The furoshiki is a square piece of cloth traditionally used to wrap and carry merchandise and personal effects. Depending on how it is tied, it could form a sort of handbag, a bottle bag for wine and the like, or any number of bundles. Furoshiki come in an abundance of colours and patterns and are recommended in interior decorating—such as for use as a tablecloth or wall covering—as well as for carrying things. A variety of sizes are available, from those under 18 inches per side to those over 90 inches, so the customer can consider the most appropriate size for the purpose at hand.
Furoshiki (Wrapping Cloth)
Netsuke (Charm Cord)
This accessory has its origin in the days when the Japanese wore only kimono, which of course have no pockets. The netsuke was a piece of cord from which one’s wallet or money pouch could be attached to one’s obi, and to which charms could be attached. The cord was run through holes in the money pouch and the charm hooked onto the obi. The Japanese, who have always enjoyed minutely detailed ornaments and other objects of craftsmanship in miniature, made an art and a science of designing these charms. As netsukecharms came to be seen as crafts in their own right, the world outside Japan saw a proliferation of collectors of these little objects. Today, although the average Japanese wears Western clothing with plenty of pockets, netsuke charms are designed and sold to accessorize handbags and mobile telephones
Tenugui (Hand Towel)
The hand towel evolved as an accessory for mopping up perspiration in the humid Japanese summer. Tenugui are highly absorbent, dry quickly, and do not become bulky. Wiping one’s face with these provides a wonderfully refreshed feeling. Traditional Japanese hand towels can serve a variety of purposes, and are ubiquitous in all sorts of contexts. Made in a great number of patterns and designs, they are a popular accessory.
It is best to rinse your tenugui in cold water once before its first use.
To ensure the long life of this product, hand washing in cold water without the use of detergent is recommended. After washing, simply draw out the wrinkles and hang to dry in the shade. The fabric will soften after multiple washings. This is the best condition for use as a towel, as it will be most pleasant to use. The colour will also come to fade somewhat, which is actually improves the appearance.
Wiping hands and face: Most popular use. Dries quickly and feels great.
For wearing: Tie it around your neck in place of a scarf, or use as a bandana for a cool accent.
At home: Use to colour-coordinate your table or as a room decoration. Enjoy switching patterns according to the season.
For wrapping: Serves as an extra gift in addition to the one wrapped in it. Can also be wrapped around a drink bottle or tissue box as a cover.
As a gift: Tenugui come in all manner of styles cute, cool, and exquisite, making them a perfect gift.
A note about fraying at the edges: Tenugui are left unhemmed at both sides. The unsewn edges make them dry more quickly and less likely to retain sweat and dust and thus more hygienic. They were designed in response to Japan’s hot and humid climate. The rough edges also make it easier to tie and untie the towel as desired. Brand new tenugui will start to fray a bit, but fraying will subside after several washings and naturally peter out about a centimeter from the edge. If individual stray threads present a problem, simply clip them with scissors.
Sensu (Folding Fan)
The Japanese have carried sensu to fan themselves in the summer heat since days of old. The purpose of this type of fan, however, is not limited to helping one keep cool, but is also employed in a variety of traditional arts and rituals. Many types of sensu are available for specific purposes. A folding fan may also be essential accompaniment to kimono at formal functions. Just as with clothing, individual fans may be more appropriate for informal or for formal or ritual occasions.
A note on the construction of sensu: The spines which keep the fan stiff when in use are either of wood or bamboo, and there may be from several to several tens of spines on an individual fan. These are hinged together so that the fan can be easily folded and unfolded as necessary. The material affixed to the spines is usually of paper or cloth.
Uchiwa (Hand Fan)
Hand-held paper fans are used just as folding fans for cooling oneself on hot days. The difference is that these cannot be folded and are of a more simple construction and reasonable price. Their purpose is also limited to actually fanning oneself in the hottest time of year, unlike the folding fan which may be used in a variety of ceremonies irrespective of season. Uchiwa may be seen accessorizing festival wear during summer events and are a familiar reminder of the season. The handle of an uchiwa is made of light wood, which is attached to a bamboo frame on which a paper face is glued.