Writings about the culture of making

En Ja

Tools of enduring value

Several years ago I began cycling regularly throughout east Tokyo, mapping neighbourhood outposts for what would become a guide to the city on two wheels. Cycling connects you to the rhythms of the city and I became drawn to the way that manufacturing, from workshops to small-scale factories, was part of daily life.

Playing with baskets

No trip to Ginza would be complete without a visit to the Hermès building. Regardless of the hour, I’ve made a habit of taking a detour past the Renzo Piano-designed tower with the simple aim of inspecting the main window display. Artists and designers provide the space with a regular makeover, with one of the most memorable presentations being the play-inspired work of Shigeki Fujishiro.

Journey to the forest

Japanese craftsmanship is synonymous with rich traditions, attention to detail and a dedication to technical excellence. As I have spent more time watching craftsmen at work in recent years, I’ve become drawn to the philosophy that underpins their craft. In their eyes, the act of making is more than just a profession, it is a way of life.

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