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楊枝

Picks

Nihonbashi Saruya is the only specialty store in Japan for yoji (Japanese picks). Established about 300 years ago, it has continuously supplied picks to Japanese people since the Edo era.

In Japan, mass-produced picks made of Japanese white birch are the most popular. However, long ago, picks were made from many different types of trees, including willow, white willow, and deutzia. Saruya picks are made from kuromoji tree wood, which is prized for its flexibility and aromatic scent. Even now, craftsmen hand-carve these picks, one by one.

The store master, Ryota Yamamoto, explains, “Many fans just refer to these picks as kuromoji rather than kuromoji yoji. There’s an attractive quality about kuromoji that can’t be found in any other kind of yoji.

“Let me tell you this,” he continues. “Here’s why we pay so much attention to a small detail like a pick. We believe it shows the spirit of iki.”

Iki is an aesthetic ideal of Japanese commoners regarding what’s chic, cool, and sophisticated in fashion and attitude. While inexpensive, convenient mass-produced yoji may be “good enough” for use, people continue to value cool details. Saruya picks play a role in passing on the iki legacy of style.

However, Nihonbashi Saruya doesn’t just stick to traditional values. This store develops new products while paying scrupulous attention to packaging. Kuromoji picks are used by premier restaurants and are also popular gifts. For example, Samurai Yoji picks may intrigue international visitors. The wrappers display short Edo era samurai expressions in Japanese like Matarei (“Please wait!”) and Korenite gomen (“Goodbye now!”) with English translations. These picks are inexpensive, and they make ideal gifts.

Nihonbashi Saruya
http://www.nihonbashi-saruya.co.jp/

Packaging for picks. From left, Sanbaso (offers congratulations for a good grain harvest), Ooiri (celebrates success in drawing many visitors), Kumadori (a type of kabuki makeup), and Kin-senryo (means both “million dollars” or “big success”). All of these good wishes represent traditional Japanese culture (noh, kabuki, and their performers).

Samurai yoji (picks). 950 yen for 40 kuromoji picks (excluding tax).

Yoji in decorative Japanese wrappers attract attention.

Nishikigoi
錦鯉
Tenugui (Japanese towels)
手拭
Nambu ironware
南部鉄器
SIRI SIRI
SIRISIRI
Ramen (Japanese soup noodles)
ラーメン
Sumo wrestler
大相撲力士
Idol
アイドル
Manga cafe
マンガ喫茶
Ramen Museum
ラーメン博物館
Scramble crossing
スクランブル交差点
Edo kiriko
江戸切子
Tokyo Station
東京駅
Awamori
泡盛
Shuri Castle
首里城
Mangroves
マングローブ
Public market
公設市場
Japan
Kinnikuman
United Kingdom
Eternal Sonata
Russia
Magic Knight Rayearth
Japan
(Original)
“Twintail” — simple dream-come-true magic for change.
I want to create awesome kawaii nail art.
Toybox kawaii shop shows people power.
The color wizard behind 80s kawaii revival.
Machiya bars
京町家の夜
Kyoto Streetcar
嵐電
Cool terrace in Kyoto summer
納涼床
Kyoto confectionary
京菓子
BRAIN WAVE CAT EARS
cutting-edge tech joins Japan’s “fetish” (moe) culture
KOBE TETSUJIN 28-GO
mega-size robot who saves the peace in Kobe city
OSAMU TEZUKA
creator of Japan’s manga and anime cultures
ANIME PILGRIMAGE
a quest to visit locations relating to stories and characters
WHISKY
ウイスキー
KAISEKI
懐石
RAMEN
ラーメン
SUSHI
寿司
Nerhol
YAYOI KUSAMA
MANABU IKEDA
KOHEI NAWA
SANJA MATSURI
MENBURYU
NEBUTA MATSURI
NACHI-NO-OGI MATSURI
SADO
茶道
KENDO
剣道
JUDO
柔道
KYUDO
弓道
KACCHU-SHI
甲冑師
EDOKIRIKO
江戸切子職人
FOOD MODEL CRAFTSMAN
食品サンプル職人
SUKIYA-DAIKU
数寄屋大工