Thursday, 28 November 2019


An aspect of modern life I find intriguing and, in its own way, quite thrilling, is purchasing things from far away in the world.

I love when they are sent tracked, and I can follow their progress across land and sea or through the air, see the post office where they were first sent on their journey, watch them travel from place to place, pass through customs, gradually advancing in my direction. 

There are some couriers who offer really detailed tracking of their progress, so that you can follow on the map of your own local area the progress of the delivery van round the town — where he is and how many stops he still has to make. Eventually yours is the very next one, and you can look out of the window and see him driving along the road to find you.

On the 11th of this month I placed an order for a Sori Yanagi kettle.

This is Sori Yanagi:

I have linkified the picture so you can read about his work.

He is known for the elegant simplicity of form in his design of household implements and objects.

His Butterfly Stool is famous:

So is his Elephant Stool:

His kitchen utensils are lovely:

His stainless steel bowls and strainers are so pleasing:

He died in 2011, so there will be no new Sori Yanagi designs in this world ever again. But in Japan, his beautiful work has been enshrined as classic household pieces, still continuing to be made.

In Niigata, there is a factory where they make his lovely kettles.

And one of Sori Yanagi's kettles is on its way to me in England.

To save money on postage, there is no tracking provided with the parcel, but I have been sent a photo:

The title of the photo is "写真". I looked that up. It means "photo".

I placed my order on November 11th, and the kettle was dispatched from Japan on the 15th. 

They sent me a polite message explaining that customs takes ages to clear (yes, indeed) and I should expect it to take 2-5 weeks to reach me — most probably 3 weeks.

They suggest that if hasn't arrived after 3 weeks I should check with the sorting office, to make sure it doesn't get stuck on a shelf — and sent back to Japan! 

I will.

My kettle has been travelling across the world for two and a half weeks. Soon it will be here. And I love the idea of an ordinary kitchen thing we use every day having been designed by a Japanese man of consummate artistry, who was with us for a while and is now gone into the world of light leaving only his work behind — like a fragrance or a smile.

Got it!! Perfect.


GerriHultgren said...

What a beautiful way of looking at an item...I have been fascinated with japanese minimalist living...the beauty of simplicity,elegant design and natural colors,so much so that I started to donate loads and loads of "stuff" to charity shops. I just turned 64 and plan to reduce 80 percent of my possessions by the time I turn 65 . I just can't be bothered anymore and need to live lightly on this earth for as long as I still have here in the realm. Your posts are an inspiration to me and even though I don't always comment, please know that you speak to my heart in every one of them.
Sending love and light on this Thanksgiving day!

Pen Wilcock said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Gerri — waving to you!

That thing you said — "I just can't be bothered anymore and need to live lightly on this earth" — seems to be what resounds like a bell through the women of our age group. Just about every woman in her 60s that I meet is saying the same thing, me included.

Simplicity began as an ideal or aspiration for me, but has ended up being a visceral necessity. I can hardly even be bothered to cook. I can't be bothered to argue. The North Star of the age I am now is peace — for myself, my household and the whole world. It's not that I've become lazy exactly (though I probably am), but that I feel a consuming need for quietness, stillness and space. You know that Japanese word "Ma", that means "the space around things allowing them to be beautiful"? That's what I love.

Jenna said...

While you wait, Pen, you might enjoy this. 76-Year-Old Lady Yoshiko Jinzenji Spent 8 Years Building Her Own House with a 400m² kitchen (Turn your CC on.)

Pen Wilcock said...

Ooh — thank you — I'll enjoy looking at that. And my kettle arrived today and is beautiful!