Produced by Isao Tokuhashi
Edited by Daniel Penso
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Japan Traditional Crafts Aoyama Square
Japan Traditional Crafts Aoyama Square is the only gallery & shop where over a hundred kinds of selective traditional crafts from all over the country are exhibited and sold. It displays Japanese products such as ceramics, lacquered wares, woven textiles, Japanese washi paper and more. The artisans demonstrate their skills in front of guests here regularly. Supported by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
Man from the US
I’m a visiting professor at a Japanese university so I came here for work. I originally worked at the University of Hawaii as an archaeology professor.
I’ve been in Japan for 4 months. I came here many times, but this is the first time that I stayed for more than one week.
I’ve always been interested in the Japanese traditional crafts because my grandfather came to Japan in 1930. He lived in Tokyo for one year. When he returned to New York, he brought many Japanese traditional crafts with him.
Also, in his business in the 1950s or 1960s, he visited Japan very often and always brought many Japanese things home so I always heard a lot about Japan and I appreciate Japanese crafts. I like the Japanese ceramics very much because it’s beautiful and elegant. But it doesn’t look so gaudy or flashy. We can use it everyday, also for special occasions.
I found this place online a few months ago. I think this shop is very unique because it brings together so many high quality crafts from the different parts of the country and it displays them very well. It tells us where they come from and sometimes it tells us something about how they are made.
I think it’s a very good way for Japan to promote their tourism because people like me, who are interested in crafts, want to go to a place where they are made and want to see them being made. I think many people are interested in that kind of tourism.
Question: Why are Japanese people so polite? Is it because of the family or the schools?
Man from Italy
This is the second time that I came here. My first trip to Japan was in April 2015. I studied Japanese culture and religion, so I went to Tokyo, Hakone and Kyoto. Then I visited Kanazawa during this trip.
But the Japanese city I like best is Tokyo. Actually I love Kyoto, too, but Tokyo is perfect for me. It’s very beautiful because there are both historic places and modern places. Also Tokyo is very clean. I love the climate in Tokyo.
I’ve loved Japan since I was a child. I used to study Japanese at university but I’ve not learned it since I graduated. I started to learn the language again 2 years ago. I came here twice because it’s a good opportunity to learn “real Japanese”. But people talk very fast so it’s difficult for me to understand.
I found this place when I was walking around here during the previous trip. I walked in here and I loved it because there are so many Japanese things made in different places.
I bought beautiful chopsticks. I love Japanese tea and teaware, too. A friend of mine owns chashitsu (茶室, tea room) in Italy and he taught me about tea.
I love all kinds of handcrafts. Japanese ones are very beautiful and high quality. I love their simplicity.
Question: Why Japanese people like Italy so much?
Thank you very much for your cooperation!
…Who wants to ask the next question?
Japan Traditional Crafts Aoyama Square
1st floor of Akasaka Oji Building, 8-1-22 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Business Hours: 11AM – 7PM
Shop Holiday: Year-end & New Year holidays
*Interviewed by Risa Kobayashi, Isao Tokuhashi (MET)
*Photos by Masanori Tsuchibuchi
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