Pottery, Food

Japanese 乙(OTSU) Culture with pottery

Background

Do you know Minoyaki? Probably most people don’t know. Minoyaki is one of the types of Japanese pottery. And my hometown, Toki City, where I was born and raised, has the highest production volume of Minoyaki in Japan. Frankly, thought I love my hometown, which is such a pottery town, but I am embarrassed that I didn’t know the valuable of pottery when I grew up.

Once I realized the goodness, the way I enjoy food through the pottery spread. There is a food culture in Japan that is not just about eating. Unfortunately, however, the existence of Minoyaki has not yet spread throughout the world. Therefore, I hope to be able to convey the splendor of Minoyaki to everyone in this post. I’m going to post about Minoyaki several times.

All about Minoyaki

The hard definition of Minoyaki is simply to skip and extract only the important elements. So I will leave you quick and dirty knowledge about Minoyaki. It refers to all pottery produced in the Mino region of Gifu prefecture, Japan. In other words, since it is not the name of a single technology, there is no technology that has been inherited in the tradition. You might think of it, but any pottery made from porcelain soil that can be taken in the Mino region can be called Minoyaki. If anything, it is right. However, the freedom is the maximum feature.

There are various types of pottery in Japan, each of which has a variety of soil types, temperatures for baking, and own methodology. And each pottery has a formality and must adhere to its tradition. Otherwise, the tradition will break down. In that respect, Minoyaki is making use of its freedom, making it possible to create a rather unusual design. Therefore, many potters in the Mino region perform art activities there. The Tajimi Institute of Design, the city next to Toki City, is a case in point, and people around the world are studying here.

多治見市陶磁器意匠研究所
多治見市陶磁器意匠研究所は、「やきもの」の新たな未来を開いて行くために、人財育成を中心に、海外とつながり、デザインを通して「やきもの」の魅力を発信しています。

The origin of Minoyaki is 1300 years ago, and its prosperity era back to the 16th century, but the Sen No rikyuu in this era was deeply engaged in the pursuit of all kinds of beauty. Under his instruction, innovative potteries were produced one after another. Minoyaki produced here is famous for "Oribe", "Shino", and "Setokuro (drawer black)" at the present, and is still a popular brand among Minoyaki. And I still think that the spirit of creating innovative works is still there.

What is 乙 (Otsu)?

What is 乙(Otsu) that Rikyu had the mindset? The beauty that appeals to the human senses, not just the appearance, is generally expressed as 乙. For example, imagine when you show your visitors the garden and flowers they are proud of. When there is a beautiful and gorgeous flower on one side, the guests will be impressed. But what if there were no flowers in the garden and only one flower in a small room? Wouldn’t it be more beautiful and great presence rather than the glittering flower gardens that spread out in front of you? The 乙 expresses such a feeling that it is not flashy and gently permeates the mind.

It is said from overseas that Japanese people are often quiet, don’t say too much, or don’t say things clearly and directly. Therefore, foreign people cannot imagine what Japanese people are thinking because of such a character. It might be, however, that he/she tries to convey the atmosphere not to mention with the 乙 mindset to you. “Unless telling me that directly, I cannot understand what you want!”, you might suppose that. Please take a closer look at the minds of Japanese people. The truth might be inside 乙.

How to enjoy pottery and food

I gave short and sweet background about Minoyaki and 乙 culture. Let’s talk a little more about Japanese pottery and food. I live in Germany now, and there are lots of Japanese food in the area where I live. Fortunately, there are many popular restaurants where many foreigners are lining up to eat. I suppose Japanese food is delicious. You can be happy if you eat Sushi, Ramen or Yakiniku.

However!!! Japanese food culture is not just about food itself but also enjoy watching! Watching food before eating is a part of the food. For instance, take a look following image.

Unique pottery

Can you imagin how to use it? This is a kind of dishes, although the shape is unique. Further more, how to put food on?

The sample for putting food on

If you think about what the foods on the dish are less, that’s no meaning. The less food itself is beautiful. You should take a food carefully with your all sense you have. The next tip below displays foods inside a teapot. The first impression of the teapot is just tea. You might think Japanese tea is served in front of you. This kind of foods serves you soup and drink it as it is tea, while you also eat foods inside the teapot. Feel more relaxed with the shape of teapot, don’t you?

Conclusion

Meals can be enjoyed for a lifetime. I think that everyday life will be enhanced a little by changing the plate that you usually use to a little 乙 pottery. How do you like to enjoy eating foods with watching it in the same meal? It will be double the fun!