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News

Check-In with Leonard Koren: Aesthetics Expert & Wabi-Sabi Author

For many years, we've had Leonard Koren's book, Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers, at the corner of our front counter, greeting customers as they walk in. This concise yet rich book explores the most ephemeral of Japanese aesthetics - wabi-sabi. We wanted to connect with Koren - a long time artist, aesthetics expert, and the author of several books - to dive deeper into his understanding of wabi-sabi and its relevance to this current moment. 

Ruby Zuckerman: For many of us, Covid-19 has been one of the most disruptive changes to daily life that...


Time With Ourselves - Lessons on Loneliness From Japanese Literature

Yet again, here we are, thinking about how to cope with the continued isolation so many of us have been suffering from this past year. Here at Tortoise, we are hoping that this winter is the final push - and thought we would spend some time focussing on the beauty and joy in spending time alone with yourself, free from the distractions of a busy social life. 

There are lots of lessons to be learned about this lonesome beauty from Japanese literature - which has been concerned with themes of isolation and solitude for over a thousand years. Keep reading for some wise writerly words, paired with our favorite cozy, thought-provoking items for making the most of this strange winter. 


Appreciating Our Loved Ones - Valentine's Day Staff Picks

Traditional Valentine's Day might look like hearts, flowers, chocolates - with an emphasis on a man showering his girlfriend with lots of gifts. Did you know that in Japan, Valentine's Day looks a little different? Overseas, it's traditionally the girlfriend who is responsible for Valentine's day gifts!

Of course, today, in both Japan and the United States, Valentine's Day has evolved a lot further than these very limited roles. We hope Valentine's Day can be an opportunity for you to show some love and appreciation for everyone in your life -  whether it's the friend who has dropped off groceries for you, the family member who you haven't been able to visit this year, or, of course, your special loved one. We asked our staff to round up some of their favorite affectionate gift ideas. Here are five ways to express gratitude for the love in your life this Valentine's Day:


TGS Classic #1: Masahiro Mori, Combining Art & Design

If you wandered over to the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo in 2002, you might make a few assumptions about what would be on display. Perhaps you would expect a main exhibition of paintings, sculptures, or installations. Monumental art pieces, made by famous artists, priced at hundreds of thousands of dollars. Instead, the central exhibition featured a soy sauce pot. A soy sauce pot you could buy at the museum gift shop, or a Japanese kitchenware store down the street, for just a few thousand yen. 


 

Elevating homeware ceramics to the level of high art is the greatest legacy of Masahiro Mori. Keep reading to explore the philosophy behind his most iconic designs as the first installment of our #TortoiseClassic series. 


A New Year Welcomes a Fresh Start: Setting our Best 7 Intentions for 2021!

Resolutions can be difficult to keep.  The focus is often on the goal and not the journey.  Intentions on the other hand are a great way to assess our greatest hopes for the new year, to set us on the right trajectory for better appreciation of ourselves and our daily life!  Here are 7 thoughtful intentions we thought could help us have a better 2021 - check it out below!

#1: I intend to cook more in 2021!


Hakui Aprons and