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japanese softwoods

For a description of the essences we use to build ofuros, please read the description below. (or return to the category: our woods and scroll down)
Note that we may also have the availability of Koya-maki wood or knotty hinoki but these are becoming rarer.
For a more compact, printer-friendly version, check our download area and select the document on top of the list (1)

Lastly, note that we only use japanese woods. we cannot make ofuros in teak or port orford cedar. Also, pine is not suitable to make ofuros because it bends easily with changes of humidity and it produces discharges of resin.

If you need samples, please contact me by email at japan@bartokdesign.com specifying your preferred shipping address.

A section devoted to people we like and respect and would like to share their awesomeness


the new spring of wabisabi

The cultural center and ryokan in S. Ginesio (central Italy) re-opened in the post-corona era on May 20th.

And to celebrate they cleaned and re-sanded their knotty hinoki 15-year old bartok design ofuro.

I leave the photos to describe the whiteness of the regenerated hinoki and the colors of the springtime filling it completely.

After the Corona virus I think that long haul flights and trips to faraway countries will be pursued less.
We will assist to the spread of the “micro-tourism” model as theorized by the President of the hotel chain “Hoshino Resort”

If you are in Europe, what other excuse are you waiting to visit the Wabi Sabi Ryokan? For questions/ reservations, contact Ricky and Serenella as per the details below:

Tel: 335-396025
email: irasshai@wabisabiculture.org
facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/wabisabiculture/

I think the goddess of spring is a long stay guest here at the Wabisabi!

hinokitiol Vs. COVID-19

hinokitiol is a natural extract of asnaro-hiba wood with strong antimicrobial performance. It has been proved effective in treating penicillin-resistant streptococci and is used as a component for disinfectants, cosmetics, scalp and acne treatments etc.

It can be diluted in water and vaporized in the air: it lasts much longer than other volatile substances like alcohol.
It has been used as a local and ambient disinfectant and insect repellent.

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Can It be helpful in inhibiting or treating the COVID-19?
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I do not know.

But I can supply it !
(because it is a by-product of my manufacture of Japanese cedar wood products, mainly Japanese ofuro bathtubs).

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I offer to send samples of hinokitiol to research institutes in case they are interested in testing it against the COVID-19 virus.

Please contact me and let me know the address and contact person information for the shipping. I will send 1g via airmail.
Product and shipping cost is on me.
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For more information check this page:
https://bartokdesign.com/?s=hinokitiol

  As of march, 17 2020 I already shipped a sample to:

1) Dr. Raymond Goodrich
Colorado State University’s Infectious Disease Research Center - USA

2) Dr. Maurizio Cecconi
Humanitas University - Milano - Italy

3) Mr. Joseph Payne
Arcturus Therapeutics - Torrey Pines Mesa - La Jolla - USA

4) Dr. Brooke Fiala
Washington’s Institute for Protein Design, Seattle - USA

5) Dr. Chen Katz  
Migal Galilee Research Institute, Qiryat Shemona - Israel

I do not have personal contacts within the 9 large companies who have been largely publicized on the media (nor I have big sympathy for large corporations) .
Anyway if you know some researcher who is worthy, please let me know!)

・ Inovio (USA)
・ Cure- Vac (Germany)
・ Gilead Sciences Inc.  (USA)
・ GlaxoSmithKline   (USA)
・ Johnson & Johnson   (USA)
・ Moderna Inc.   (USA)
・ Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (USA)
・ Sanofi (USA)
・ Vir Biotechnology Inc. (USA)

Anybody else you think could use the natural hinokitiol to help defeat the virus?

quickstart on zoom

As they say, every cloud has a silver lining.
The coronavirus emergency -> craze -> histeria is provoking an economic havoc that could damage irreversibly large sectors of the economy.

But is also giving the chance to millions of people to rethink their priorities, optimize their time and rearrange their routines.
One big discovery is definitely ZOOM meeting software (no affiliation…)

I had some tepidly disappointing experiences with s**pe or goto**ing.
The first 5 minutes of the conversation were spent in yelling “moshi-moshi, hallo etc.” the next 5 minutes were used to restart computers and inevitably the conversation took place on whatsapp.

But ZOOM is very stable and the interface is so easy to use. It is possible to have meetings with up to 100 people (and more for special users) and when somebody talks, the speaker pops up in the magnified part of the screen.
It is also possible to share documents or scroll on SketchUp models etc.

I am planning to use ZOOM also to connect with people who are interested in purchasing an ofuro or need to solve some problem I can help with.

I am still not sure on how to embed it in the homepage or if it makes sense to create periodical live webinars etc. I would appreciate your insight and opinion about it. I am still a novice in ZOOM.

