From elegant tableware to timeless pottery, there's something fresh and irresistible about these products.
Home Shopping: Handmade Japanese homeware at Yaginoyama
Yaginoyama is Japanese for "mountain of goats". It's also the name of a small mail-order shop set up by an entrepreneurial young couple of design addicts, Liam and Kay. He's British, she's Japanese. They met at Edinburgh University in Scotland but are now based in Tokyo, where they spend their days sourcing beautiful Japanese homewares, often handmade by artisans.
They're both in their early twenties and make it all sound so easy. They put together their website themselves, with little but "a camera, some paper for doodling on, regular cups of tea and the companionship of a dog". They don't explain their mysterious company name, but say that we can choose whether yaginoyama means "a mountain on which goats reside" or "a mountain made out of goats". I prefer the latter.
Shop here for elegant Japanese tableware by craftsmen such as Ryuma Matsubara, who works with his wife in Tokoname, a city well known for its long tradition of pottery. Matsubara collects rich clay from construction sites, then blends it with different sands. The results are beautiful and impressive, timelessly chic and pleasingly rustic.
Have a look, too, at the Sora Pelican teapots by Izumi Fukawa, who uses a wood-fired kiln to give her glazes an interesting irregularity. Shaped like a pelican, this style of teapot is intended for brewing fine green tea. I like the uneven white design best, called Kohiki, Japanese for "sprinkled flour".
There's something irresistible about the range of colourful wooden Chigo plates. Made from solid maple, they look gorgeous stacked up.
Before you log off, make sure you check out the other stock: stationery, bags, tins of tea and quirky knitted brooches. Quite why you'd need a knitted "peanut person" remains a mystery. Like the web site's name, no explanation is given. But Yaginoyama has a refreshing "why not?" approach to design. And it's much more fun their way.