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additional yo-ji-juku-go

One more update about the aroma cards campaign on indiegogo
I received one more idea on how to use the aroma card + 5 additional very famous yo-ji-juku-go idiomatic phrases:

Here you are!
★Idea of usage: use your aroma card as a bookmark! it is longlasting, pleasant to touch and fragrant. Can you find a better reading companion?

★5 additional yojijukugo to choose from:

以心伝心(read: i-shin-den-shin)
translation: that thinks transmit heart
meaning: “Without any need for words”

一期一会 (read: ichi-go-ichi-e)
translation: one period one meeting
meaning: “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”

海千山千 (read:umi-sen-yama-sen)
translation: sea 1000(years) mountain 1000(years)
meaning: “sly old dog of much worldly wisdom”

電光石火 (read: den-kō-sek-ka)
translation: electricity light stone fire
meaning: “as fast as lightning”

一日一歩 (read:ichi-nichi-ip-po)
translation: one day one step
meaning: “one step each day”

How about these ones?

I added them at the survey about the aroma cards campaign.

questions
responses

Please let me know your opinion. I only have 16 days left for the campaign!

video for “aroma cards” campaign

Here is an update about the indiegogo campaign.
https://igg.me/at/hinoki-aroma-cards

First of all, with 5 days of delay after the beginning of the campaign I finally managed to put together the video!

During the interviews many people mentioned the yo-ji-juku-go (four character idionatic expressions).
I think this actually matches perfectly the concept of the product.
I was considering using some haiku poems (for the “extreme” japan-lovers) and some motivational quotes (for the more pragmatic ones) but the idea of using the yo-ji-juku-go puts the two concepts together!

Idiomatic expressions are like proverbs but have the peculiarity of consisting on 4 ideograms.
No verbs, no conjunctive particles or hiragana characters.

Just 4 concepts or qualities that also create a peculiar sound combination.


Some are more straight forward like:
一石二鳥
(read: i-sseki-ni-cho)
translation: one stone two birds
meaning: “Killing two birds with one stone”


others definitely require an explanation like:
温故知新
(read: on-ko-chi-shin)
translation: warm circumstance know new
meaning: “Learning from the past”

At first the meaning may not be immediate, but once you know the meaning, the idiomatic expressions have a particularly dense meaning and convey the concept powerfully, in full color.

Everybody has their own “favorite yo-ji-juku-go”, like a personal mantra or policy that you can say in your mind to receive that relaxing caress or courage boost you need in your everyday life.


There are many yo-ji-juku-go. I’ve found counts ranging from 5,000 to over 20,000. Wikipedia page about yu-ji-juku-go links to a database of 3,400 of them while Japanese students learn at school some 400-500 fundamental idiomatic expressions.

I will pick up some I like. Feel free to comment if you have more to share!


花鳥風月
(read: ka-cyou-fu-getsu)
translation: flowers birds wind moon
meaning: “The beauties of nature”


十人十色
(read: juu-nin-to-iro)
translation: 10 people 10 colors
meaning: “To each his own”


晴耕雨読
(read: sei-kou-u-doku)
translation: sunny cultivate rain read
meaning: “Living in quiet retirement dividing time between work and intellectual pursuits”


臨機応変
(read: rin-ki-ou-hen)
translation: extraordinary happening listen different
meaning: “Playing it by ear”


So, which is the one you like?

survey for new product: aroma cards

20161126_182149

Please let me know your opinion about the product currently under development: the “hinoki aroma cards”.

I am interested in hearing which message would be meaningful for you.
If it is a great one, you will be able to choose it once the product is developed in february 2017!

Please particiapate to the survey below.
It is easy!

Last thatched roof in Tokyo is endangered.

A friend running a real estate agency in Kobe informed me of another beautiful & sad story.
The “grievous finale” is incumbent but is still avoidable and I am now starting to dream about how I can rewrite the epilogue of the story and conclude with a happy end instead!

Anyway, let me explain. A friend showed me the blog of a volunteer association (the “Nakano Building Support Committee”) supported by 50 local residents who are devoted in collecting and diffusing information about historical buildings in Tokyo`s Nakano district and organize community events.
http://nakanotatemono.blog.fc2.com/
Nakano district is one of the 23 cities forming the Tokyo metropolitan area and is located west of one of the busiest high-rise office district in the world: the Shinjuku area.

