Friday 26 April 2019

Making Ultra Expensive Japanese Tea Tins on a Budget

I came home from Japan recently, and one of the motivating factors for me to go there was after visiting Japan House in Kensington, London. It is a beautiful building right in the heart of upmarket London, the items inside are exquisite examples of Japanese products made at the highest standards and of course with a price tag to boot. I remember my eye being particularly fond of some Japanese Tea Tins. I picked one up and almost dropped it on the floor when I saw the price sticker on the bottom. I figured then that I would save that money and just go visit Japan myself and pick up a tin somewhere for a few bucks. It kinda worked out like that.

Here are some of the examples I saw in Japan House London

These ones I really liked but the price tag put me off, I noticed they were standard Tea tins and carefully decorated in hand made paper. Beautiful but out of my budget.
I remember buying a small semi-affordable bottle of room scent and on taking it to the counter, I struck up a conversation with two Japanese ladies who were handling purchases. One was young, one was old, and I spoke to the older lady about the beautiful tins but being shocked by the price, she gave me the dagger eyes which I would later on see a lot more of during my time in Tokyo a few months later. I usually become gung-ho once I can sense disapproval towards me, in people, I tend to take a 'what the hell' approach after this, and I smiled at her, and told her that I prefer Daiso anyway. The old lady walked away from me bitterly, I smiled, and the young lady giggled. It was then I struck up conversation with the young lady, and explained about my Daiso experiences in South East Asia, how it is much more unique than other dollar stores in the western world. She helped me to feel happy to go visit Japan right there.

And that was my story. I of course visited Japan for a while and enjoyed lots, disliked some. I guess it's like that all around the world. But one thing I struggled to find was those damn tins. No exact match, no similar craft stores in all of tokyo. But I did find bare metal tins in Nitori for a few bucks, and I found some authentic Japanese paper in a craft store on Nakamise Shopping Street and I vowed to take them both home and do it myself.

I finally got motivated today, and picked up some glue paste to help me stick the paper to the tin. Here is my experience.

I got my tin, glue and cut some shapes.
The paper came from a book store, it was intended for book covering but I like the colour, pattern, and it was the right dimensions
I glued  a circle for the lid first, cutting the edges like a clock to allow me to stick down the sides neatly.

Then it was onto sticking the big sheet over the edges and main tube.
I let it all dry for an hour, then, with a fresh blade, I cut off the excess at the bottom.
Pressing it all down and smoothing it a bit, I get my Authentic Paper wrapped tea tin, hand picked from various places in Tokyo by yours truly
I don't mind so much that I didn't buy the ones in Japan house, I'm happy that I close my eyes and see the disapproving old counter lady, and I like that each part to it has a story, an adventure, I can recall the sounds and smells of the places in Tokyo as I pick each piece up. Priceless.

Thanks for reading :)

1 comment:

Charles Willington said...

Wonderful. Such a fascinating experience, international travel is one of the real joy in life, and sadly one that has been curtailed for many of us right now in 2020. Working in seo israel allows for a degree of travel through the internet, or digital travel as I like to call it, but it is not the same thing. Not at all.