2015.10.4
Ehime

Visit Ehime, Meet Craftspeople & Discover a Different Lifestyle!

The concept of “living one day at a time” is gaining attention as way of enriching the lives of busy people.

 

Though Japanese handmade products created with care, and additive-free foodstuffs good for the body, among other merchandises, can be ordered online, how about taking a relaxed tour to get to know the thinking behind such products?

 

This time we’re going to introduce Ehime prefecture, an area filled with traditional handicrafts… as well as mandarins!

 

1. Yugeshima, the Island of Fresh Greens

Floating near Shimanami Kaido, Yugeshima is one of Ehime prefecture's outlying islands.

 

On the island, the weeds that grow in the gardens, as well as the small flowers that grow by the roadside are important ingredients!

 

Are they having trouble finding food? No, no, that's not the reason. 

Actually, these wild plants are being used to revitalize the island.

 

 

These are called tsumina cookies (tsumina refers to the fresh green pinched out of plants), which are baked and topped with these simple yet adorable wild flowers and plants.

 

 

Ms. Murakami was originally a town hall staff member. Apparently, after she met someone at a lecture who was doing research on tsumina cooking, she started activities for vitalizing the island using tsumina. The beginning was tough, but she worked hard and before long a new island specialty was born! Hidden within Yugeshima Island's cute tsumina cookies lies not the "spirit of unneeded weeds", but the "spirit of tsumina".

Source: setouchifinder.com

With a population of 2000, Yugeshima is part of Kamijima, Ochi district, Ehime prefecture. Although an outlying island, it's easily accessed via a 10-minute trip from Innoshima Island.

The tsumina cookies are cute, aren't they? I wonder if I should start gardening once I get home. That's the kind of feeling you get…

 

Full article: https://setouchifinder.com/en/detail/650

 

 
2. Imabari's Slow Manufacturing with 100+ Year-old Machines

Known for producing quality towels, Onibara in the town area of Tamagawa is located among the mountains of Imabari city.

 

With a plentiful supply of underground water, the source of Soja River has affected the development of Imabari textile production. In the area there is a small workshop…

Created on the looms of workshop ‘Oriza’ are not just towels, but also cotton scarves, shawls and caps.

 

Amazingly, the machines used here are old-style looms from 100 years ago!

 

 

Mr. Takeda, the workshop’s representative, worked as a manager at a local Imabari towel maker, and is a craftsman at heart.

The old-type shuttle looms that disappeared during the age of mass production grabbed his attention, and he searched all over Japan to find old looms that were considered junk. He then restored, improved and remodeled them with his own hands again and again before finally creating the one-of-a-kind "Kijaku inline machine". It was from that point that he began manufacturing.

 
 

Not only does using these old machines bring charm to the products, but by concentrating on what using these machines represents, you can also think about the ways these ideas can be used in our everyday lives.

There are times when a certain roughness brings out a better texture… just like when you cook rice in an earthen pot, and get slightly scorched, crispy rice… The precision of items created using the latest hi-tech products may be a little too much….  

Full article: https://setouchifinder.com/en/detail/529

 

3. Omori Japanese Candle Shop: Ehime’s Last Candle Specialist!

 
Light is an indispensable part of our lives…

In the days before electricity, candles brought light into everyday life.

There is a place that continues to make Japanese candles with the methods it perfected in the Edo period (1603~1867), and that place is Candle shop Omori, which is located in the town of Uchiko, Ehime prefecture.

 

 

Although we're just talking about candles, did you know that Western candles and Japanese candles are made from different materials?

While most Western candles are made from petroleum, their Japanese counterparts are created from ingredients collected from wax tree fruit.

 

 

I'm sure there are plenty of people who are healed by candlelight after a busy day.

The western style aroma candles with nice fragrances are lovely, but I think that people using Japanese style candles are quite rare.

The 'tremor' and large flames of Japanese candles can only be created by hand. And their greatest charm is all that all the ingredients come from nature.

 

Full article: https://setouchifinder.com/en/detail/533

 

 

4. Experience the Wonders of Traditional Japanese Lacquer Ware @ Iyo Sakurai Shikki Kaikan (Sakurai Lacquer Ware Hall)

Imabari city, Ehime prefecture, is home to some of Japan's top lacquer ware.

Sakurai Shikki's ('Sakurai Lacquer Ware') unique approach lays is its blend of techniques of craftsmen summoned from Wajima, Yamanaka, Echizen and Kainan.

 

 

"As times have changed and certain things have become easier, traditional handicrafts have begun to disappear," says Mr. Okada, the youngest of the craftsman here.

