I would say what I was enthusiastic about in 2014 is pottery.
At first, all plates and cups I had were from 100 yen shops or DIY chain stores. That was because I could not afford to purchase fine ceramics about 10 years ago and I was satisfied with cheap dishes. Several years after I settled in current apartment and current job, I suddenly realized that I could now afford to collect fine ceramics. It was just before Golden Week in May.
I started to go pottery shops and flea markets. I soaked in pottery world until I replaced almost all of my dishes with new ones. At the same time, I still kept buying some plates at 100 yen shops.
I proudly show you some of my collections :-).
They are some of my favorite potteries, Onta ware and Koishihara ware in Kyushu district. I love this carved pattern by knife called "tobi-kanna". One pottery shop owner told me that Onta and Koishihara craftpersons made thin and delicate work because they were generally highly skilled. Price range is also affordable among famous folk crafts. Price of a flat plate with 15 cm across is about 1500-2000 yen.
I know 1500 yen is extremely more expensive than the same size of plate in 100 yen shop. It took several months to get used to its cultural and price gap!
I also love "shinogi" pattern that makes stripe by bold grooves.
At one time, I loved whites.
At another time, I liked blues.
I sometimes enjoyed arranging many small dishes.
Or one big plate.
Or unique shaped plate.
It was so fun to make my own collection, but I had to stop buying them when almost all of my dishes were changed to new ones. I make a note of my favorite pottery shops as a memento.
1-5-3 Hokancho, Kita-Ku, Okayama-City, Okayama, Japan
Close: 1st Tue. of the month
It might be good start to check 1950-1980’s plates and cups used by typical Japanese families. The antique shop is located along the Hokancho Shopping Mall by JR Okayama Station. Ceramics in the shop are mainly mass products made during high economic growth period of 1950-1970’s. They deal in some folk crafts, too.
2-3-1 Ishizekicho, Kita-Ku, Okayama-City, Okayama, Japan
This is a gallery specializes in contemporary pottery arts. Quality and uniqueness of their selection are just fabulous. You may feel like being in a small art museum. Its premises are renovated from 130-year-old shop and house. You have to check its opening schedule because they open only during the term of planned exhibitions. You can see their exhibition information at "news" section of their website.
1-1-13 Hirai, Naka-Ku, Okayama-City, Okayama, Japan
It takes about 50-60 min. by bicycle from JR Okayama Station and 20-30 min. by car. I selected this shop despite its inconvenient access because its amount of folk potteries is one of the largest in Okayama area. Shop owner buys potteries from Kyushu, Okinawa, Shimane and other famous folk pottery manufacturing area and craftpersons.
*Kurashiki Museum of Folk Art (Kurashiki Mingei Kan)
1-4-11 Chuo,Kurashiki-City, Okayama,Japan
It is located in the center of Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter (Kurashiki Bikan Chiku).You can see and buy current fine folk potteries at the museum shop. Entry of museum shop is free of charge.
*Toru Mingei Shop (Toru Mingei Ten)
2-25-48 Achi Kurashiki-City, Okayama, Japan
Close: Tue. and 2nd and 4th Mon of the month.
You can find the shop in a shopping mall by Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter. Shop owner selects sophisticated folk potteries from all over Japan. They especially deal in many crafts from Okinawa and glazed white ceramics called "hakuji".
2-6-26 Achi, Kurashiki-City, Okayama, Japan
Open: 7 days a week
There is the shop under shopping mall’s arcade between JR Kurashiki Station and Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter. They deal in affordable daily ceramics including popular potteries such as Arita ware and Mino ware.