30 October 2023

Green Giving: Top Gifts for the Eco-Conscious


Many Japanese tableware is crafted from natural materials like clay and wood, and among these, we have curated items that are particularly environmentally friendly and created by eco-conscious manufacturers.

In recent years, the pursuit of sustainable goals, as advocated by the SDGs, has highlighted the significant challenge of reducing plastic usage. In Japan, daily necessities made of wood and lacquer were prevalent before the rise of plastic products. I noticed during a visit to the Japan Folk Crafts Museum that items which are now typically made of plastic were once crafted from natural materials. This includes not only tableware but also stationery such as rulers, everyday items like combs and mirrors, as well as shopping bags.

The items offered by Musubi Kiln are all made using traditional Japanese materials and techniques. Consider these eco-conscious items as thoughtful gifts for your environmentally aware friends and family.

List of Gift Items

  • Yatsuyanagi Checked Pattern Akita Cherry Bark Work Round Coaster
  • Wipe-lacquer Yamanaka Lacquerware Oryoki Bowl Set
  • Suruga Bamboo Basketry Footed Long Tray
  • Pink Circle Organic Cotton Furoshiki Wrapping Cloth 39in
  • Issou Winter Sakura Nishijin Ori Brocade Chopsticks Case

Yatsuyanagi Checked Pattern Akita Cherry Bark Work Round Coaster

Cherry bark crafts are created from the bark of the mountain cherry tree, which is a sustainable material that regenerates even after the bark is harvested. Yatsuyanagi, a renowned bark craftsmanship manufacturer, has been operating in the nature-rich Akita Prefecture since its establishment in 1876. They have cherished the gift of cherry tree bark from the surrounding natural environment, using it efficiently in their craft. 

Their philosophy centers around the idea that "harvesting cherry tree bark must not harm the trees." With this ethos, they strive to protect sustainable nature and promote the coexistence of nature and traditional craftsmanship. Yatsuyanagi actively participates in tree planting activities using mountain cherry trees in fallow lands and other suitable locations.

While preserving traditional techniques and craftsmanship passed down through generations, Yatsuyanagi also adapts their products to suit modern lifestyles. This coaster, for instance, embodies the essence of their philosophy and the unique charm of beautiful materials and traditional craftsmanship. Whether enjoyed during a tranquil tea break or a relaxing evening of drinks, these coasters enhance the aesthetics of your teacups or sake cups, enriching your overall experience.

Consider gifting these exquisite coasters, imbued with the philosophy of a remarkable manufacturer, to your loved ones. They not only serve as a practical accessory but also carry the values of sustainability and tradition, making them a thoughtful and meaningful present.

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Wipe-lacquer Yamanaka Lacquerware Oryoki Bowl Set

In recent years, there has been a rising trend among minimalist enthusiasts for a particular type of tableware known as oryoki. Originally used by Zen monks during their meals, these utensils feature a nested design that allows for compact storage, making them highly appealing to those who value simplicity in their lives.

In the realm of Zen philosophy, everyday actions performed with utmost mindfulness are believed to help individuals discover their true selves and align their lives accordingly. This is especially true for meals, known as shoku "food"-Zen, where one's attitude towards ingredients, kitchen cleanliness, and the act of eating itself become vital aspects of a transformative practice.

The oryoki utensils, shaped by the simplicity of Zen monk's daily lives, are an ideal choice for individuals who aspire to streamline their lifestyles.

Crafted from zelkova wood and meticulously coated with Yamanaka lacquerware craftsmanship, these oryoki pieces showcase the beauty of wipe-lacquer—a technique that preserves the natural woodgrain appearance.

Whether you are embarking on a new chapter in your life, have limited storage space, or simply appreciate the elegance of minimalist interiors like Japandi, these oryoki utensils make for a thoughtful and practical gift recommendation.

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Suruga Bamboo Basketry Footed Long Tray

Bamboo, a material gaining increasing attention for its eco-friendliness, has rapidly found its way into various aspects of daily life and home environments over the past five years. Its versatility and emergence as a resource alternative to plastics have contributed to its growing popularity.

In contrast to the 10-20 years it takes for regular trees to mature, bamboo can be harvested in just three years. It thrives without the need for pesticides or herbicides and requires minimal water for growth, making it incredibly low-maintenance. What's more, bamboo is known to generate more oxygen and absorb more carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases than other trees.

But it's not just its environmental benefits that make bamboo appealing. Its distinctive, cool, and refined appearance has garnered widespread admiration. The tray we have here showcases the diverse beauty of bamboo by incorporating its unique nodes into the design. The weaving patterns, the use of slender bamboo strips known as take higo, all come together to create an item that fully celebrates the inherent qualities of the material.

Why not consider gifting this exquisite blend of bamboo, a sustainable material, and the traditional craftsmanship of Suruga bamboo ware, to those who appreciate both eco-consciousness and high sophistication?

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Pink Circle Organic Cotton Furoshiki Wrapping Cloth 39in

Introducing a furoshiki wrapping cloth made from 100% organic cotton - a versatile and vibrant addition to your daily life. Its generous size allows you to wrap and carry bulky items effortlessly. Moreover, you can transform it into a stylish bag by changing the way you tie it.

For detailed instructions on how to use this furoshiki, please refer to our blog: Turn Your Furoshiki Wrapping Cloth into a Handy Bag!

This furoshiki is created by Yamada Sen-i, a manufacturer committed to proactive participation in the SDGs. They engage in various initiatives, such as recycling offcuts and scraps, and using 100% recycled paper for their packaging.

Furoshiki has a rich history intertwined with the daily lives of the Japanese people. While the era of rapid economic growth brought about a "consumer society" that favored items like paper bags over traditional furoshiki, the environmental concerns and the rise of eco-conscious choices have put furoshiki back into the spotlight, particularly in the mid-2000s.

Yamada Sen-i not only produces furoshiki but also conducts workshops in stores, corporations, and educational institutions, where they share the history and utility of furoshiki. Through the culture of furoshiki, they aim to propose a more eco-friendly lifestyle for both the planet and its inhabitants. 

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Issou Winter Sakura Nishijin Ori Brocade Chopsticks Case

Elevate your dining experience with this exquisite chopstick case made from the renowned Nishijin Ori Brocade of Kyoto. 

Equipped with a cap for the chopstick tips, this case ensures ease of cleaning and maintains impeccable hygiene standards. The minimalist cherry blossom pattern strikes a perfect balance between chic aesthetics and refined elegance, making it a design that resonates with individuals of all age groups.

What sets this item apart is its fabric construction, eliminating the need for a bulky plastic or wooden case that takes up unnecessary space in your bag. Its compact design allows for effortless storage, and its adaptable nature accommodates chopsticks of various lengths, from children's chopsticks to those slightly larger, extending up to 24cm (9.4 inches).

While many restaurants provide disposable chopsticks, there has been a growing trend of individuals choosing to carry their own, eco-friendly chopsticks. This not only contributes to a more environmentally conscious lifestyle but also enhances the dining experience. By selecting eco-friendly bamboo or lacquered chopsticks, as shown in the photo, and pairing them with a stylish case, you can elevate your dining rituals. This thoughtful choice also makes for an ideal gift for your loved ones, turning each meal into a memorable and enjoyable experience.

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What we've introduced here is just a glimpse of what we have to offer. At Musubi Kiln, we are committed to showcasing products that prioritize our planet and the environment. We have a strong desire to support artisans who share our goals and passion for sustainable production.

Please consider these items as potential choices for gift-givers and recipients alike, as they are sure to bring happiness to both parties.

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