As he carefully carries out each stage of his work and shows them to me one by one, I understand well what makes lacquer ware so great. It is a tradition that I for one would like to see continue.

 

 

Though many Japanese use lacquer ware daily when they live at home, once they move out, few buy it for themselves, which may be because people have the false impression that it’s hard to maintain. Actually it's surprisingly easy. Granted it can’t be put it in the dishwasher/ dryer, but a simple wipe with ordinary washing up liquid and a soft sponge is enough.

 

Full article:  http://eng.mg/661b4

 

5. Handmade Washi Paper : A Traditional Craft with 250 Years of History!

Blessed with the abundant waters of Mt. Ishizuchi, the Saijo region of Ehime prefecture has long prospered as a production area for traditional Shusou Washi, a kind of handmade Japanese paper.

Even now, as automation continues to advance, the traditional nagashi-suki, which has been handed down through several generations, is still protected.

 

 

Handmade washi paper feels good to the touch and has a warmth that cannot be created by machine. 

Ms. Motomi, a 2nd-year craftsman, apparently became interested in handmade washi because her grandmother used to work at this workshop.

Watching her hands move nimbly is just fascinating! 

 

 

Hugely popular even overseas, washi has a unique charm that draws many visitors who come to experience papermaking.

 
Observing how carefully the work is done makes you feel like writing a letter to that special someone… 

 

Full article: https://setouchifinder.com/en/detail/636

 

6. Antique Lover? Dogo Giyaman Glass Museum is Filled with Retro Glass from the Meiji & Taisho Periods!

Dogo Giyaman Glass Museum is a great place for antique lovers and only a 3-minute walk from Dogo Onsen's main building. It’s located within Yamanote Garden Place, the new Dogo hotspot that's gaining the attention of young women!

 

 

Within the museum there are over 300 pieces of rare Edo, Meiji and Taisho era glass art works on display.

Perfectly capturing the chic aesthetic sense of our ancestors, each awe-inspiring piece is of the highest design quality. While admiring the works, it’s easy to forget the flow of time…

 

 

If you don't want to think about anything difficult, and just want to be surrounded by beautiful objects, Dogo Giyaman Glass Museum is the perfect place to wander around particularly if you have a little extra time while sightseeing.

 
There’s also a European style garden and a café within the facilities.

 

Full article: https://setouchifinder.com/en/detail/648

 

7. Tengu Kurocha, Legendary Fermented Tea from Saijo City, Ehime Prefecture!

 
Ever heard of "post-fermentation tea"?

One such tea is Chinese Pu-Erh tea. In Japan, however, it's so rare that it's currently only made in four locations: Toyama's Toyama kurocha (bata bata-cha), Tokushima's Awa bancha, Kochi's Goishi-cha and Saijo's Tengu kurocha.

 

 

As the tea's properties differ from others, Ehime University is currently conducting a study to determine its hay fever combating potential.

 

 

A tea called Ishizuchi kurocha had been made in Saijo city since ancient times, but as there was only one person left making the tea, a local life research group succeeded the techniques and created Tengu kurocha. Although I say they ‘succeeded the techniques’, apparently nothing went well at first and they suffered many hardships!

Coming from Setouchi's mountainous region, Tengu Kurocho, a tea that can be only produced in small quantities because of water shortages, trouble with succession, etc., is truly legendary.

Try reducing your coffee and black tea consumption by changing to a Japanese tea that's good for your body – it’s easy to incorporate into your daily routine.

 

Full article: https://setouchifinder.com/en/detail/609 

 

8. Slow Life Pleasures on Omishima Island… A Hidden Café Marché Where New Residents Gather!

Omishima Island is located within Imabari city, Ehime prefecture.

Every year, the number of new residents moving to the islands of the Imabari area grows. Among them, Omishima Island has the most migrants coming from Kanto and Kansai areas. People who move to Omishima Island to farm and create handicrafts, etc. enjoy lives very different to those they lived in the city!

 

 

The marché is held almost every month except during the winter season.

People who took an I-turn or a U-turn and moved to the island run all the stalls at the marché. All of them do what they're good at, or like to do for work, and enjoy their calm, slow lives on the island.

 

 

Enjoying life doing what you like to do sounds like such a lovely way to live. I wonder if it's really possible in this busy country? 

Why not go and see how people live the slow life, and discover what things are really necessary in life.

 
If you look hard, you may find that it’s simpler than you think.

 

Full article: https://setouchifinder.com/en/detail/455

 

So, what do you think??

Material things and information are what makes the modern individual busy… sometimes it's good to turn off your computer and take a break… and go travelling. You never know, it might just become the key to a more relaxed lifestyle.

 

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