the surface of the water and has passed through time along with the city. The window of the Otaru Showroom offers a view of the changing seasons. Please stop by when you stroll around Otaru.

Otaru Showroom
https://www.shokunin.com/en/showroom/otaru.html

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[Ringokko Set Made in Hirosaki, Japan, the Largest Apple-Growing Region in Japan]

Hirosaki City, in Aomori Prefecture, is the largest producer of apples in Japan, where 20% of domestic production occurs. Apple trees that have completed their role, are either used as firewoods or disposed. Ringokko Set is produced along with the zero-emission activity, to not only eat the fruits of these apple trees, but also utilize their trunks. There are many things we can do to use up everything without waste that can be found in many places.

So how can we eat apples without wasting the fruit? One method that has been gaining attention recently is the "star cut," in which the apple is sliced horizontally into round slices. The term "star cut" comes from the star-shaped appearance of the core in the middle. Since apples contain more fiber and vitamin nutrients in the skin and near the peel, it is better to eat apples with the peel so that all the nutrients can be consumed without wasting any. With star-cut, you can eat more and only the core and vines remain at the end.

Ringokko Set constitutes of Ringokko Dish, tableware for baby food, and Mash Shaji, a spoon for baby food. The cute tableware set of an apple tree is also appreciated as a newborn gift.

Kimura Mokuhin's Ringokko Set
https://www.shokunin.com/en/kimuramokuhin/

Reference
https://www.aomori-ringo.or.jp/starcut/

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[History of Jubako (Stacked Boxes)]

If you fill an entire tier with rice, it would be a feast in itself, wouldn't it? I filled one tier of the jubako with bale-shaped rice balls and sushi made with freshly cooked rice. The other tier is filled with my favorite side dishes, and I would love to go out to enjoy the autumn leaves as it is.

The jubako is often used as a lunch box during the holiday season or for home parties these days, but its history is quite old, with references to "jubako" already found in Muromachi period documents. The official form of the jubako is "four-tierd," representing the four seasons, so it can be said that this craft reflects the climate of Japan, which has four distinct seasons.

It was during the Edo period (1603-1867) that jubako became popular among the general public. While there were, of course, luxurious lacquered and maki-e lacquered jubako made by feudal lords and samurai families, simple jubako specialized for carrying around were also made at that time. This Shirakinuri Lunch Box from Matsuya Shikkiten is painted to maximize the grain, giving it a texture similar to that of plain wood, and is characterized by its practicality and natural look that can hold oily food.

The name "jubako" is derived from the idea of "piling up good fortune," or the wish for happiness. Whenever I see or hear this, I feel as if I am touching the beautiful souls of our ancestors, who put their wishes for people's happiness into even a single utensil.


Matsuya Shikkiten's Shirakinuri Lunch Box (*Sales will end when stock runs out due to difficulties in obtaining raw materials.)
https://www.shokunin.com/en/matsuya/

Reference
https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E9%87%8D%E7%AE%B1