51
4
16

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.

Candycrafts
あめ細工
Department store basement
デパ地下
Daruma
達磨
Wrapping
ラッピング
Paper fortune
おみくじ
Electrical goods store
家電量販店
Japanese hospitality
おもてなし
Soba (Japanese traditional noodles)
日本蕎麦
Architecture Street
建築ストリート
Tokyo Sky Tree
東京スカイツリー
Edo kiriko
江戸切子
Scramble crossing
スクランブル交差点
Lunch “A”
Aランチ
Shuri Castle
首里城
Umi-budoh
海ぶどう
Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
美ら海水族館
Japan
Fate/Zero , BLEACH
Malaysia
Final Fantasy VII Advent Children
Japan
Suite PreCure
Italy
One Piece
Introducing Japan’s latest arts to the world.
Harajuku girl leads next-generation kawaii.
“Twintail” — simple dream-come-true magic for change.
How global fans see Japan: kawaii heaven.
Unique use of Kyoto bathhouses
銭湯表現
Moon watching
観月の夕べ
Zazen
坐禅
Yokai Costume Parade
百鬼夜行
ANIME PILGRIMAGE
a quest to visit locations relating to stories and characters
FUJIKO F. FUJIO MUSEUM
manga master who “visualized” children’s dreams
AKIRA BIKE
enthusiasts create a dream machine from the world of Otomo’s AKIRA
3D LATTE ART
the ultimate shape of art to come — too cute to drink?
KAISEKI
懐石
SOBA
蕎麦
SUKIYAKI
すき焼き
RICE VINEGAR
お酢
HISASHI TENMYOUYA
TAKU OBATA
KOHEI NAWA
Nerhol
NEBUTA MATSURI
MENBURYU
AWA ODORI
NACHI-NO-OGI MATSURI
NIHONBUYO
日本舞踊
KARATEDO
空手
KYUDO
弓道
IAI
居合
SUMI-SHOKUNIN
墨職人
SENSHOKU-KA
染織家
KACCHU-SHI
甲冑師
SAMURAI AVATAR
侍アバター