29 Sep 2008

Asakusa in Tokyo

Konnichiwa from Petit Japon.

I just came back from Scotland last weekend due to finishing my business study there and will live in my home town of Niigata in Japan afterward.

By the way, as far as I remember, I have been to Asakusa in Tokyo once where one of the most famous tourist areas in Japan is.
After arriving in the Narita international airport late night, I stayed in Tokyo on that night then went to Asakusa for sightseeing as well as purchasing vintage kimonos at an antique market in the early morning.



I suppose, surprisingly most tourists from oversees were either Chinese or Taiwanese.
It seemed that they enjoyed walking the main street so-called “Nakamachi” in Asakusa and differences between Japanese and Chinese culture.


I went to an antique market next to Sensoji.
There were over 100 stalls selling antiques inside a building. Because of the early morning, still 10am, not many shoppers were looking for what they wanted or something unique.
There were about 10 stalls selling vintage kimonos and they hold quite good conditioned kimonos and fabrics.
In kimono industry, I am almost the youngest kimono buyers in this area. Therefore, They felt weird to me and a lot of ????? on heads. Why this young man here???
At one stall, I explained what I was doing with kimonos and negotiated with a stall owner in order to get a better deal in terms of kimono purchase.

Because of Japanese economy situation at the present, many shops looked struggling from selling luxury items to customers. And I was one of customers who did not have enough budgets to purchase kimonos. So the owner gave me a lot of discount on vintage kimonos purchase and taught me kimono history as well as characteristics of kimonos that I bought.
It was very nice meeting to many owners who dealt with kimono business, and learned a lot about kimonos.
It is always learning from someone and hopefully give it back to someone in the future.

17 May 2008

Edinburgh Charity Event : Experiencing Japan

Konnichi wa from Petit Japon.

Women's Federation For World Peace Scotland (FFWPU Scotland) has come up with a charity event together with Petit Japon at St.George's West Church in 14th June.

It is so-called "Experiencing Japan"

The aim is to raise fund by enjoying experiencing a variety of Japanese cultures.

Date:14th June (Saturday) 14:00 - 16:00

Venue: St.George's West Church at West End of Edinburgh


Admission: Free

We will offer Japanese cultural demonstrarions, Hand-on Experience and Japanese goods at the event.

  • Japanese cultural demonstration

Kimono dressing :

You have a chance to try on a kimono and take a photography of it.

Japanese tea ceremony :

You enjoy feeling the Japanese tea cult in which is the traditional Japanese way of drinking tea in accordance with set rules of etiquette.

Shamisen :

You enjoy listening to the Shamisen playing

  • Hand-on Experience

There is a variety of indoor activities such as Origami (Folding Japanese paper), Brush calligraphy and Colouring of Japanese themes for children.

  • Stalls

FFWPU Scotland produces various goods related to environmental-friendly, original and hand-made.

  • Lucky Dip

You may be able to have a great gift from the Lucky Dip. Attractive and valuable items will be available. Let's try your Luck!

We are looking forward to seeing you at the fun event!

5 May 2008

Thank you very much for visiting Japanorama

Konnichiwa (Hello in Japanese) from Petit Japon.

First of all, thank you very much for visiting Japanorama at Perth Museum and Art Gallery yesterday.We are glad that all of you enjoyed doing Japanese activities and got interested in some of Japanese cultures.

We would like to introduce our home town in Japan.It is so-called Tokamachi-city in Niigata Prefecture in Japan, located in the northern part of Japan, about 130 mile away from the centre of Tokyo.


We are famous for the best rice producing, nice ski resorts, the beautiful snow festival, cozy hot springs (Not with monkeys) and silk kimono design and manufacturing.The cherry blossom in our home town has just started as it happens in Edinburgh area and the rice-planting season has come in.

The rice we produce, so-called "Koshihikari" brand, the tastiest and one of the best rice for sushi in Japan. The reason why the rice we produce is so different from others is due to heavy snowfall during winter.When tons of clear snow melt on mountains in the early spring and the Japanese longest river, so called "Shinano river" takes its water from melting snow on the mountains,
flows through our home town to the Sea of Japan. Therefore, clear meltwater makes our rice special.Surprisingly, it was the heaviest snowfall we had had in 80 years in winter 2005, about 40 feet in total snowfall accumulation within the season.

It is unbelievable isn't it?

It is so-called "Golden week" in this week in Japan. People get a week off or more and they take travels and have a lot of fun during this period.However, this is the busiest period for most of rice farmers in our home town to plant rice and take care of it.

