News

MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA

We are deepening our relation and collaboration with the kimono designer Yoshio Jogan.
Jogan sensei is based in Kyoto and went through the long and steep path of mastering traditional kimono patterns since his youth.
But he believes that Art must always be in movement and the worship of a mummified tradition is not going to keep the Art alive.

Jogan sensei is a master in bridging the subtle traditional knowhow of kimono patterning into interior design, contemporary products and computer art. We will talk more about Jogan sensei in the next few weeks, but here I would like to anticipate a news that is also going to impact our Wakayama pre-war mansion re-branding project.

Jogan sensei owns some 2000 Kimonos from the end of Taisho-beginning of Showa period. We are talking about the mythical years between 1920 and 1940, where Japanese influenced Art Nouveau and Art Deco were trending.

The 2000 Kimonos are works of art entirely hand dyed, hand painted and hand embroidered and most are probably worth more than 200,000 USD each. These kimonos were also used in the 2005 Hollywood movie “Memoirs of a Geisha” .
Did you see it? Do you remember the beautiful kimonos?
If not it is a good timing to pull out the DVD again and have a closer look!

Meanwhile, we will keep you updated on our projects with Jogan sensei and are looking forward to hearing your comments, questions and Memoirs!

Nestled in the Swiss Alps

With the email subject line from our client “At last the bathtub is in place” we could appreciate the hard work and effort that goes into redesigning a bathroom. Importing an ofuro from Japan takes no small effort and a huge amount of trust that we are going to get it right.

But get it right we did. Look at this stunning bathroom with it’s outlook on a mini version of the Swiss Alps (or so we like to think, since the bathtub is in its new home in Switzerland). Hats off to the designers of the bathroom who have managed to create a calm and relaxing space that I am sure the owners will love for years to come.

Can you imagine slipping into the delicious hot water after a day on the slopes?

Thank you F.H in Switzerland.


The Cat’s Pajamas

Our customer James sent us a fun video of his cat contemplating diving in for a soak in the ofuro. Thanks for the giggle James! Ofuro fun for the whole family. You can see it over on our Facebook page. It’s a beautiful bath, so tranquil.

Send us your pics! We love them!! japan(at)bartokdesign.com is our email address.


https://www.facebook.com/japanese.ofuro/videos/2273150919622731/

Photo credit: Photos generously provided by James Reinke

Reiwa Era: Important Notice

Important Notice Regarding Holidays & Bank Closure

As we welcome the new era! Reiwa era starts on May 1st, 2019


Please note that next week the spring holiday break called “Golden Week” will start. This year our holiday is particularly long on the occasion of the celebrations for the new emperor, taking place of the father who has abdicated. The new era Reiwa begins on May 1st.


To make a long story short, if you can make the bank transfer by April 24 (4/24) I think we will receive it by April 28 (4/28) and be able to work/ship during the long holiday period.


If not, all bank processing and shipping will happen after May 7th (5/7). Thank you for your understanding.


Bringing water to the desert

Airport shuttle bus all to myself
A limousine bus to myself!

This weekend I will be at The Hotel Show at the Dubai Trade Center bringing some much-needed ? onsen water to the desert! As I mentioned in my last post I am jumping all in to explore the b2b side of things. Orders have been increasing from hotels, bars, restaurants and spas so I thought I should come to answer all the questions about japanese ofuro in person.

You might know that our area of Japan was hit by a super-typhoon (tropical storm) a couple of weeks ago. So many flights were cancelled after the bridge to the airport was damaged as well as some flooding of the airport. It is happy for me that the shuttle bus was empty and I could enjoy a beautiful sunset as I take off from Osaka, Kansai Airport. The airport is only just resuming flights so I am very lucky.

See you on the other side! Come and say hi if you are at the Hotel Show too.

sunset over Osaka Bay
Sunset over Osaka Bay

“moon shaped tub” crowdfunding campaign

I spoke about this project with some friends back in january.

They have been contacting me regularly for updates.

I finally squeezed in the 3-4 days necessary to prepare the material and launch it online….

ladies and gentlemen, the crowdfunding campaign for a new generation of hinoki bathtubs is alive!

https://igg.me/at/moon-shaped-bathub

tsukiburo-banner640wide  They are curvy and sexy, they are cutting edge, they are hand-made. Here is the beginning of the new “KAKEHASHI” collection!

House for sale in Osaka

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A japanese friend is selling his house in southern Osaka and since it is equipped with a nice hinoki bathtub, I decided to call it out here, in case somebody in interested.

It is remote that users of this site may be considering purchasing of real estate in Japan, but who knows! Also note that this is not a heritage building but a full featured 3 story family house with 2 cars garage.

asking price: 42.8 million yen

year built: 2001, december

structure: timber (post and beam)

floor area: 148.22m² (3 story, 4LDK)

land area: 166.81m²

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You can find more information and photos here:

http://win-jyuken.jp/?post_type=fudo&p=4272&shu=1202&ros=592&eki=6508&ken=00&sik=0&kalc=0&kahc=0&kalb=0&kahb=0&hof=0&tik=0&mel=0&meh=0

new prices for the bath accessories

I would like to call your attention on 2 changes in our lineup of japanese bathroom accessories:

1) the design of the ladle (small bucket with handle) was updated with the use of a braided wire.
This gives more stability even if it makes the look different from the large bucket which still has the flat copper bands. On the other hand, the new ladle coordinates with the round foot bath.oke-hi2

2) there will be few adjustments (prices increases) in the accessories due to the cost increase of the stools and new pricing categories of the EMS Japan post service.
Please find the new prices below.
170601-hinoki-bath-accessories-pricelist
This new price list will be effective from june,1 2017 so if you are ready to buy some accessories, I recommend to place the order by 5/31.
The shopping cart will be updated with the new prices on 6/1 at 0:00 JST

rural kabuki in Kobe

Today I went to the gorgeous Minatogawa Shrine in Kobe.
The building was rebuilt in reinforced concrete as many other examples thru-out the country but the balance, its setting in the green in the center of Kobe always gives me a sensation of wellbeing. Incidentally, here is where I got married, 15 years ago… but this is a different story…

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This time I was not a normal visitor: I came to participate to a casual festival as a … Kabuki actor!
Actually I have been impersonating the character “Nango Rikimaru” from the play “Shiranami go nin otoko” for over 18 years!
It all started when I visited a traditional festival and forgot on the ground my note-book.
It was promptly returned to me and one year later I was recruited to be on stage!

Nouson-kabuki (rural kabuki) is a standard (or maybe I should use the past tense) of local festivals and the amateur actors (in the past mostly peasants) were dressing up and making up their face to entertain the community.

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The five characters are thieves that are surrounded by the police and are giving their testaments before the final fight. Some of them had noble origins, some of them are played as onna gata (with an effeminate makeup). Nango is a rough pirate hiding on ships and popping out all at the sudden and threatening the crew with his shining sword. He is not repented and showing off his red underwear he draws his…umbrella preparing to sell his life dearly!

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nemophila blooming

Roses are red violets are blue, sugar is sweet…
I studied this short poem as 1st grade junior high student in Torino some 33 years ago: what a flash back!
But this is just to say that flowers in japan are not only sakura.
A friend went to maihama seaside park in ibaraki prefecture (north of tokyo) and sent me some shots. I did not know it so I felt I had to share it with you! I am enclosing here some photos.
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