Bring home a piece of the journey we have just concluded, find an object that represents and remember a country, so as not to forget the happy moments spent when everyday life begins to loom again: this is the difficult part in choosing the right souvenir. What to bring then from Japan? In addition to fabulous snacks, magnets, some kawaii objects, a piece of vintage clothing, nothing in my opinion contains Japan as the purchase of a tenugui. The tenugui is a piece of very light and soft cotton gauze that over the centuries has represented the multi-purpose object par excellence in times when it was necessary to make a virtue of necessity: towel in onsen, if necessary kitchen towel for cleaning, as comfortable as placemats for lunch, runners for a small table (they are up to 90 cm long), can be taken with them to the beach or during a picnic. Object very popular and functional but also colorful, so that more and more often the tenugui are hung as paintings or used to wrap a small present. The origin of this object dates back to before 1000 BC where the tenugus were used during Buddhist ceremonies and religious rituals, it was made of silk and was therefore a rare and expensive object. With the passing of time, thanks to the importation and production of new, cheaper fabrics, it entered the popular culture and had its golden age between the 1600s and the 1800s (it was Edo) becoming an object of common use in the public baths or fitting into traditional clothing such as a belt, scarf or head bandana by kabuki theater actors. I found the most beautiful tenuguis in Tokyo, one day by chance, in Aki-Oka 2k56, a modern space with an antique flavor, below the train tracks between the stations of Akihabara and Okachimachi where it is possible to discover ancient Japanese craftsmanship and modern, made of traditional wisdom and new techniques. Right here is Nijiyura, a neat little shop made of light colors and cottons that flutter everywhere, making us immerse ourselves in a pastel dream. The company was born in Osaka, and uses ancient traditional dyeing techniques dating back to the Meiji era, but it also combines aspects and more contemporary styles so that everyone can find his tenugui, or the right gift for the loved one. Within the corner it is also possible to attend, at specific times and days, to a demonstration of how complex and fascinating the art of dyeing these objects is, how much time and skill it takes to arrive at a beautiful and lasting result. Now the tenugui, after a period of crisis in the last century, has come back into vogue as a pop object thanks to the sustainability it represents as it is a versatile object, washable and reusable in many forms, personalizes the house and helps us to be more careful and aware of the Planet by avoiding the consumption of paperwork and disposable objects. Moreover it is appreciated with the passage of time as it becomes softer in contact with the skin and after a few washing takes on that slightly vintage shade that many of us have seen in anime and movies with a Japanese setting. Is there anything more Japanese than a unique and long-lasting, useful object that combines aesthetic and practical aspects?
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