Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mejiro shotengai

I met up with Louisa the other day and we wandered up and down Mejiro's neighborhood shopping street, or shotengai (a term I can't believe took me three years to learn). We grabbed lunch, talked about books and trains and Tohoku, and while walking back to the JR train station, we passed a tatami shop. I didn't realize that underneath the mat's soft top layer of woven straw (onto which this guy is sewing a fabric border) there's a foam core between two boards of compressed wood chips (see lower right). Apparently this is how newer tatami are made; in the old days, the mat was made up of rice straw through and through.

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