My latest explorations revolve around a trio of books that I purchased delving into the art of the tea ceremony in Japan and the concept of life over there in general. One particular book that has gripped me over the past few days was written by Junichiro Tanizaki titled ‘in praise of shadows’, it’s actually quite a short publication but I was entranced all the way through as he mentioned architecture, food, lacquerware and an array of Japanese items. What was quite stirring for me was his mention of the western culture creeping into Japan and its effect on the mentalities of the individuals that live there, also the products and objects they produce, it’s something you don’t think about all that often and was definitely thought provoking. It also made me refer back to the concept of ‘wabi-sabi’ and the idea that things can be beautiful without being perfect or complete, an object, in a more literal sense, can be unconventional, modest, humble, and stripped back to its bare necessities.
In the spirit of objects with sensational simplicity and incredible charm I thought it would make sense to find some imagery to suit this ideology and theme, so when I came across the H Works store in Tokyo I knew it was worth sharing. They’ve got a dedicated page showcasing the interior of their shop at different stages of the year, this dates all the way back to early 2004, so as you can imagine lots of inspiring photography. What started out as a small quest ended up being a massive one since they’ve also got separate pages documenting a lot of the different craftsman and their studio spaces where they create, for someone like me this is particularly great and isn’t something seen on the web a lot. I can’t be too sure on the origins of this shop and how it all started, maybe someone with better language skills than me can help me out, but they stock a fascinating array of objects made with such ingenuity and purpose, with functionality nearly always on their mind. It’s a complex world we live in but when people make pieces like this there’s a definite sense of being and it’s almost like you wouldn’t have it any other way. Enjoy this imagery below and head over to the website where you’ll find plenty more to gander.