Refer to below address for more about our rice

We have been also famous for silk kimono producing since the mid of the Edo period (1750s). At that time, Japanese started enjoying their fashion by wearing colorful kimonos due to the stable economy and the peaceful period.So people in our home town learned kimono design and manufacturing techniques originally from Kyoto, in which is located in the western part of Japan, then they brought them back to Tokamachi. After that, started producing local silk kimonos with Kyoto accents. This is the origin of our silk kimono production today.Therefore, it is easier to find out a variety of antique and newly designed kimonos and silk materials in our home town.

Refer to below address for more about local Kimono

We will introduce more about Japanese culture in general and special occasions later on.

Have a nice weekend!!

17 Apr 2008


There will be a Japanese cultural event in Perth, Scotland on 3rd of May, coming in 2 weeks from now.
I am one of the main contributors to this event and will open a little Japanese goods shop, selling Japanese traditional toys, seals for face painting, and kimonos (Yukata, Haori) at reasonable price.
My purpose of contributing to this event is simple.
To make Scottish happy with Japanese culture and having fun on this day.
I will dress up with a kimono on this event and make an activity in which allows visitors try a kimono on, and take a photography of it.
See you soon!

4 Feb 2008

Japanese Folding Fan

Konbanwa !

It has been chilly in Edinburgh these days. My home twon in Niigata of Japan has got two metre snow!!

It is surprising isn’t it ?


I am writing about a Japanese folding fan today.
This is very common to take with you when you wear kimono.The folding fan (it is so called Sensu in Japanese) is Japanese invention.

Originally, it was functional especially for summer use, however, it later became significant in Japanese etiquette in Japanese tea ceremony and dancing in Nihon-Buyo.The first folding fans consisted of just sticks of Japanese cypress held together by ribbons.

It was only later the sticks were covered with paper.The cypress stick fans first appeared at the Imperial Court in the seventh century an by the eighth century, they had become an indispensable part of Court attire.The folding fans that first appeared in Europe during the middle of the seventeenth century were also derived from the Japanese fan.

Nowadays, the current Japanese folding fan is used mainly in dancing during Nihon-Buyo as mentioned earlier, in doing during Japanese tea ceremony and traditional occasions.

31 Jan 2008

Cranes in Japanese Culture


I have been a bit sick since last weekend so that I was not able to update my blog as often as before.
I am not a person who can not stick to anything for very long. (It is called as "Mikka-Bouzu")

Today, I am going to talk about cranes as you can see a beautiful cranes on a kimono above.
It is called "Tsuru" in Japanese.
The tsuru has been long regarded as auspicious Japanese birds and a popular symbol of longevity, as attested by saying "The tsuru can live for a thousand years and the kame (tortoise) for ten thousands".So we use the symbol of the tsuru for anything in which is occasional and cultural such as family crest, confections, trademarks and particularly a motif of kimono.

Moreover, there is a body of "crane wife" legends, more less a fairytale, that a captive crane, in return for being freed by a youth, turns into a maiden and marries him.
To marry her, there was a strong promise that he would never see what she was doing in her room at any night. it was the only promise.
Then He promised it with her.One day, the husband wondered how she could make such a beautiful kimono with a weaver at night.Because, her kimonos were absolutely beautiful and many people wanted it.

Another day, he was just trying to glance at how she made it even though it was prohibited.

Surprisingly, what he saw was that "she is a crane and using her own feathers in order to weave those beautiful kimonos."

26 Jan 2008

Ceramic Ware


Today, I am going to talk about "Japanese ceramic".This is the fact that Japans prehistoric periods such as the Jomon or Yayoi period, are referred to by the name of the earthenware of the time as it can be seen that Japan has such a tradition of making ceramics.
In the fifth and sixth centuries, Japanese artistic ceramics ware was hugely influenced by the introduction of techniques from China and Korea and by visits of skilled craftsmen from those countries. After this period of foreign influence had ended up, the art began to follow its own unique path of development and popularization.

While ceramic ware is referred to as "china" in English, it is referred to as setomono in Japan. This is because the area around Seto city in Aichi prefecture is famous for this ceramic ware. This region has been making fine ceramic ware since the thirteenth century at the Kamakura era.Then, it came to the Muromachi era, dishes, basins and bowls had become popular products its Northern area, Mino city.Other representative artistic pottery of the present day is shown such as Kyoyaki, Rakuyaki, Shinoyaki, Satsumayaki and Oribeyaki. Actually, my hometown "Tokamachi" is a place where one of the oldest earthenware has recently been found.

Typical porcelain include Aritayaki, Kiyomizuyaki and Kutaniyaki.There is plentiful supply of the right materials, and highly skilled ceramists at the traditional kilns in each district create countless beautiful pieces.The photo above shows that one of our local ceramists "Setsuzan Hosaka" made.It is an excellent and beautiful work.


  • Japanese pottery and porcelain