Japanese Ceramics from Neko Box
I’ve been intrigued by Japanese culture ever since I was in middle school, and of course, it all started with anime [like it did for most people I know]. As I casually learned more about the country, its history, and its culture from the media, I couldn’t help but admire certain things about Japanese mentality. Japanese society is very modern and future-driven, but at the same time it’s rooted in centuries-old traditions that are still observed today. There aren’t a lot of developed countries left in the world that go to such great lengths to preserve their unique culture.
A few weeks ago I was in the mood to treat myself to something unique and different, but didn’t quite know what I wanted. That’s when I stumbled upon Neko Box, an online store from Japan that sells curated monthly boxes, gift bundles, stationery, ceramics, one of a kind vintage items, and assorted home goods from Japan. I noticed a couple Japan-inspired subscription boxes before, but frankly to me they looked like they were filled with dollar store items that were being sold with a huge markup. Nothing wrong with dollar stores, but I wouldn’t want to pay 5x-10x more for items that are normally very inexpensive.
After browsing the Neko Box Shop, I decided to buy Sakura Matcha Bowl by Saikai Toki, Hasamiyaki Red Chrysanthemum Bowl, and Momoyama Blossom Red Cup.
Items arrive in a sturdy box, each individually bubble wrapped and securely nestled in paper strips. There was very little chance of anything getting damaged.
The bowls are roughly the same size, but the Cyrysanthemum one is taller.
Putting everything to use: soup with some rice, a sunny side up egg yolk, and a cup of green tea. This is not a typical meal for me anymore, because I’ve been eating more plant based foods, but I still eat animal products 1-2 times a week.
Hasamiyaki Red Chrysanthemum Bowl fits about one full cup of soup.
Sakura Matcha Bowl by Saikai Toki ($21.99) was originally included in Matcha Tea Box from August 2017, and it immediately caught my eye when I saw it on the website. Lately I’ve been drinking a lot of matcha, so having a nice bowl for sipping one of my favorite drinks will make the experience even more pleasant. It can also be used for rice and desserts. The bowl is made with traditional Hasami-yaki porcelain from Nagasaki Prefecture, a region with a 400 year history of producing traditional Japanese ceramics. Hasami porcelain was originally made for everyday use of common people, and eventually gained worldwide popularity. The bowl has a textured feel with a certain rustic charm to it, and I just love looking at it when I drink matcha or eat my rice!
Hasamiyaki Red Chrysanthemum Bowl ($14.99) – Even though both of my bowls are made with Hasami-yaki porcelain, this one feels so much lighter, almost as if it was made of paper mache. It features a hand-painted chrysanthemum design, and the bowl even has a little round base to stand on, as if it were a stem of the flower. This bowl is perfect for soups, rice, oatmeal, and pretty much everything else that you’d eat out of a bowl.
Momoyama Blossom Red Cup ($15.99) – I knew I wanted a cute little cup for green tea, and this one is exactly what I had in mind. I was looking for something small and earthy-toned that would go with the two bowls I was going to buy. I think this cup complements them well! The cup was hand-crafted by an artisan in the city of Arita, famous for its pottery. I have small hands, and most cups end up too big for me, but this size is perfect. I also love the way it distributes heat: once filled with a hot beverage, the cup is like a hand warmer. It feels very comforting to hold!
Hasamiyaki Red Chrysanthemum Bowl can be used for soup, dessert, noodles, rice, and any other side dishes.
Momoyama Blossom Red Cup fits just the right amount of tea, so I can sip it slowly before it gets cold. And it feels so nice to touch when I hold the cup with both hands!
Getting healthy, fit, and losing a few pounds was probably my biggest motivator when I bought these. I know I can be perfectly satisfied with small portions, the problem is I am not that great at self-control. I would always eat ‘just one more bite’ when I am already full. Smaller dishes mean I would have to get up more often for seconds, and so far it’s working, because I am more aware of how much I eat now. Ever since I started eating out of these bowls, I never feel stuffed after meals anymore, which I think is a good progress.
When it comes to dishes, I usually splurge only on special occasion items, like a set of China porcelain that we use during the holidays. That’s why it’s nice to finally have a few durable, understated, high quality pieces for everyday use that aren’t from IKEA. Each of these items feels like it was crafted with care. I especially love the little details that are not immediately obvious, such as the pink matte petals on the glaze of the cup or the tiny flower at the bottom of the matcha bowl. If this is a good indication of the products curated by Neko Box, then I will definitely be back for more!
Do you like pottery? Are there any dishes that hold a special meaning to you? Let me know in the comments below!