December 2021





Tinware was introduced to Japan about 1,300 years ago, and its production began in the Tanba region of Kyoto, where the first tin mines were opened in Japan. At that time, tin was as precious as gold and silver are today, so it was mainly used only by the privileged class for Shinto rituals and at court. Tinware such as jars and jugs are also stored in the Shosoin as treasures.

In the Edo period, tinware production shifted from Kyoto to Osaka, and by the middle of the Edo period, a number of tin shops began operating in Shinsaibashi, Tenjinbashi, and Tennoji, spreading among wealthy samurai and merchants. In the following years, many Osaka tinware manufacturers gathered and established themselves as specialty products. At its peak in the first half of the Showa period, more than 300 craftsmen were said to have competed with each other in Osaka.

Then World War II broke out, and Osaka's tinware manufacturing industry was devastated by a shortage of materials and a call for craftsmen. However, in order to rebuild after the war, artisans scattered throughout Osaka gathered together and successfully rebuilt the industry. As a result of the diligent efforts of the craftsmen, in 1983, "Osaka Naniwa Tinware" was designated as a traditional craft by the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry. Currently, it accounts for about 70% of the share of tinware in Japan.

The only manufacturer of Osaka Naniwa Tinware is Osaka Suzuki, which was founded in the Edo period. Each piece is made using the traditional technique of casting into a mold and grinding with a potter's wheel. The tin medicine jar, a tinware kept in Shosoin, is also made with a potter's wheel, suggesting that this technique has a very long history. Osaka Suzuki continues to manufacture products that fit the times by applying new innovations while following traditional techniques, based on the idea that "products should not be influenced by temporary trends, but should grow in value over time."

Osaka Suzuki




[Return of Spring]

The winter solstice this year was on December 22. The 24 solar terms is a calendar that divides the seasons of the year based on the operation of the sun, with night as yin and day as yang. The winter solstice, when the night is the longest in the year, is the ultimate point of Yin, and from this day on, the daytime when the sun is out becomes longer and more Yang. In ancient times, the day was celebrated as the "return of spring." It means that winter is over and spring is coming, that good fortune will open up after a series of bad things. Because it is the turning point of the seasons, there was a time in the Mesopotamian civilization and the ancient Chinese calendar when the winter solstice and around it was considered the beginning of the new year.

It is believed that luck rises after the winter solstice, so eating pumpkin to nourish the body and taking a yuzu bath to warm the body for good health is considered to be an ancient wisdom to survive the winter.

Although pumpkins are harvested in summer, it is thought that they were eaten during the winter solstice, when vegetables are scarce, because they were a vegetable that could be stored for a long time. There is also something called winter solstice porridge. It generally refers to azuki porridge eaten on the day of the winter solstice, and the red color of the azuki beans has been considered a lucky charm to ward off evil and bring luck.

A classic macrobiotic dish, azuki pumpkin, is a traditional food for medical treatment of kidney dysfunction, diabetes, and swelling. It is a simple dish in which azuki beans are boiled and cooked, then pumpkin is added and seasoned. The simple and delicious azuki pumpkin stew is cooked in Matsuyama Tokojo's Yukihira Pot. Why don't you try making them next winter solstice?

Matsuyama Tokojo's Yukihira Pot 
Seiryugama's Kobachi 





[Fluffy Dalgona Clouds]

Have you ever heard of "dalgona coffee?" It is a drink made in South Korea, consisting of milk with fluffy frothy coffee cream on top. It is called dalgona coffee because of its resemblance to dalgona, a Korean candy made of thinly baked sugar like caramel.

The catchphrase that it is made by whisking the mixture more than 400 times also boosted its popularity, and it became a popular way to pass the time when spending time at home in South Korea.

Whisking coffee creamer with Sori Yanagi's Whisk can be a good exercise in the comfort of your home. The fluffy finished dalgona cloud goes well with a beer glass.

30ml drip coffee
2 tbsp of sugar (20-25g)
Milk (soy milk, almond milk, or oats milk)
Hand mixer or whisk

Put the coffee and sugar in a bowl and whisk until the mixture becomes light brown and caramelized.
Pour the milk into a glass and slowly pour the whisked coffee cream on top.

Sori Yanagi's Stainless Steel Bowl 
Sori Yanagi's Whisk