tatami

Japan’s new edible chopsticks have a special flavor, but don’t taste like “food”

Bold innovation isn’t motivated by ecological concerns, but a desire to preserve a part of Japanese agricultural heritage.

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Gorgeous Japanese tatami reed book covers, card holders a fresh outlet for old-school style

Paper-based media alone not traditional enough for you? Try pairing it with these.

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Use this new Japanese pad to keep your cat in one spot with the power of magic circles!

Last year, the Internet went gaga over the discovery that, for reasons that remain a mystery to nearly everyone, (some) cats, when presented with a circle on the floor, will enter said circle and just sit there. In what is probably the most effective way to make the notoriously free-spirited animals “stay,” these cat circles, which are called “neko hoihoi” in Japan, appeared in numerous videos, photos, and tweets online. From tape to hula hoops to dirty clothes, the cat-catching circles can, seemingly, be made of anything!

But now you no longer need to actually make a cat circle — instead you can buy an adorable little tatami reed flooring mat from a Kyoto company. Give your room a little class and trap your cat all at the same time! It’s probably easier than trying to use a computer when your adorable kitty wants attention.

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Living Space Invaders! Taito’s classic video game set to conquer homes with tatami floor mats

While the floors of most modern Japanese homes are covered by hardwood, tile, or carpeting, many people still have a soft spot in their hearts for tatami. There’s something about the reed floor mats that has a soothing effect on many adults, perhaps because they remind them of the easygoing days of their childhood.

You know what else harkens back to a simpler time? Retro games, like Space Invaders. The encroaching aliens of the classic 1970s shooter are once again expanding their territory, this time moving from the stars above your head to directly below your feet with new Space Invaders tatami.

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The top 10 instances when Japanese people feel thankful to be Japanese

Are there ever times when you feel really glad to have been born where you were? Maybe you’ve felt that way during a holiday, or while eating your favorite local food, but regardless, most of us have had those moments when we’re just plain thankful to be a citizen of a particular country.

Internet portal Mynavi Woman was curious to learn the specific situations and things that made Japanese people happy to be Japanese, and so in typical Mynavi fashion they opened up an internet survey in July to find out. Those results are finally in, and we’re happy to present to you the top 10 things that made Japanese respondents feel lucky to be nihonjin!

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Kumamoto Prefecture’s popular mascot can now be found on your floor

If recent reports are to be believed, tatami, the traditional Japanese flooring made of soft rush straw, may soon be a thing of the past as people begin to favor easier-to-clean western style flooring. It’s really a shame because there’s nothing quite like the smell and natural feel of tatami under your toes. We’ve already seen novel attempts at spicing up the traditional mats with LED lights, but we’re hoping they’ll have more success with these cute decorative tatami featuring Kumamoto Prefecture’s official bear mascot, Kumamon.

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The demise of traditional Japanese tatami flooring?

If you imagine a Japanese room, chances are you think of something like the picture above: a simply furnished room with sliding shōji doors, a tokonoma with a hanging scroll, and a tatami mat floor. These are examples of the virtues of traditional Japan that many foreigners often hear extolled (along with futon, sushi and judo). When they occupy such an important part of Japanese identity, you wouldn’t think they would be in danger of disappearing anytime soon.

However, the demand for tatami mats has gone down by one third in the last 20 years and many artisans are worried the trade will soon be lost, as more and more of them find themselves rapidly aging with no successors to continue the business. Why is it that tatami floors are becoming rare now, after enduring for so long?

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