new and Upcoming essays
The author left mammoth city Tokyo to settle down in a countryside town. Now he travels back by VR. Not just to Tokyo, though, but to boundless real and imagined worlds.
the rich taste of the tajimi cuisine
Miso is the secret to the sauce.
After almost three decades in Tokyo, an old Japan hand settle down in countryside town Tajimi. It turned out to be a good move.
The patrons of Mino ware pottery not only appreciated the tea bowls in themselves, but perhaps even more so as useful pieces in a political chess game.
Hans is drawn into a stage performance and ends up in a place he didn't expect.
"I may not be around for the next year's festival," said the old man. "But you are here now," said I, "and so am I. Let's toast to that!" "Sure!", he said, and smiled.
The story of Mino ware has more drama, political intrigue, blood and death, and obsession that you would ever think possible. In this first part of my series on pottery in Mino and Tajimi, we will explore how this culture of aesthetic perfection and political power play came into being.
fine pottery for the patrons
The Tajimi local pub Yaburegasa (The Broken Umbrella) is an immensely popular, rustic izakaya where you get friendly with people after a few cups of excellent Gifu produced sake. Drinks are served in fine Mino ware flasks and cups, collected by the jovial mama-san that runs the place.
In this story the author unwittingly finds out about what will happen this year by doing his duties at a local shrine. Article in two parts (1 and 2).
The world of Sake in Tajimi (PaRT 2)
Meet Mr. Mr. Tetsuji Mizuno, who sat down to talk with us about his brewery and a burning passion for dry Sake - Excellently dry Sake....
In the first installment about about Aoyama-sensei's life work - the recreation of the white shiro tenmoku teacups. This article introduce information largely unknown to the English speaking public. An in-depth story about the true origin of this form of pottery for the ceramics lover.
An overview of the main festivals and events in Tajimi during the year. Particularly handy for pottery enthusiasts.
learn to order a highball the way the locals do - A tono-ben crash course, Part 1
"Haa-booru choodaasu!". These single two words may be all you need to master to have a first-class ice-breaker ready for you visit to a local pub in Tajimi. In standard Japanese you would say "Haibooru kudasai", which translates to "A glass of Highball, please". That's all it takes to get started making friends here.
Hidetake Ando is a truly unique character in search for unique self-expression. He is inspired by the Mino ware masters of the Momoyama era, but he doesn't intend to stop there....
It takes courage and confidence to start a new ceramics company aiming for a new market. Three young ceramists it Tajimi made the leap.
Ikuhiko Shibata in Takiro, Tajimi city, does not shy from going on adventure, nor from having strong opinions.
Martha Ogasawara talks about her forty-five years in Tajimi, and the insights they have brought her. A must read for anybody interested in living in rural Japan.
There is a card game - karuta in Japanese - for learning Tono-ben by playing. The Tono dialect is very strong, even harsh according to some, and charming. Learning one or two phrases will let you surprise and delight any Japanese person. We have four in store for you in this multi-media article!
From tokyo to tajimi (part 3)
With the arrival of the 1600s Japanese pottery took a dramatic turn thanks to Furuta Oribe, a man obsessed with the aesthetics of tea ceremony utensils, and a warped sense of beauty. Like his master, he met a violent death, forced to take his own life in shame. Today both are viewed as geniuses.
Beginning with part 5 in this series, we will start looking into the future of ceramics in Tajimi. Mino ware is the tradition in the area, but ceramics in this town encompass virtually all aspects of pottery and porcelain as well as tiles production in Japan. We start we a very dynamic craftswoman - Yoshimi Tokuda
In Japan it is a luxury to have a whole tree for yourself when you picnic in the flower viewing season. Here is how to enjoy that luxury in Tajimi.
The culinary interested visitor can not come to Tajimi without a visit to one of its many eel restaurant - at least not without missing out on a royal treat. We interviewed one of the city's master eel cooks, Mr. Hiroyuki Murate, to learn about why, how and where to best enjoy this delicacy.
The second and last part of our article Aoyama-sensei's life work - Shiro Tenmoku. This article introduce information largely unknown to the English speaking public. Learn about how Aoyama-sensei has begun writing a new chapter in the history of Japanese pottery.
We visited a renowned kiln in the world of Mino ware — the Kobe-gama — to learn about Persian lusterware and its revival here at the old kiln in Tajimi.
We bring you a full featured story on this centuries old sweet - a treasured part of our local cuisine. Video tutorials, the recipe, and a long form essay in e-book form.
Much can be learned for a deep dive into an Edo era recipe. Not only about food habits, but about the reality of life long ago in a broader context.
Tajimi Tourism Associations offers over 70 newly designed tours and experiences to open up the world of ceramics to both Japanese and foreign visitors in the autumn and early winter of 2019. Five of the tours are available in English. Read more about them in this article.
Meet Tomonari Kato, the Gold Prize winner in the International Ceramics Competition 2017. Learn about the upcoming International Ceramics Festival in the fall of 2020 and all the things you can see and do in Tajimi and other parts of Gifu.