Well, the volunteer association is very lively and recently held their annual “persimmon pickup and drying event” (maybe there is a better way to translate it…?!) at the “Hosoda house.”
hosoda-house-hoshikaki

A) Features
Well, this is the “beautiful” part of the story.

The Hosoda house remains intact like an oasis in a neighborhood once rural and now inexorably covered in asphalt and concrete.
I cannot judge which is more noteworthy: if the vast garden boosting a great variety of indigenous trees / or the house: a 160 year old japanese traditional “minka” farmhouse, the last surviving thatched roof in the Tokyo metropolitan area.
The straw roof has been temporarily covered with a metal roofing but if properly restored it would show in its full glory.

Hosoda house is strikingly important for many reasons: its architectural details, its unique atmosphere and especially the fact of being the last one! Hosoda house is not only an example of an endangered species: it is the last example… The city around transformed into a neoplasm of asphalt and asbestos but the Hosoda house is here to witness that there is another way of living and it may inspire future generations to rethink the image of the city.

Hosoda house is not only last thatched roof in Tokyo (and I believe one of the few private gardens with so many variety of species) but is a presence of hope, showing an alternative to our inhumane cities.

If the Hosoda estate is destroyed also its function as a “light tower of hope” and “example” will be interrupted.

(Here below a picture of a traditional cultural event held on the premises)

hosodahouse-saginoiya


B) Threats

We see here one of the many contradictions of the japanese society: this unique gem is not protected and actually it is severely threatened by multiple small-minded circumstances.

1) The municipality is planning to expropriate it and demolish for the construction of a road. The road plan was enacted in 1966, but, as happens for many similar “pork barrel” public spending projects, remained dormant for several decades. The city obtained approval from the national government for the road construction in 2015 and plan to have the project completed by 2020. It is useless to say that priorities and needs have changed in this 40 years and this sacrifice would not only be harsh but also meaningless.

Hosoda-Residence-Nakano-2
2) Hosoda house is owned by a descendant of the Hosoda family but he is not living on site.
The house itself does not have any real estate value (like any building 25+ year old in Japan) but the land is very large (1000 tsubo = about 3300 m2) and based on land prices in this area, the property could be worth anywhere from 1.5 ~ 2 billion Yen or more (approx. 13.3 ~ 17.7 million USD).
It is already a miracle that the owner is holding firm and is not allured by the lump of money he would make by selling this rare gem to the next ruthless developer.
But this situation cannot last forever. Inheritance tax is very expensive in Japan and most people inheriting this type of precious estates are cursed with the destiny of having to sell it to be able to pay the succession tax.

3) Another secondary but significant threat is the “asphaltification” of the common sense of the society. It is becoming more and more rare to find deciduous trees in japanese cities and people are just not used to it anymore! Neighbors complain when they see some fallen leaves on the sidewalk. Yes, they complain…!
The owner has to heavily prune the trees to avoid diplomatic accidents but this is not only a mutilation for the centennial plants but is very expensive (since the trees are very large they need to use a crane).
It is a trying situation and I would not be surprised if the owner would decide one day to just get rid of everything.

Well, maybe I have 3 years, maybe less but I am sure that everyday spent in passive contemplation is just going to bring the deplorable end closer.

Between the end of year and the beginning of 2017 I intend to take the following actions:

1) individuate the public agencies involved and understand exactly the progress in the approval process. Then, find some weak points and possible ways of opposing the project.

2) try to reach Mr. Hosoda and verify directly his plans for the future. Set the bases for a safe alienation of the property (ex. creating a foundation an collecting donations as needed to purchase the property)

3) network with the “Nakano Building Support Committee” and identify some individual who are critical about the trees. Then try to talk with them and evaluate a reasonable compromise. Sometimes just one voice against can be contagious. And people “against” are often just looking for attention or a channel to relieve their stress…

This is all for now.
I will keep you updated and will ask for your advice and support once I have a clear target.

Feel free to comment here below.