I purchased the paid plan (about 200 $ per year) so I can make unlimited meetings with up to 100 people. Of course it can be used also on the smartphone so I am always reachable.
My ID is 51848377.
Let`s connect. A virtual hug to everybody!

iacopo

experimental tatamis and meet iacopo in London!

Just a few words to update you about:
1) a fatal encounter with an experimental tatami maker
2) meet iacopo in London on 2/27! 


Chapter 1) 

Our schedules did not match: although we had a couple of tentative venues we did not manage to meet.
R&S: two dear italian friends and Bartok design ofuro users, always present in my mind and inspiring my activities and discoveries come to Japan for a couple of weeks.  
They come to Kansai, they were here in Nara, Kyoto and surroundings but we did not manage to meet… Such a shame…

But every cloud has a silver lining!
Before living they gave me the introduction to Mitsuru Yokoyama, young tatami maker in Kyoto.
I could not resist and called him immediately. It was a very strange feeling: like my own voice was echoing back. I immediately felt our ideas were on the same wavelength and as much as it was pleasant to talk, I felt we almost did not need to talk..! 

(more…)

Princess Sawara’s twin – outlet tub

Well, the Princess Sawara outlet tub has been sold. But as we had several requests for the same princess… so at the same time, we decided to build another one…
Same material, same sizes, an identical twin to the previous outlet tub!

We do not have anymore sawara material in stock for an outlet tub so if you missed the first one, this is the last chance…

(more…)

warm greetings from norway

Dear Iacopo!

I just want to send you some words, and pictures, from Norway, saying that we still are in love with our Hinoki bath tub, and we use it several times every week (except the warmest weeks of summer)!
On Christmas eve, our daughters (that have started to ask for a bath when they come to visit…:) wanted to have a “Christmas bath” – as did I of course. Inspired by the book “the japanese bath”, I made a “Christmas edition” bath, as you can see from the picture.

(We usually do not add anything to our tub water, of course, the hinoki scent is wonderful on it’s own). I took the chance that this would not harm the tub, and it seems to do fine:)
Since our three daughters were using this bathroom during the Christmas holidays, we agreed that the use of perfume, hairspray etc would have to be used in another room (the toilet), not to ruin the hinoki scent that meets you as soon as you slide the door open, and greets and calms our senses. The shoji doors, which were sliding perfectly the first half year, have started to stop halfway for some reason. We have to look into that. Maybe the humidity has been too hard on them?

I follow your blog posts with great interest! It is exciting that you provide suggestions for future visits to Japan! Especially the hiking trips look very nice.
As Norway is a country with many travelers, and Japan becoming very popular, ideas are popping up… Hm. It is a real dilemma now, with our environmental challenges, not to travel so much with airplanes, on the other hand being adventurous and really love to travel..

Anyway, Happy New Year and thank you for all your shared inspiration this past year!

So here are some pictures! You can see the lamps, that were not installed in your last pictures – and the rhododendron is blooming outside in the June pictures, beautiful when they reflect in the water. Unfortunately we have had no snow this winter so far, so no real wither pictures.. Since you are an architect, I attached some pictures of the room itself too. Look at the reflections from the tree outside on the wood panel behind the ofuro in the early morning light! (aspen wood). (Should you want to use some of the pictures, you are welcome of course:)

Remember, if you ever come to Norway, you would be most welcome to visit, and look for yourself:)

Warm greetings,
H.

custom height kadomaru

Trying to get something close to 34 inches all over- L 34 or so and W 34 and a deeper than what is shown in your homepage. Maybe 32 in. Price? and also can bath fizz bombs be added to this wood?

Thank you for your interest in our japanese bathtubs!

From your description, I guess you are consideting our kadomaru tub.
-> “kadomaru-S” nostalgic hottub 850×630

In this case, the length of the planks (to be mounted side by side like in a barrel are pre-cut (final height = 740mm = 29″).

For this reason, we cannot simply extend the height.

We have the option of cutting custom material for a taller kadomaru but this would increase the cost in a higher proportion than the benefit you can enjoy

Another option consists of making a box-like custom tub with the height to match your requirements.

If you let me know the plan size you require, I can prepare a quotation.

You can refer to the standard tub sizes for reference ->-> ofuro price list

Or just go for the sizes you like (a custom size is not more expensive than an equivalent standard size)

◆fizz balls: I do not know the composition but I am afraid it would stain the wood.
You can use some neutral bath salts, anyway the whole concept of the hinoki bath is to enjoy the natural aroma without any addition.

We are looking forward to working with you and remain at your disposal for any question/problem.

With Best regards,


Bartok design Japan Co.
Manager: Iacopo Torrini

happy 2020!

Japan is nicknamed as the “land of the rising sun” but not everybody knows that New Zealand actually enters the new year one hour earlier than Japan.

Nevertheless, considering the landscape, the culture, the personality of the Japanese, I think that there could be no better nickname!

