Friday, July 15, 2016

(1111) A small shop

It had sparked my interest since the first time I came to Japan -first because it doesn't exactly blend with the area (it's in Eastern Ginza, diagonally across the Kabukiza, the Kabuki theater and almost all buildings around it are super-modern) and because it specializes in the only object I'm interested enough to collect: the traditional towels called "tenugui" (手ぬぐい/手拭い) about which I wrote something in Greecejapan three years ago. Its name is "O-onoya"(大野屋). 

One of the windows with a wide variety of tenugui featuring crests of Kabuki actors -to be expected considering the neighborhood. 

To save customers from unfolding the tenugui to see their designs, there is of course a full catalogue. 

Even more tenugui. 

Sukeroku, from the Kabuki play with the same name and next to it the kamidana, ubiquitous in old shops -having been founded in the first year of Meiji (1868) "O-onoya" is indeed quite old. 

Some more framed tenugui -Fuji and some very famous ukiyo-e.

"O-onoya's" register -on the wall, bolts of cloth for order-made tenugui. Incidentally, the shop started as a tabi (special socks worn with kimono) specialist but now tenugui are 90% of the merchandise. 

And like in all Japanese shops, particular attention is being paid to wrapping.

Of course it's a matter of personal taste but I believe the search for these (usually small) shops is one of the best things one can do in Tokyo. Besides being fun, it's a great way to learn the history and the culture not only of each area but of the whole country as well. 

(For a bigger version of these pictures both in color and black and white, check my "Japan Arekore" set on Flickr)

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