Feeling the Balance of Nature: Staff Picks from the Great Forests of Japan! - tortoise general store

Feeling the Balance of Nature: Staff Picks from the Great Forests of Japan!

Posted by Emma Tsuchida on

For many who grow up in Japan, the sounds, scents and even the sensations of nature are thought to be divine and sacred.  Which is why, even the Japanese language has words specifically for the experience of being inside a forest. The word komorebi describes how light dapples through tree leaves, while shinrinyoku expresses the restorative benefits of taking a walk in the forest. In the hopes of sharing the restorative benefits of the Japanese forest with everyone this holiday season, we asked our Tortoise members about their favorite wooden items, so we can help you put some forest under your tree this year!

Rock shaped wooden building blocks in walnut and ash

1. Tumi-Ishi Stacking Rocks
"I love the contrast between the geometric shape of these blocks and their natural wood grains. They're meditative and whimsical, but also a perfect gift my daughter who's just learning how to stack and build.  Even when they tumble down and scatter, it looks like a work of art."
"These elegant plate-like bowls elevate every meal I serve because of their simplicity. This winter I enjoy putting my Satsumai oranges on them, and use the smallest size as a dessert plate for a really good holiday cookie or a slice of sponge cake with my cup of tea. Whenever I hold them in my hands, I feel the warmth of the trees."

3. Bunaco Coiled Beechwood Bowls and Plates
"These beechwood bowls are really special and get used for lots of different things.  The largest bowl is used for big salads or as as a centerpiece for fruit, but the smaller bowls are great for dry or wet foods, both hot and cold.  They're lightweight and simple, and when I think about how they're coiled together from strips of wood - it's kind of magical. "

"The cedar wood brings a whole different note to the taste of your sake, and knowing the company's been making them for over a hundred years adds to the experience too.  The wood keeps hot things hot, and cold things cool - it's a pretty unique experience to drink a frothy cold beer out of a bent wood cup."

"Seeing my 'paper wood' paper weight on my desk always cheers me up. I love their graphic colors combined with the organic shape, and when I hold one in my hand, it gives me a calming feeling."

6. Kosuga Bamboo Charcoal Incense
"This is the incense our entire team at Tortoise waited 6 months to receive.  Even for folks who don't like incense, I feel like they get converted when they burn a scent from this line.  It's light, not overbearing, gentle.  I like to light a pine incense when I get home from work. It's a great way to unwind and feel a little transported."

"These trivets are woven from the bark of shina trees, a rare craft in modern Japan. They're really useful around the kitchen, and just so beautiful as it ages.  It feels special to support a historic craft that's making a come back through such modern design."

8. Shina Flower Basket by F/Style
"Even when I don't have a flower hanging inside this basket, I love the way it looks on the wall.   But it does encourage me to collect and dry my own flowers.  It's sculptural and simple - you could even put a small glass tube inside to hold a plant with water. "

"These tea canisters are each made from a single piece of Japanese Cherry Birch, so each one feels like a piece of art. It's lacquered, but you can see the luster of the wood underneath.  I've been drinking a lot of tea lately, so this canister makes that daily ritual a little more meaningful."

"The cherry bark for this tea container is harvested between August and September in the mountains of Northern Japan.  The craftspeople peel away the bark from trunks (see below) and dry those strips for 2 years before it's even used.  The bark on the tree grows back, so the whole process is sustainable.  You can't help but think of the process and large amount of work that goes into every single piece when you see this canister.  It's such a wonder."

Our last day for online orders for Christmas is December 10th, so please shop early and continue to stay safe! 
🌱 We greatly appreciate our Tortoise community this holiday season.  

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