News

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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kazoku-buro

I have some american friends who spent their honey moon in japan.
They both love ofuros but had to enjoy the hot water separately.
If you go to an onsen-ryokan, you may have a bathtub in your room also.
But the “real thing” is of course the “dai-yoku-jo” (large bath area) which is separated by sex. Here you can enjoy different temperatures of water, ishiburo (stone-bath) rotenburo (outdoor bath) goemon-buro (wood fired metal bathtub) and all the optionals including waterfalls, softly lit stone lanterns and spectacular foliage.

So my friends were separating, going to their bath area and feeling guilty to indulge longer in the hot water… You do not want to have your newlywed partner say “did you came here to spend time with me or to enjoy the thermal water by yourself?”

Please keep your ears open: there is a trick if you want to love the onsen as much (or almost as much…) as the company of your partner: you can look for a “kazoku-buro”.

Many ryokan offer family bathtubs that can be used for a limited time by your party exclusively.
Some require an extra fee, some others do not. In this case they are usually crowded and you have to reserve well in advance or wait.

Here below are some photos from the hotel “kami-no-yu” (god of hot water) in Yamanashi prefecture. The address is 17, Ryuji, Kai city. telephone: 0551-28-5000.

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This one is suitable for a large family!! But do not forget to read the notice before entering…
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The ofuro is inside but you can enjoy the landscaped garden from the window!

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I cannot here list all ryokans that offer a “kashikiri-kazokuburo” anyway I will share some other reviews in the near future.
Meanwhile, if you are going to japan and want to try this experience, please let me know: I will be glad to look for a suitable ryokan for you.
If you want to do it by yourself, try to access googlemap with the tags selected by clicking the link below:
https://www.google.co.jp/maps/search/%E8%B2%B8%E5%88%87%E5%AE%B6%E6%97%8F%E9%A2%A8%E5%91%82+%E6%B8%A9%E6%B3%89/@35.7192132,134.0200653,5z/data=!3m1!4b1
Then, zoom on the location you choose.
The onsen will be twice as enjoyable if you can share it together with your other half!

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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Natural repair for wood crack!

 I would like here to share a story with a happy end. I hope it can be of help to others also.
PHASE 1) 12/20/2016
The client purchased from us two round footbaths in december 2016.

PHASE 2) 4/16/2017
We received from the client the following mail:
Hi
One of my footh tubs is leak and unfortunately I don’t find the note which followed with advise how to fix it. Could you please send it to me by mail?
Thanks.

My answer:
I am sorry for the problem.
Can you send me a picture?
Is there a crack? How many mm wide?

Client:
The crack is 2 mm large.
Best regards

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My answer:
First of all I would like to ask you to place a piece of newspaper inside the foot tub, on the side of the crack. Hold it firmly in place while filling it with water.
You will notice that the newspaper transfers the humidity to the wood, while preventing the water from flowing outside of the crack.
Leave the foot bath filled this way for 24 hours. The wood should expand back in place and hopefully seal the crack.
Please let me know if this solves the problem.

PHASE 3) 4/18/2017
Client:
Guess what, it worked! The crack  is fixed and the tub keeps the water. I’m so glad.
Have a nice week.

My answer:
Wonderful!
Can you send me a picture?
Do you think I can publish it on our homepage?
Thank you//

PHASE 4) 4/19/2017
Client:
Dear Iacopo
I’ m sorry I was too early to say the leak was fixed. When I took all the newspaper away it still leaked a bit. So I have to let the newspaper stay for one more night.
Best regards

Client:
I´m now delighted to tell you the crack is fixed and the tub no longer leak. yesterday I was content after soaking it i water and changes from cold to warm water every second time.
I leave some photos if you like to post it.
Best wishes

My answer:
Thank you, this is great news!
All the Best//


HAPPY END! I am publishing here below the photos I received for your reference.

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moon gazing

moonAre you a moon-watcher?

Today it is matsu-yoi-no-tsuki.

Did you know it?

The day before the full moon is a special day because … we can look forward to seeing the full moon the next day!

In japan (before the advent of TV…) japanese were big fan of enjoying the change of seasons and natural processes. See below: (more…)

sakura!

after a long winter, finally the sakura are blossoming here and there!

The weather has been bad in kansai area, especially on weekends, so here are some pictures that a friend sent me from Tokyo.

april 2nd:
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tsubomi: beginning of blossom with prominence of florets

april 5th:
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mankai: full blossom. This is actually a photo of one of my favorite hanami spots: the Meguro-gawa.

april 7th:
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chiri-sakura: gorgeous. the trees are still completely white but many petals are falling on the ground. The perfect symbol for the ephemerality of beauty. The peak is also the beginning of the end.

For those of you interested, you can find all you wanted to know on sakura blossoms viewing and real time forecasts on this site:
http://sakura.weathermap.jp/en.php
MG_Tokyo
details are in japanese only. Here is a collection of graphs relative to the Tokyo area:
http://sakura.weathermap.jp/area.php?city=Tokyo
If you still not have enough of sakura viewing you can migrate north little by little and enjoy the peak of cherry blossom viewing everyday!

If you are not yet in Japan, do not be sad: if you go to Hokkaido you will still be able to catch up with the cherry blossom as late as up to the mid of may!

hinoki aroma cards shipped!

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A big thank you again to all who supported us for the hinoki aroma cards crowdfunding campaign.
This is to confirm that I shipped all the items pledged by small-package (airfreight).
There is no tracking code but you should receive the items by 3/31 at the latest. If you do not receive it, please contact me at japanbartokdesign.com

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From now on the [hinoki aroma cards] are also available for purchase!
Please check in the shop. The cards are already finished with essential oil but the aroma may fade overtime. If you want to “recharge” them, remember to purchase separately the essential oil of your choice.

original hinoki aroma cards!

I am about 20days late on the original schedule but I have good news!

The hinoki aroma cards are ready and I am planning to prepare the shipments over the weekend and send early next week.

After that I will also add the actual pictures in the shop page.
But before that, I want to present here an outstanding original design and superb result:
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The client is going to use the cards for a friend`s wedding.
I thought it is a great idea and it may give an inspiration to other people!
Thanking the Ms. D who kindly agreed to show the photo in this blog, I am glad to introduce here the activity of her 2 daughters.
With “Musical traces“, they bring music in the community with classical concerts in local libraries, hospitals and private homes.
Check out their youtube channel.
Not only listening to the skillfully played music is mind soothing, but seeing that the performers are mostly children is heart warming and really inspiring!

This reference is not strictly ofuro-related but I am so glad to have such wonderful clients that I cannot help wanting to let the world know about it!

Enjoy the weekend and look for the musical traces…

World of Interiors debut!

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A short story about the Bartok design ofuros was published on the march issue of the famous british magazine “the World of interiors”!
Well, it is a little embarassing…but I did not see it yet. The issue was released on 2/12 but in Japan it was quickly sold out and is unavailable in the newstands or on amazon at the moment. I asked the editor to send me a copy but I cannot wait to see it!
Anybody has a copy? Please share!


2017.3.17 update:
I could obtain a copy. Please find below the referral to our tubs (on page 156)
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