New packaging

We are receiving many orders of kadomaru tubs.
Maybe because of the following amazing salespoints?
1) it is reasonable,
2) compact and lightweight
3) it requires only 1 week from order to shipping
4) allows savings on packaging and transportation

I have to apologize as we are not managing to maintain the promise on 2 of the points above (but are working hard to re-establish the best conditions…!)
Here is the “new kadomaru” features:
1) reasonable: no change
2) compact and lightweight: no change
3) it requires only 1 week from order to shipping: sorry, we require 2-3 weeks but will try to contain the delay as much as possible.
4) allows savings on packaging and transportation: same price but better packaging!
(see also this article)
Remember also that you can order a kadomaru tub directly from the shop (note that there are 2 sizes: S and L).
Contact us by email or thru the contact form if you need any customization/options.

Transportation damage!

lower side
It finally happened.
After 14 years of paying the transportation insurance without need to use it we had our first accident.
Of course I am deeply sorry with the client but I confirm that we were able to replace the tub with a pristine one.

Actually we had in the past 2 damage reports about bathroom accessories arriving in smashed cardboard boxes (both in the USA with air mail…) but never experienced a damage to a tub.
Yes, with this first shipping damage experience which brings the accident rate to 1:240 which is about the 0.4%.

The client promptly reported the damage (it must be done within one week) and since it was a kadomaru type we could make a new one in a week time. The tub will be shipped as “replacement item – free of charge” so there are no taxes involved and if any customs inspection is required we will take care of the cost.

But this story has a silver lining, actually 2!

#1 Sturdier box
no doubt the box was mistreated. It was dropped probably more than once and was pierced by a steel pipe. Anyway we could learn the weak-points of the box and changed the packaging method. The new box is much sturdier and prevents the tub from moving inside.

#2 Same cost
The packaging we will be using from now on is actually more expensive. But actually we also find a new service from our forwarder which will enable us to lower the shipping cost. They will use flexibly DHL or UPS according to the space available and provide a better fare which compensates the additional cost of the reinforced box.
Therefore we will be able to offer a safer transportation for the same price!

NOTE:
Cardboard boxes are used only for Kadomaru tubs. All custom tubs are shipped in a plywood completely closed crate.

new-packaging1

new-packaging2

new-packaging3

Everything you wanted to know about a japanese ofuro…

Please read the information here below before purchasing a japanese tub.
Also, we recommend to do a {search} within the FAQS for the keywords you are concerned about.

Do not forget to browse the “download area” in the “REFERENCE” section.
It is useful to check the “installation” section in the “DETAILS” menu.

Once you are ready to place your quotation request, go thru the “tub details” section for a thorough step-by step explanation.

You can do your final recap and fill the form in the “how to order” section.

Why are japanese ofuro tubs expensive?

Here are the main reasons:
1) The material is expensive.
2) The craftmanship is expensive.
3) The shipping cost is expensive.
Anyway, we ship directly from the maker to the end user so you can be sure that there is no overhead and you are getting value for every penny spent.

What are the differences between Japanese ofuro and tubs made in the U.S.?

Here are the 3 main differences between US-made tubs and real japanese tubs which make the two products difficult to compare.
1a) almost all US made tubs are coated with urethane. The look is natural but may feel a little cold and hard (like plastic) and have no aroma.
1b) Japanese made tubs are un-coated. You can feel the warmth, aroma and soft touch of wood but if the environment is too humid they may develop mold stains.

2a) US made tubs are assembled as a cabinet (see the corner mitered joint) and often made of finger joint glue-laminated wood.
2b) Japanese tubs are and are built like a boat and are made of solid wide lumber laminated with dowels

3a) US made tubs are made in red cedar, hard woods (like teak) or Port Orford Cedar (most of the makers call it hinoki – but it is not.) Please note that hinoki usable as construction material grows in Japan and Taiwan only.
3b) Japanese tubs are made with japanese softwoods (hinoki, asnaro, sawara, koyamaki). For flooring or wainscoting we use man planted lumber while for making tubs we use exclusively 250-300 year old trees lumber from primary forests.
Well seasoned wood is very stable but in extreme conditions of dryness it may warp or crack.

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