It was the first time in my life that I held a cup in my hand and immediately fell in love with it. The light sky blue color, the rough and smooth texture that my fingers fell into, and the taste of the saké while holding something so beautiful. I couldn’t put it down.
I first held Asato Ikeda’s ceramic cup at Den in Jimbocho, chef Zaiyu Hasegawa’s brilliant restaurant. I thought someday I would invest in some of Ikeda-san’s pieces for myself. Even took a picture of the cup (photo above) so that I could remember it. And then, a few months later, Ikeda-san and his works were on television. Once more my heartstrings were pulled and my motivation to bring his craftsmanship into our home became a priority.
I did some searching online in Japanese and quickly lost hope. What few sites that did come up with his pieces were all sold out. I then reached out to Kenshin Sato of Kenshin Utsuwa. Bob Tobin and Hitoshi Ohashi of the Tobin Ohashi Gallery first introduced me to Sato-san last spring. I went to one of his special events at Ginza Mitsukoshi and we exchanged business cards.
This summer, while at Den, chef Hasegawa told me that Kenshin Utsuwa sells many pieces that are used at his restaurant, including Ikeda-san’s. I follow Kenshin Utsuwa on Facebook and reached out to him in Japanese in December. I sent him the photo of the cup from Den and asked him if he could find me some pieces. Just last week I got the e-mail telling me that I could stop by his shop this week. It’s a beautiful shop that is worth visiting if you are in Shibuya or Omotesando as it is just between the two. Just call ahead as he closes the shop if does special events around the city.
Welcome home! My birthday present from me to me.
Two small guinomi and a tokkuri with a lip for pouring sake or shochu.
We christened the cups with Shichihonyari which we bought at our new favorite sake shop in town, Oboro Saketen in Shinbashi.
The owner of Oboro Saketen, Okuma-san, studied at university for two years in Minnesota and speaks English.
We love these nori cups for bite-size sushi that we picked up at Tsukiji Market. A small celebration to welcome these pieces to our home. I am already looking forward to using these tomorrow. I have enjoyed the journey. Holding something and wanting it, thinking of someday owning a piece of Ikeda-san’s artwork, and the help of friends to help make my little dream come true.
Shibuya-ku, Shibuya 2-3-4
6 Comments Add yours
Those cups are beautiful! True pieces of art! Happy birthday:)
The cups are so beautiful. I have a weakness for Japanese ceramics. We will be visiting Tokyo next month and love sake so we will make it a point to visit Oboro Saketen. Can you tell me where those cute nori cups are sold?
I will do a post shortly on these nori cups. We do food tours in Tokyo. If you are interested I can send details on our tours.
I am looking forward to the nori cups post. This trip will be with a bunch of friends who are not as interested in food like my husband and I are. We do however try to visit Japan as often as we can afford so perhaps on the next trip we could consider your tours. Thank you for asking.
Thanks! I wish I had hundreds of these to share with friends. The sake does taste much better when it is served in something so beautiful.