In Japan it is custom to spend the last evening of the year laid-back at home and get up early to climb on high ground to contemplate the first sunrise of the year.

This year I was in Shikoku, on Inoyama – also known as Sanuki Fuji for its beautiful perfect conic shape – near Zentsuji in Kagawa prefecture. The sky was clear and the angle was unobstructed. The sun is popping out as an egg yolk being tossed out from the belly of the mountain.
I can understand the sense of surprise and reverence that pre-blue-screen generations may have felt everyday contemplating the most important daily event on earth: the rise of the sun.

Even if it is only once a year, assisting to this extraordinary miracle always has a powerful effect of filling up my energy cells while grounding all the negative stress. I do not know if I can call it a mindfulness experience but I am a big fan of the “hatsuhinode”: the 1/1 sunrise watching.

Of course one could do it 365 times in a year (366 times in 2020!) but nothing compares to enjoy it from a place like this, with the mindset of january 1st, feeling the warmth of the first rays shaking the winter night.

I wanted to share with you this moment with the auspice that 2020 can be a shining year for you: bringing happiness, health, and prosperity!!

2020 is also the year of the Olympic games and I am sure you will feel closer to Japan than ever. If you want to celebrate the games with a bottle of sake, do not forget to dress it properly with our “kimono bottle covers”.
New colors, new package. Check the shop here-> https://bartokdesign.com/product/kimono-bottle-covers

meeting friends in NY

Last December 11-15 I was in NY and as I explained my plans in the last newsletter, I received many replies from 4 past and present clients.
I experimented this way of traveling to other countries last year and it is extremely rewarding!
I go abroad and you meet people with whom you corresponded, friends, people who share my path and interests.
I will never forget in summer 2018 when a Parisian architect who used Bartok design ofuros for 3 projects come to meet me in Dubai.
Or shortly after when a Japanese lover and former Tokyo resident hosted me in her house in Phoenix with a huge cactus in the garden.
Feeling at home and meeting friends everywhere you go is probably one of the sweetest experiences in life!

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the warm heart of Nippon!

As a corollary to my recent trip to New York, the visit to Nippon deserves a post of its own.
Before leaving Japan, I asked a friend who used to work for Asahi television in USA for an authentic japanese restaurant in NY.
He had no hesitation in recommending me “Nippon”, on E 52nd street, also known as the “unofficial cultural Japanese Consulate in NY”.

I kept the visit for the last day (Sunday) at lunch and when I arrived I had the shocking surprise to find the restaurant closed!
Somebody was moving inside and I decided to knock on the glass and at least say hello.
They were very kind to let me in and started talking. The restaurant was closed as they were having a tasting session by the Japan Airlines officials as – yes! the restaurant Nippon is providing the food consumed on the flights back to Japan.
Hearing that I am an architect, they showed me the private tatami room near the entrance, simple but striking, built with premium material by a japanese “toryo” master carpenter.

The restaurant was opened here in 1963 by Nobuyoshi Kuraoka and his wife. Since then, they have been frontrunners when it comes to delivering the authentic japanese culinary experience to the USA.
Mr. Kuroda purchased farmland in Canada to grow soba buckwheat, installed a machine to produce tofu in the kitchen and won a 5-year long legal battle to legalize the import and consumption of the potentially poisonous (but delicious) fugu blow-fish.

All celebrities you can think are regulars here: from baseball Hideo Matsui to Bloomberg the Major. From Japan`s prime minister Shinzo Abe to tennis champion Novak Djokovic. Mr. Kuroda is also famous for having supported many athletes and golf champions who were struggling at the beginning of their careers. Too good to be true?

If it sounds like a plot for the next superman`s movie, well it is not.
Mr. Kuroda and his wife left this World in 2018 but their outstanding successes are a shining example of what a man can do when he has motivation and clear vision.

Now the Restaurant is in the capable hands of the general manager Yasuhiro Makoshi, his wife and the chef Akira Azuma, for 40 years behind the counter.

But the story does not end here. While the restaurant was closed, the manager and his wife offered me to sit on the bench in the waiting area and served me a “small snack” – service from the chef. What come out from the kitchen was a delicious soba noodles salad with wagyu thin sliced beef. I really felt like the prodigal son returning home without notice and finding the benevolent mom and dad happy to feed me with what was in the house.
This confirms that the generosity, sense of hospitality and warm heart planted by Kuraoka did not depart with them but are now part of the DNA of Nippon.

On a side story, with so many celebrities enjoying the delicious cuisine of Nippon, I suggested that if Donald Trump ate this soul food, chances were that the curse would break and Donald would turn into a nice guy…
On the other hand, I had the feeling that he would not be welcome here.
Sorry, Donald…

Anybody with a good idea? Maybe a take out?

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