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In the Showa period (1926-1989), it was commonplace in daily life to go to a Japanese tea store to buy tea. I recently heard that there was a custom called "kayoi-kan," in which tea was packed in a tea canister that one brought with one's own tea. It is true that it is a hassle to refill the tea canister with tea leaves from a bag, and sometimes we forget about the extra tea leaves and let them deteriorate before we know it. I was interested in the "buy only what you need" style.

So, I decided to make my debut as a "kayoi-kan" tea drinker, thinking that by avoiding disposable containers, I could contribute to the reduction of plastic packaging, and I would not have to worry about excess tea leaves. I visited Fukujuen, a long-established tea shop founded in 1790 and located in Porta's Kyokonomi on the basement floor of JR Kyoto Station, where you can buy tea leaves by measuring out the amount you need from a dispenser in the store. The tea leaves are made to order. The amount of sencha I had filled was about 120g, which was just right with the inner lid on.

Weigh-and-sell stores, where you can buy just what you want in just the amount you need, are not uncommon in environmentally advanced countries such as France, where a phased ban on plastic packaging is being implemented, Switzerland, and Germany, and are becoming more and more common in Japan, especially in urban areas. Of course, there are also stores selling plastic by weight scattered throughout various regions, and if you do your research, you may find one surprisingly close by. It may seem tedious at first to clean and dry the containers each time you use them, or bulky to bring with you, but isn't it a little exciting to be able to pack your favorite foods in your own easy-to-use containers or favorite containers?

Come to think of it, in the past, it was not uncommon for people to use containers for their personal items when shopping, such as taking a shopping basket to the local grocery store or fishmonger, or bringing a pot with a lid to the tofu shop to buy tofu, sometimes with the bean curd in it. Vegetables, fruits, and other small items were wrapped in newspaper, and meat bought at the butcher's was wrapped not in a plastic tray but in a kyogi made of thinly shaved wood. When such customs were commonplace, there was probably much less plastic packaging waste than there is today, which is also the subject of the marine plastic problem and global efforts to reduce or ban plastic packaging waste.

Try buying tea leaves or coffee beans in only the amount you need; SyuRo's Marukan is recommended for this style of shopping. The cans are carefully finished by craftsmen in downtown Tokyo who solder each piece by hand, and you can feel the craftsmanship that has been refined over the years. Round cans made of tinplate, brass, and copper, which can be used for a long time with attachment in daily life, are familiar objects that are not mass-produced, but are different from special handicrafts. Once filled with tea leaves or other items, they can be displayed on a shelf as they are, while enjoying the aging process that brings them closer to an antique-like appearance.

Today, you can take your favorite round can with you when you go out to buy tea. How about making it your partner for such a small pleasure?

SyuRo's Marukan S Brass