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Let's Summer Cool Down with Matcha from Ippodo!

Matcha is a finely milled green tea powder made from specially cultivated green tea leaves grown in the shade and processed to remove the stems and veins.  Matcha does have caffeine, but it's also full of antioxidants and l-theanine, an amino acid that promotes relaxation.  The vibrant color and fresh, non-acidic taste of matcha combined with its calming properties make it a great alternative to coffee.

In summer, matcha can be enjoyed cold, and Japan's premier tea producers, Ippodo Tea from Kyoto, recommends 2 simple ways to prepare cold matcha:

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Obake - Our Friendly Neighborhood Ghosts, Monsters and Creatures of the Night

Obakes are a class of supernatural creatures often featured in Japanese folklore.  Originally taken from the word bakeru, which literally translates into 'thing that changes', they're often known as shapeshifters. 

Transformations, particularly those found in nature, are highly symbolic in Japanese culture, like a rainbow after rain or a metamorphosis of an insect.  Obakes are no different.  Summer is the season when spirits are transformed, when deceased relatives return to earth to stay amongst the living.  Families in Japan celebrate the return of their relatives for...


Kokeshi Craft - A Look into Japan's Expression of Girl Power


The earliest evidence of Kokeshi dolls dates back to 1804 - 1829, the height of Japan's Edo Period.  The craft first took root amongst rural farmers in Tohoku - the Northern region of Japan.  Snowbound, isolated farmers coping with long winter nights would carve Kokeshi from scraps of dogwood or maple to pass the time. 


Made as a type of talisman...


Let's Celebrate Dads all Month Long! Staff Picks for Father's Day Gifts

 

We're especially grateful for Dads this year.  During uncertain times, Dads have stepped up to support their families, taking on extra duties and wearing new hats.  We're here to celebrate these Super Dads and have compiled a list of gifts we thought they'd enjoy!

Camber Top Tool Box and Iron Bottle Opener:

These classic tool boxes come in 4 different colors (red, black, blue and color pictured): perfect organizer for tools, stationary items, and anything else a Dad might need to put away (game console...


Two New Styles of Hasami Porcelain Bowls Debuts Exclusively at Tortoise!

The satisfying texture, the surprisingly lightweight feeling, the varying shades of clay that sing when they're stacked: Hasami Porcelain is unmistakable.  Since its founding in 2010, we have carried the full line of Hasami Porcelain's modular ceramicware designed by Tortoise co-owner, Taku Shinomoto.  The concept of the line is simple, but its purpose can be applied and reapplied in new ways, which keeps Taku busy as he thoughtfully expands the collection.  Starting today, we're excited to announce Hasami Porcelain's debut of two