Tajimi city has just produced a new PR-film - "A Day in Tajimi" that is gaining popularity on YouTube. We have a massive international ceramics festival in autumn this year. What else will you find when you visit?
When the medieval master potter Kato Kagemitsu received a licence to build a kiln in Mino, he gained recognition that would last until this day and safeguard the livelihood for following generations. Today his spirit is close to the hearts of the people of Tajimi.
Fumi-chan, a seemingly ordinary hairdresser in Takata, in the outskirts of Tajimi, became a hit overnight on YouTube when she introduced the world to Tono-ben, the local dialect in our city.
The blooming of the plum and peach trees has already passed. The cherry trees are still thinking about it. Now is the time to pay a visit to the woods here in the Tono area, where the wild Shidekobushi sit in their natural habitat.
This time we are walking through history, all the way from the 7th century to present day. That is how long the history of the roads in Tajimi and Mino Province is. The first part of the historic walks in central Tajimi takes us around the area north of Toki River.
walk in tajimi - part 07
This time we are visiting an area that is quite typical of what the Japanese call a shoutengai or "shopping street" - a cluster of shops in close proximity along and around a street - in our case the Ginza Doori. While the area may look deserted in large parts, it has some hidden treasures, and once year it comes back to life again!
One day in December 2022, I went up a hill near my house in Onada-cho, Tajimi City, to talk with potter Soukei Aoyama. While sitting in the sun next to the kiln that Aoyama had built, I listened to his many stories. He reproduced a Muromachi period (1336–1573) "Shiro tenmoku" (white tenmoku) tea bowl and was certified as an intangible cultural property holder by Tajimi City in 2018. To return to the origins of this ceramic tradition, he opened his own kiln, modelled after the kilns of the Muromachi period when Shiro-tenmoku was made.
From the Edo era to the industrial age ceramics production developed in Mino from fine handicraft to mass produced products. Two potters make a discovery that connects the area back to the medieval age again. The two were up late one night, admiring Momoyama era pottery, when they noticed something odd on the inside of the takadai (foot) of a Momoyama era Shino ware tea bowl...
This root is a symbol for long life and health because of its extreme viscosity and refusal to give in to the hard ground in which it grows. And it is super nutritious too! See the video on how to prepare and enjoy it!
the world of sake in tajimi (Part 1)
The world of sake, the Japanese rice wine, extends beyond just what you can drink. In this VR photo essay I will take you to a few such experiences that take place every year
Aoyama-sensei, an experimental archaeological potter, takes us on a journey back to the beginnings of the wobbly lines of Mino ware. It turns out they were mere ripples on the water from older times. Ripples that once traveled through my own little sleepy village.
Take a mini-tour of some of the best ceramic museums in Tajimi! This article is stuffed full of visual material - 360 VR, video, still shots and more. Take a tour from the comfort of your home and decide if you would come and explore yourself.
Some of our best visuals from our 2018 essays. We hope they will inspire you to start your travel adventure in Japan in Tajimi.
A video interview with five foreign students about their experience at the Ho-Ca pottery workshop in Tajimi. Also read our interview with pottery master Shibata who instruct foreign students without knowing more than a few world of English.
Today part of Tajimi City, Kasahara transformed from rice bowl production area to a virtual tile production kingdom, reaching its height in the early 1990s. Today tourists have begun flocking to its radically design Mosaic Tile Museum, which is at the centre of an effort to reinvigorate this once thriving community.
the kasahara tile princesses
A group of female volunteers in Kasahara are working to beautify their town in a unique way - by installing beautiful mosaic tiles on garbage collection points. As a larger goal they hope to revive the local tile industry.
Tajimi Kuninaga, who took his name after our city, took part in an attempted coup d'etat against the ruling samurai junta. We retell the story for the first time for an English speaking audience.
Discover Tajimi is entering Manga territory this season with a story set in Tajimi. The books are downloadable for free. Moreover, we are also producing six scenes in VR, which you will be able watch on YouTube. We are turning flat pictures into 3d, opening a new dimension of the medium. Read our introductory article here.
Discover hidden treasures in Tajimi by foot! These articles will teach you how to get around and find places no normal tourist would discover. If you are interested in pottery, walking, photography, and nice cafés and places to eat, these self-guided tours will be a great resource for you.
This time we'll take you on a tour to a sacred waterfall. You will discover some nice places to eat and drink along the way.
This walking tour will take you along the Nagase Street - the old shopping street in Tajimi - to explore nice places to drop in as well as stories and images from days past.
Ichinokura village is a treat for the pottery enthusiast. This is the first instalment of two of our walking courses in this village. There are many historic kilns and many famous ceramic artists working in the area. And you can find little surprises, such as the tiled ceiling in the video here above.
In our final instalment in the Walking series we take you to places both famous and unknown in Ichinokura village - because why would you always go where everybody else is going?