Tokyo >> Always in the fast lane? Here are some neat ideas for those who don’t like to fuss around.
Nendo lights up again
The ever prolific Nendo once again has fans of Japanese design excited, this time with its convenient roll-up LED Paper Torch — a collaboration with flexible-circuit manufacturer AgIC and paper makers Takeo.
Nendo is known to be particular about its materials, and having tried and tested various kinds of Takeo paper to use as the torch base, it opted for Yupo, a durable and water-resistant synthetic paper — the same textile used for ballot slips. Aside from the raised battery slot, the torch is completely flat when unrolled since all its circuitry is ink-jet-printed onto the surface as an attractive gray checked pattern. The beauty of the Paper Torch, however, is not just in the ingenious way it works — you roll it to complete the circuit and the light emits out of the tube — but in the way you can control the strength of the beam. The wider you roll the sheet, the more resistance is provided in the circuit, and the dimmer the light. Not only this, but if the sheet is rolled with the LEDs uncovered inside the tube, it will emit and white light. If, on the other hand, it’s rolled inside out, it will emit an orange glow.
Unfortunately, the Paper Torch has proved so popular, it’s already sold out, but here’s hoping something similar will be released soon.
Also from Nendo is an unusual container, designed specifically for the Kyoto restaurant Shimogamosaryo, which makes its own unique blend of powdered soy sauce. Using powdered soy sauce (kona shoyu) as a condiment is a relatively new concept that Shimogamosaryo enhanced in 2013 by adding yuzu citrus powder and pepper to the mix. Nendo’s bottle, which is based on the shape of a traditional Japanese water ladle, makes it easier for diners to measure and sprinkle out Shimogamosaryo’s product.
The bottom half of the container holds the powder, which is tipped into a wide ladle-like mouth that acts like a spoon for sprinkling. An hour-glass shape ensures not that too much is poured into the ladle and prevents any extra spillage when sprinkling. It’s also gently flattened on one side so it can be set down like a spoon for easy refilling. The Kona-shoyu Container is available in black or white for 1,620 Yen (about $14.50) and comes with three packs of Shimogamosaryo’s powdered soy sauce.
Let’s not get hung up on laundry
The clothes hanger has been redesigned many times, but H-Concept’s Hito for Kusu Kusu Works’ range of laundry goods is not only cute, it also adds more function to the frame. Made from light aluminum, Hito is bent to into the silhouette of a figure, with its short arms and loops in its feet acting as clothes pegs. This means you can hang a shirt on the conventional top part of the hanger, a skirt or pair of trousers from under the arms, and a sock from each foot. If you’re the fastidious type that likes to dry matching garments together, this is great, but it’s also good for preparing an ensemble for a special occasion or just making sure that kids know what they’re wearing for the day. No separate pegs are involved, so it keeps clothing flat, and the rectangle shape between the legs, as well as the tops of the arm and feet loops, can also be used as hooks for accessories.
Hito is priced at 2,910 yen (about $26) for three and available from the Belle Maison online store (Japan only). Also check out the Nami (three for 1,720 yen or about $15), which is a simpler hanger that has six loop clips on its base and is perfect for hanging socks and underwear out to dry.
Tea on the go
A lot of quality green tea in Japan only comes as loose leaf, which can be fiddly to prepare and definitely troublesome to clean up after. MacMa’s T-Go double-ended flask, however, makes all that easy.
To use, just open up the bottom, scoop tea leaves into the strainer inside, replace the lid and flip the whole thing back over. Then remove the lid at the other end and fill the flask with hot or cold water. Because the strainer is at the bottom, the leaves will get a thorough steeping, and to stop it over-brewing you just flip the whole flask over again. It’s leakproof and has a silicone hand grip, plus its smooth edges mean you drink from either end. To make it easy to hand wash, it’s a simple shape and made of separate parts, but it’s also completely machine washable.
The T-Go can hold up to 500 milliliters and will be available at Tokyu Hands and major department stores later this month, priced at 2,700 Yen or about $27.