Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Gifts from Japan

When our Japanese exchange students visited Sebastopol last month, the official delegation brought four gifts to our city. I photographed them this morning to share them here before they go to City Hall for display there.

The Japanese have a special fondness for wrapping things, and each of the gifts came in elegant wooden boxes so special that I thought I should photograph some of them, too.

When I was in Japan in 2004, we visited the town of Arita, famous for its ceramics. I can remember looking at the fine work and marveling at how expensive it all was. I have no way of guessing the value of these gifts, other than to say they are very precious, indeed. Our sister city in Japan, Takeo City, has been most generous!

The first gift is this hand painted vase.

This box has a front panel that slides up to open.

The exquisite detail in this is beyond words.

It's the year of the ox, so here's a hand painted tile for 2009.

A hand-painted plate.


Delwyn said...

How wonderful Dan.
They are all exquisite. I love the vase with the bird. And imagine them lugging all those boxes in the plane with them...

The Japanese are master craftsmen and also master gift givers and gift wrapping. They have turned the wrapping into an art form. I adore the ways that they present things, containers and boxes and bags for every purpose. I have collected a number of bags myself and find them useful for camera and ipod accessories etc when travelling.

My daughter says that etiquette requires you to bring a gift back for friends and colleagues from wherever you go eg. for a weekend in Kyoto you must return with the special Kyoto cakes or artworks. That's why the train stations abound with gift shops.

Sarah Lulu said...

Ohhh so lovely Dan. I especially like the hand painted vase AND the boxes. ADORE the boxes!

Dan Gurney said...


The Japanese are masters at gift giving, and yes, gift wrapping. The amount of wrapping they do is simply amazing, and yet, somehow they manage to recycle the majority of it. (They live on an island, after all, and have to keep land fill down to a minimum.) These talents, sadly, have eluded me for the most part.