Every year, our founders Kaz and Yuka Morihata return to Japan to find new, special pieces to bring back to our shop, meet with artisans, and see their family. Here's one memory from Yuka's trip this summer.
I have been spending most of my time in my hometown of Kichijoji, where I grew up and where our son Riku attends elementary school during this stay. Kids here carry randoseru, a firm-sided backpack made of stitched firm leather. Red is the traditional color for girls, and black for boys, though now there are almost countless colors to choose from. First graders wear yellow hats and a yellow plastic cover on their randoseru (to keep them visible, as many walk to school on the street). Randoseru are handmade and can be quite expensive, so they are typically given as gifts by grandparents. Most kids use the same randoseru through six grades.
We took Riku to Showa Kinen Park. In the park there is a giant trampoline, almost like a white mountain, made of white rubber. It is called the Cloud Trampoline, and I have not seen anything like this anywhere else. It was very tempting to try jumping on it, but adults were not allowed. Riku had a good time.
WORDS BY YUKA MORIHATA
PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRIS SETTY AND YUKA MORIHATA