In Japan, it’s tradition to write your prayers or wishes on small wooden plaques and place them outside the Shinto shrines around Japan. These wooden plaques are called ema. You may also see paper fortunes tied to tree branches. These are called omikuji. When we visited the shrines in Japan, we loved seeing all of ema plaques and omikuji fortunes hanging outside. We even had a chance to write our own wishes for Tea on an ema. Learn more about the tradition of the ema and omikuji and see our special Tea ema!
Saju wears our Chie Graphic Dress and Tenley wears our Tankuki Teapot Graphic Tee.
The Japanese city of Kanazawa is known for it’s production of gold leaf and use of it in many traditional and modern handicrafts. Artisans and craftsmen throughout Kanazawa have practiced gold leafing for hundreds of years. We saw many artifacts throughout museums and adorning ancient temples and buildings in this magical city. Gold leaf is also extremely popular in crafting and housewares today, throughout the world. You can even see a hint of gold on the logo of our holiday catalog front cover. When we traveled to Japan to shoot our holiday catalog, we took our new friends Tenley and Saju, to try their hand at gold leafing. Learn how you can do it too, right at home!
To help everyone at Tea “go there,” we make a yearly contribution to each employee for international travel and exploration. Upon their return, our Tea travelers write a blog post to share their adventures with all of us (and the world)! Anna, Tea’s Technical Design Director, traveled through Poland with her husband, son, and daughter. Here she shares stories of a trip that will forever live in their hearts.
I love and miss Poland! This photo of Polish country meadow reminds me of Tea Collection.
The crane is one of the most iconic origami shapes there is. Easily recognizable and found throughout Japan in and around the many shrines, the origami crane, or orizuru, is a representation of the Japanese red-crowned crane, a bird that has special significance in Japan. Cranes are thought to bring good luck and longevity as it is said they can live for 1,000 years. An ancient Japanese legend says that anyone who folds 1,000 origami cranes will be granted one wish by the gods. In Japan, we saw many strings of origami cranes, all folded with such precision and always near a shrine. The many colors and precise shapes left us in awe. While we would never consider ourselves to be “pros” at any craft, we’ve definitely managed to be quite quick at making these origami cranes. From launch parties and pop-up shop photo backdrops, to in-store installations, we’ve made hundreds of cranes over the past few months. If you’ve ordered from TeaCollection.com during our fall season, you’ve probably received your very own set of 8 origami papers with instructions on how to make an adorable origami uni (dog). Learn how to make an origami crane on your own! It might take a few tries to get it down, but once you’ve figured out the folds, you’ll quickly become a pro yourself.
Meet Nicole Hensley, mom of four beautiful children and the writer and photographer behind the blog Golden Babes in the Sun. Here at Tea, we believe in making the foreign familiar for all little citizens. Whether its traveling across the globe or across the street, there is so much out there to open their eyes to. We’re thrilled to have the Hensley’s as our first Foreign Correspondents in Washington, D.C.. Follow along!
Kananzawa is a town in Japan known for its castles, shrines, amazing Museum of Contemporary Art and production of gold leaf. The glittering gold that surrounded us in Kanazawa, actually sparked inspiration for this year’s holiday collection. The city alone produces 99% of Japan’s gold leaf production thanks to its excellent quality of water and masterful craftsmen who have been practicing the art of gold leafing for hundreds of years. When we visited this magical place, we marveled at how many buildings, ceramics, and varieties of food were adorned with gold leafing.
You might remember learning about onomatopoeia in grade school. You probably enjoyed saying these words out loud and marveling at the fact that they sound the way they are spelled. In English, it’s words like “pop” “meow” and “whoosh”. The Japanese language is filled with symbolic ideophones, or words that evoke a feeling, memory or vivid image. Hira hira is Japanese onomatopoeia that means “to flutter”. Kira kira means to sparkle. When a Japanese person hears the word kirakira, it is like they can actually se things that are sparkly. To English-speaking people, these words might now sound like what they mean, but that’s the beauty of different languages. Here are some more Japanese words that are really fun to say. Practice saying them with your little citizen to make the foreign a little more familiar in your home. Can they name things that take on these attributes?