Usually I associate souvenirs with kitsch, plastic gifts made in China and faded postcards of doubtful beauty. Over those two years travelling I’ve rarely been tempted to enter a gift shop less even to buy a single thing. Japan has changed it all. The amount of effort and creativity put in so many little objects here makes them unique and really worth buying. Not to mention the tradition and the beauty that go with them. Below some of gifts that I couldn’t resist, even having in mind that I will have to carry them around. Others I will have to get next time.
Multi-functional piece of cloth- Futoshiki
So simple and traditional and yet so functional. The technique of folding a square cloth around anything has been around for centuries. Previously it was used to carry things and to wrap gifts. The patterns and colors were a way of expressing the purpose of the gift and feelings of the generous person. After World War II part of this beautiful art got pushed out by cheaper and more common plastic and paper. But it hasn’t died just yet. The material can be folded in a really nice bag, actually many different types of bags, only imagination is the limit. That variety of a humble piece of material and the idea of supporting something so fragile pushed me to buy some for myself.