If you have a taste for the buckwheat noodle “soba” from Japan and you like it so much that you find dining on it at a restaurant occasionally does not satisfy you, then it could be time for you to start making your own soba at home. The alluring smell of freshly made soba, its texture and taste are true bliss and it can be experienced whenever you desire by making your own soba. Essential to the preparation of soba, you will need to use a professional broad knife especially made for cutting soba by a master craftsman. The soba knife with Kuroda-shiage (black finish) is made by sharpening only the blade leaving the upper part with its original black color. It uses Yasuki Hagane White Steel, premium silver high carbon steel, which is suitable for cutting noodles into thin slices. It weighs 650g so pressing down on the dough to cut it into noodles is easy. The price is not too high but they are professional quality. It is always a good item to have in your kitchen.
Takaoka lacquerware originated about four centuries ago in Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture. Takaoka lacquerware crystallises the wisdom and skills of this craft and is closely linked to the history of this area.
Takaoka lacquerware was first made in the early Edo period, when the head of the Kaga Domain, Maeda Toshinaga, built Takaoka Castle and needed the locals to lacquer weapons and daily commodities for him, such as drawers and trays with legs.
The local craft further developed when techniques for coloring lacquer, known as 'tsuishu' and 'tsuikoku', were imported from China. Other features of this craft are lacquering techniques that use ground powders ('sabi-e'), beautiful stones or iridescent shells to decorate surfaces with scenery, figures and patterns.
In the mid-Meiji period, another technique was established. Known as 'chokoku-nuri', it builds up various colored lacquers to give a three-dimensional sculptural effect that elegantly recalls the Kamakura period.
The mastery and skill of this craft were recognised in 1975, when Takaoka lacquerware was designated as a National Traditional Handicraft.
Kazuwa Ware is a representative porcelain of Kurayoshi, Tottori Prefecture, and is designated as the folk craftwork of the prefecture. It is said that Kazuwa Ware first began to be made around 1750 (Houreki era).
Kurayoshi clay is rich in iron, and turns black on firing. The typical glaze for Kazuwa Ware has a distinctive deep reddish color. Therefore, the base color of the pottery is black with a red overlay. Fired Kazuwa Ware takes on a dark red, and is used as dishes or vases: the delicate color exudes a warmth to its users.
Recently, vessels with new and fresh designs have begun to appear. One such color other than red is a cool breezy color that is used for dishes: it is a white-base with blue and green. Another color that is now available is a rich purple with original glaze colors over it.
Kazuwa Ware features a unique ceramic style: like a glass locking the sky and the earth inside it.
Urushi-ring is an acrylic based ring with a lacquered top created by Masako Ban, an internationally acclaimed accessory designer. Her innovative application of materials and appreciation for Japanese craft techniques has taken her design to a new frontier. The simply designed yet profoundly deep urushi-ring distills the essence of modernism in Japanese craft work today. Manufacture requires highly skilled techniques to lacquer on the small surface of the ring. and achieving the perfect color and texture takes considerable time. After much trial and error, using different craft artists, each expert in their own acrylic and lacquer techniques, and combining the sum of their skills, she perfected this unique piece in which two materials; acrylic and lacquer, delicately complement each other. This is a ring which over time as the piece ages, the gloss and colors change subtlety and the more you can appreciate its beauty.
In 2005, at a department-store event sponsored by Dunhill, an established English brand, urushi (Japanese lacquer) was adopted as the wall material.
Urushi lacquer gives a temporary space a very luxurious finish, but the Dunhill creative team wanted to create a mysterious space like a black hole; the smooth and elegant appearance, which only urushi can express, drew the attention of passers-by. This was the most important reason why they decided to use urushi.
The surface of the urushi wall is also decorated with lines of silver foil. The contrast between ebony and silver produces a modern touch.
Ubushima produced the urushi area of the event space. It took them about half a year considering the project from many angles, to inspect and solve the task of using urushi in a public space. This event makes us understand and learn about some of the special qualities of urushi and take new steps with the material.
■Dunhill event space
*acrylic black lacquer
*designed by Kenichi Otani
■produced by Ubushina, Yudai Tachikawa
Every surface of this side table is finished with tortoiseshell like carving, then covered in cloth, and finally coated with lacquer and polished. The hexagons that make up the surface of the table are carved to perfection and are aligned flawlessly. The texture and appearance of the table is abstract, yet eloquent. carving ＋ kikkou (tortoiseshell) design ＋ urushi (lacquer).Many different techniques and designs are used together to create something new and fresh in conventional times. The techniques and designs themselves aren’t modern or original. It is how the creator correlates these already existing techniques and designs in his or her unique way, to create something someone has never thought of before.
Side Table for Private Residence
Kikkou-bori (tortoiseshell carving) cloth covered and lacquered
Design: MLINARIC HENRY & ZERVUDACHI LTDl
Produced by: Ubushina,Yudai Tachikawa
This form of this table is known a sumitsubo, which is an essential tool for a carpenter. Just like nested boxes, this low table-desk can be paired with a chest or a box.
The table is ebonized with black sumi ink which has been fixed by a special technique that does not stain the person using the furniture.
In former times, carpenters drew a straight line on wood using a string blackened with sumi. The memory of sumi living in the wood is beautiful.
*solid Melapy wood with stained black finish
*low chest W950×D430×H305 (mm)
box W950×D405×H205 (mm)
desk W1200×D405×H380 (mm)
*designed by Makoto Koizumi
■produced by Ubushina, Yudai Tachikawa
Niu Kawakami Shrine Shimo-sha located in Shimoichi-cho, Yoshino-gun, Nara Pref. is one of the three Niu Kawakami shrines that have existed since the ancient times. The three shrines are respectively called Kami-sha (the top shrine), Naka-sha (the middle shrine) and Shimo-sha (the bottom shrine). The Shimo shrine enshrines Kura Okami no Kami (the god of water and rain). According to the shrine record, it was founded in 676, when the god said, “If you set up the holy pillars of my shrine in this deep mountain, I will bring the blessed rain instead of the damaging rain for the people of this country.” In Shoku-Nihongi (the chronicle written in the 8th C.), it is written that in 763, a black horse was specially dedicated together with Heihaku (strips of paper symbolizing offerings of clothing). From that time on, it became a custom to dedicate a black horse in offering a prayer for bringing rain and a white horse for bringing a good weather.
Through the precinct of Shimo shrine runs a clear stream. The village of Niu (literally meaning “cinnabar producing”) was the producing place of red stones, red soil and vermillion (mercury). It is said that the tribes that had the skills in mining and moved from place to place seeking for mineral resources gave the name to this place.
The present Shimo shrine is thought to have been the ancient Kami shrine.