The Japanese word wa can mean many things – beauty, harmony, and even Japan. This short word is also the main inspiration for the name of gift shop wabist, and it’s a place where you can find unique gifts for anyone, including yourself.
The shop first began selling elegant, functional products that epitomize Japanese craftmanship on its online platform. But in 2014, it opened its first brick-and-mortar location in Ebisu. Here are a few of the pieces that caught our eyes on a recent visit.
To understand this product’s name, you’ll need a quick language lesson: yuki daruma is Japanese for “snowman,” and shuki is Japanese for “drinking vessel.” Put them together, and you’ll also understand the idea behind the set. The snowman is made from two sake cups and a sake bottle, which you can warm up in hot water to make atsukan – hot sake. The two cups also work as a cap for the sake bottle so it heats up more quickly. In summer, when most snowmen would be melting, you can store the Shukidaruma in the refrigerator for cool sake. Comes in two varieties: the matte finish “Bisque” and “Glaze,” which has a glossy finish.
Bamboo Wine Vessels
These unique conversation pieces are made by a time-honored technique for processing natural bamboo. Crafted by highly skilled artisans, the wine glasses come in two colors: white, which is the original color of the bamboo, and the brown shade that results after the bamboo is smoked. If you’re worried about putting red wine in these natural containers, fear not: the vessels are made with a special coating that resists staining by dark-colored beverages, but still displays the organic grain of the wood. The rims of the vessels are thin, which allows the natural taste of the wine to come through.
Price: Set of two (one white, one brown), ¥7,776
Japanese people have always believed that gods existed in the natural elements around us—rivers, mountains, trees, and in each single stone. The art form known as bonkei, in which miniature landscapes are depicted with small plants and rocks, originated in ancient times as one way of expressing nature’s divine beauty. Framescape was specifically developed for creating and displaying these bonkei creations at home. Grow small plants in the included miniature clay pots and experiment with the modular design of the wooden frames, steel tray, and ceramic planters. A bit of Zen for your bookshelf or tabletop.
Price: ¥5,400 (two wooden frames, two planters, artificial soil, one steel tray)
Suzugami (its name means “tin paper” in English) is a flexible tin plate that you can fold and bend into a variety of shapes, and then flatten out again for easy storage. Tin is known to have an antibacterial effect, and Japanese people have been using vessels and dishes made from this metal for centuries. Suzugami is made by experienced craftsmen, who pound a sheet of 100% tin with hammers, adding decoration and strength to the metal plate. Use the plate as a decoration or to serve any number of dishes and flatten it out again with your hands or using the koro – a wooden roller that is sold separately.
Price: ¥2,700 (Small), ¥5,400 (Medium) ¥9,504 (Large)
funew is a piece of tableware made from recycled wine and champagne bottles. It can be used as a plate for hors d’oeuvres or cheese and serves as a fun decoration to home party tables. The entire process of making funew – from collecting empty bottles and creating the product to shipping it around the country – is eco friendly. The product can be made with half of the heat required for standard glass recycling, in the effort to reduce CO2, and prevent global warming. This piece is made through the cooperation of glass companies in Tokyo. funew comes in three different sizes, and is available in green and transparent glass.
Price: ¥2,700 (Small), ¥3,240 (Medium), ¥3,780 (Large)
Mickey Mouse Bathmat Light
Made from a special kind of rock, this 1-cm thick, 1.8-kg mat is light enough to be carried in one hand, but strong enough to support even the weight of a relatively heavy person. Some of the unique features of this rock, known as diatomaceous earth, is that it is highly absorbent, dries quickly, and has a natural deodorizing effect. There is no need to wash the bathmat: you simply let it dry in the shade once every few days during the summer and about once a week during winter. While the product is available in a variety of different designs, the Mickey Mouse Bathmat is a wabist original.