Monday 23 May 2022

Itsumo Brings Japanese Lifestyle to Vancouver

Japanse crafted goods bring so much joy to my life, so after discovering Itsumo, a Japanese Lifestyle store in Vancouver, I needed to visit immediately. The shop curates a collection of pieces crafted by master artisans in Japan. Itsumo focuses on natural intentional pieces that are made to last. 

Itsumo is tucked off of Main Street along East 6th, so it can be easy to miss. But if you have ever been to the Mount Pleasant location of Cartem's then Itsumo is just a few paces away. The shop focuses on Japanese specialty items as well as carries an impressive selection of incense which is traditionally used in temples and at home. You can also find coconut ash at Itsumo which is the traditional medium used to hold burning incense sticks.

Being the food-obsessed person that I am, I was immediately drawn to the kitchenware items. Itsumo stocks a variety of hand-hammered copper pots including tamago pans! It took so much restraint not to go home with the square shaped, wood handled tamago pan which is used in the preparation of egg tamago which involves a layering and folding technique. The finished egg is slightly sweet, spongey and airy. 

There were so many cute graters, cute tiny porcelain bowls, traditional gourd shaped can openers and ceramic tableware. In addition to the kitchen items were bathroom accessories like soft cotton robes, soaps as well as traditional bathing accessories which are still in use at Japanese Onsens (bath houses). Such as a wooden stool, bucket and handled bucket. I fell in love with the stool made from hinoki, solid Japanese Cypress wood, but I could not handle the $320 CAD price tag. 

There is also Japanese stationary, but of a minimalistic aesthetic to match the overall natural tones of the store. So no brightly coloured Kawaii pens and notepads here. But I would not be quick to dismiss it because the Postalco Snap Pad is rather genius. It is a refillable notepad, but you cannot purchase refills for it because the intention behind this pad is to use scrap paper as your refill. It is sustainable and functional!

The last collection at Itsumo that caught my eye was the garden tools. I love flowers, no secret there. Ikebana is the Japanese art of arranging flowers by affixing them to a device called a Kenzan or also known as the spiky frog. The Kenzans have a heavy base with sharp brass spikes which make piercing stems easy and to arrange at dramatic angles. The Kenzan at Itsumo are made in Niigata prefecture Japan. I opted for the small rectangular one and had some fun arranging fallen blossom tree branches. 

In addition to the Kenzan, I picked up a beautiful teal glazed porcelain incense holder. I have yet to put it to use as I need to head back and purchase some incense. As a bonus, the owner's dog, Chonk likes to roam the shop and loves head scratches!


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