Born from a collaboration between heritage shoemaker Clarks and Japanese streetwear brand Neighborhood, this stylish take on the Desert Trek silhouette features a contrasting “shark tooth” print and a co-branded heel patch. A Vibram outsole contributes ruggedness to the boot, but the suede exterior steers it toward a more sophisticated look.
The Iwachu workshop has been hand-crafting cast iron since 1902, and their team of artisans also does an incredible job updating its collections to include more contemporary pieces—all while remaining true to their traditional processes. The Morioka-based makers turned a typical cast iron teapot into a sculptural work with distinct personality and ultra-functional features. Plus, the deep blue hue, because of the texture of the material, appears speckled in the right light.
Billed as the world’s smallest record player, this Ghostly edition Stokyo Record Runner laps the grooves of 33 1⁄3 rpm records, amplifying sound out of its internal speaker. The underside of the van bears a stylus and a cartridge system, which picks up the songs encoded below. It’s self-propelling for up to 90 minutes of playtime, courtesy of two AAA batteries. Though this playful, pocket-sized record player is good looking, it’s not recommended for your best records or overuse, as unexpected bumps could cause scratches.
Handmade in Japan by a master milliner that studied hat-making under legendary designer Jean Barthet, this natural-hued wool cap comes equipped with antimicrobial features and a unique softness—afforded by a process that uses untreated material exclusively. The resulting fit is looser and more unstructured but far more comfortable. FEIT worked closely with the milliner through each step of the process.
A family recipe, The Original Japanese Barbecue Sauce was developed by Justin Gill and his bachan (aka granny) Judy Yokoyama. This bbq sauce is unlike North American iterations: it’s less viscous, less sweet and has a bold flavor with just the right amount of umami. Additionally, it’s made with simple ingredients (including non-GMO soy sauce, cane sugar, organic garlic, ginger and green onion) rather than filler oils and preservatives. Their website also offers plenty of recipes—from pan-fried salmon with soba to chicken wings.
For travelers and coffee lovers, these Canyon Coffee single-serving instant coffee packs can save the day. To concoct the powder within, the team at Canyon teamed up with Swift Cup to transform their freshly roasted coffee into an instant form. The brand’s founders, Ally Walsh and Casey Wojtalewicz, chose coffee beans from Celinga, Ethiopia. Paired with a Japanese-made travel tumbler by Kinto, this kit will keep those on the move conveniently caffeinated, simply by adding the sachet to eight ounces of hot water.
Made from indigo-dyed cotton and adorned with a contrasting red sashiko stitch, Best Made Company’s ball cap fuses traditional Japanese pattern work with Americana. Bolstered by its all-over embroidery, the hat is sturdy and durable. It can also be adjusted using a vegetable-tanned leather back strap.
From our deep respect and adoration of Japanese culture, we drew the word “omakase” (meaning “expert’s choice”) in 2016 to name our annual collection of collaboratively produced, limited edition and early release products we offer readers. This year’s collection of gifts is crafted entirely in collaboration with Japanese artisans. Every design object we’ve developed has function, but to decipher its untold value requires history lessons. With products thoughtfully made by Asahiyaki (now led by a talented 16th generation ceramist), Chi Chi, Grisal, KIUN, Taro Tabuchi, Hajime Shoji, Zillion and others, this is an exclusive and high-quality gift for any Japanophile or lover of textile, design and craftsmanship.
Designed in Japan, this kimono comes features a traditional, hip-length silhouette, but is extra durable and warm thanks to its 100% polyester POLARTEC® 300 make-up. The kimono—because of the technology at play in the fabric—regulates the interior temperature to suit the wearer’s current needs, thus preventing overheating or sudden chills. Altogether it’s a stylish and functional garment that can be worn in the city, or even on a camping trip.
Made by Nagatani-en and designed by Iga Mono, the “Mushi Nabe” steamer lets chefs—at home or in a professional kitchen—cook a variety of dishes with precision and without unruly oils or fat-heavy butter. With holes in the lid to let steam escape, the removable ceramic tray within can hold meats or vegetables above the boiling water below it. As a result of being cooked by steam, juiciness and brightness is afforded without the heaviness of frying. It is six inches deep and 11.5 inches wide, and weighs nearly nine pounds. The manufacturer notes that it is gas-burner safe, but not suited for induction or electric burners, microwaves, or dishwashers.
Made in Japan from 100% cotton, Pure Blue Japan’s sturdy but cozy knit hoodie has been washed once. In a rich indigo, the sweater is adorned with thread details and features a button neck closure, making it a sophisticated take on the humble hoodie. Made entirely in Japan, it has been crafted with a focus on Japanese craftsmanship—from dyeing to distressing.
Made in Japan, Anonymous Ism’s crew socks are unevenly dyed in either indigo or gold colorways. Constructed from a heavy cotton blend, they feature a structured heel and toe for extra durability. While the rib-knit and shape of these socks are classic, the marbled, tie-dye effect sets them apart.
This chunky navy 100% wool sweater from Japanese luxury brand Sacai features a boxy shape that’s slightly cropped, and is accented by contrasting gray stripes and the brand’s name knitted in a mirror image across the back. The funnel neck folds down when unbuttoned or fits like a turtleneck when buttoned up, to protect from the cold wind. Functional and cozy, it’s still a sophisticated take on the classic winter sweater.
Comprised of 24 pages full of photographs, Benjie Escobar’s Vamos a Japan! spotlights scenes the creative captured during trips there (specifically Tokyo and Kyoto) in over the past few years. Based in LA, Escobar is a designer by trade, and his photographs are evidence of his broad skills and artistic talent. This first edition of the zine is printed by Buenas Vibras DC.
In Japanese households it’s customary to remove your shoes upon entering the home. Thus comfortable and durable house slippers are a necessary accessory. SUBU, a Tokyo brand making such slippers, also makes a packable iteration. With a cushioned sole and a poly fill, they’ll keep your feet comfortable and warm. Available in sizes 5.5 to 12, they’re also available in three colors: gloss black, foil silver and neon yellow.
Unlike typical gift boxes, Kokoro Care Packages puts the emphasis on producers—oftentimes generational, hard-to-find ones. Their Seasonal Delights box (which can be bought as a one-time gift or as a quarterly delivery) comes with over seven all-natural Japanese treats, ranging from noodles and sauces to seasonings and snacks. Each comes with its own translated directions for preparation and taste profile, and a little information about the producer. Kokoro prides themselves on picking ingredients for their quality, thus oftentimes including limited production items that rarely make it beyond the bounds of the archipelago nation.