March 2022




Do you have a mortar?

In Japan, a mortar is a cooking tool that originally developed from a mill in the Taisho era. Throughout human history there has been the use of fire, tools, and language. The use of stone mill enabled people to eat nuts and grains, and cooking methods became more diverse. In Japan, stone mills called "ishizara," which look like inkstones, have been excavated from Jomon-era sites.

There are two types of mills: a "burstone mill" for smashing and a "stamp mill" for grinding. Wooden mills and pestles were common in every household, used to polish rice, make rice cakes, and produce udon, soba, and kinako with a stone mill. While the mill was gradually changing to milling machine from the end of the Taisho era to the beginning of the Showa era, mill was revived around 1945 due to food shortages caused by the war. At that time, in urban areas, they used a single bottle and even refined it. In the era of rapid economic growth, flour milling was mechanized, and today it is still used to make rice cakes for New Year's celebrations. Manual mills are not lost, with stone plates used in India for grinding spices and other ingredients, stone mortars in Thailand, and small ceramic mills, such as the spice mill at Ichiyougama.

And as companions to the mortar, there is the mortar and grater. The prototype of the mortar is said to have been found in China during the Song dynasty, but in the Kamakura period, a mortar with a groove engraved with a comb-like pattern of Bizen ware was found. Miso was made by mashing soybeans with a mortar and pestle, and miso soup was made by grinding miso in a mortar and grinding and straining it. Today, miso is generally made by straining miso, and the process of grinding miso in a mortar and pestle at home has been eliminated.

The Ichiyougama mortar is a Bizen ware, which is the beginning of the combed mortar. Known as "a mortar that does not crack even if thrown," Bizen ware mortar is baked at a high temperature of over 1200 degrees Celsius for about two weeks without glaze, which makes it very strong.

Spring is gradually coming. A recommended mortar dish to enjoy the season is "Bamboo Shoots with Leaf Bud." Grated sansho shoots are mixed with white miso paste and soup stock, and boiled bamboo shoots are dressed with the mixture. If you see bamboo shoots as slow food in the daily cooking tools of common people for centuries, please enjoy the taste of spring.

Ichiyougama's Spice Mill 
Ichiyougama's Mortar 
Oya Seisakusho's Copper Grater 

"Mono to ningen no bunka shi 25 Usu" by Miwa Shigeoすり鉢グルメ/36909-和洋中を楽しめる%E3%80%82すりごまだけじゃない!「すり鉢」で自家製ダレ・ソース作り





[Lipped Bowl as Flexible as a Crane]

Gato Mikio Shoten's Katakuchi Kakusen has been added.

Gato Mikio Shoten was established in 1908 as Gato Mokkosho. Inheriting the policy of the "kijiya" (Japanese woodworkers), Gato Mikio Shoten's craftsmanship is particular about the perfection of wood grain, which is the basis of lacquerware.

The supple silhouette of the crane, a symbol of good fortune and longevity, and the stream of Kakusenkei, a scenic spot in Yamanaka Onsen, Kaga City, Ishikawa Prefecture, are the inspiration for the Katakuchi Kakusen. Its beautiful and graceful shape and thinly finished spout show the outstanding skill of the woodworking process.

The design boldly shows the grain of the wood without hiding it, emphasizing the beautiful grain created by the natural materials and the perfection of the woodwork, which is carefully finished by the woodworkers. This gem is only possible when all of the carefully selected materials, the woodworker's grind, and the transparent finish are perfect.

Gato Mikio Shoten's Katakuchi Kakusen


151118 4526



[Flowers and Vases]

In Japan, March is a time when flowers are given and received to celebrate graduations, transfers, retirements, and other occasions. Many people may experience a sense of happiness and a brightened mood when looking at flowers.

In 2011, a study conducted by Chiba University's Field Science Center for Environmental Health (Nature Therapy Project) showed that when rooms without flowers were compared to rooms with flowers, the psychological state of "liveliness" increased significantly in rooms with flowers, while negative moods such as "confusion," "fatigue," and "tension/anxiety" decreased. In addition, with the recent increase in remote work, decorating rooms and desks with flowers is expected to increase productivity and stimulate creativity.

When you receive a bouquet of flowers, the first step is to unwrap them, remove the plastic and paper, and cut the stems back leaving the stems of the flowers in the water so that the flowers can soak up the water. Cutting in water creates water pressure that helps the flower absorb water. When you are done cutting, arrange them in your favorite vase. It is recommended to choose a size with some leeway so as not to damage the flowers.

The New Crinkle Super Bag is an iconic product of Ceramic Japan, established in 1973 in Seto City, Aichi Prefecture. Launched in 1975, two years after its establishment, it was selected for inclusion in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York in 1982. By not using glaze on the surface, the three-dimensionality, lightness, and shading of wrinkles are emphasized, expressing a texture similar to that of a real paper bag.

Even when not decorated with flowers, the New Crinkle Super Bag creates a sculpture-like presence. This vase is worthy of representing Japan, selected according to world standards. Please consider this for the bouquets you receive, for seasonal flowers to decorate your room, or as a gift for your loved ones.

Ceramic Japan's New Crinkle Super Bag