The International Gift Show is a biennial affair held at Tokyo Big Sight – Japan at the beginning of the year and in the first week of September. It is organized by Business Guide Sha. There were businesses from all over the world displaying their goodies in 6 halls that were split into East and West wings of the Tokyo Big Sight building structure. The only downside is that the walk between East and West wings is quite taxing.
In this article I will take you through to what I thought were bizarre and cool items. This is my opinion, I might have missed some bizarre stuff at the show or what I think is bizarre might not seem so but let’s agree that bizarre is like beauty and beauty is to the eye of the beholder.
My journey in the show started with scouring a bit of jewelry and gemstones but nothing so catchy could stop my train. I zoomed past these stalls as if they were not there. The organizers did a good job clustering similar type of companies together for convenience. At the end of the gemstones section, I could see a clear transition into household goods. I made a right turn and right there to my left I saw something that took all the wheels off my train – Okabe Yoshokki`s collection!
Okabe Yoshokki is a company from Niigata that specializes in unique kitchen utensils and tableware. The first thing that caught my eye was a flexible silicon spoon that one of the staff in the exhibition booth was bending around this way and that as if to attract my attention and that’s what it actually did!
Company Name: Okabe Yoshokki Co. Ltd
Address: 3633-2 Koike, Tsubame-shi, 959-1276, Niigata
Out of curiosity, I wanted to find out more about the interesting spoons. Luckily the CEO Mr. Okabe Takafumi was there too. I had the honor to talk with the CEO before the lady staff took care of me. The staff was more than happy to guide me through the product line explaining all the details behind the products and their use.
First I went for the Flex Silicon Spoon. I twisted it in all the ways I could fathom and it abode. It felt so good to be a master of your own spoon. Make it work for you. I could imagine countless of physically challenged people, the elderly and kids who have a hard time fitting spoons into their lives. This product as bizarre as it is, it can be a lifesaver to someone. It can fit in most arms that have difficulties grasping at spoons. It can also be bend to accommodate people with abnormal hand movements such as those with cerebral palsy.
Next I moved on to the Soft Touch Silicone Spoons and forks. These spoons were made of nylon but the feeding end is covered by soft silicone. They come in three sizes: small, regular and large, and there are three types of spoon sets and one fork set. If you are a family man or you know one or two things about kids, you would immediately see how safe these spoons are for kids.
So far, there are so many self-inflicted injuries by stainless or plastic spoons on kids when they throw tantrums. This spoon could have kept me sane when it mattered most. Something to add to the beauty of all this is that all soft silicone products could withstand 200°C, so they can be sterilized safely through boiling. However, due the soft silicone properties, microwave can’t be used.
In addition to the soft types, Okabe has hard Silicone Cooking Spoons that work well with fluoridated frying pans, Titanium tongue scrappers and spoons, silicone sauce brushes and the famous KuruKuru vegetable cutter which works like a sharpener. The KuruKuru cutter is unique and I bet it must be one of the best-selling products given its popularity on the web at the moment.
To cut vegetables, one has to insert the vegetable in the sharpener like structure and once it fits in turn the cutter around on the vegetable as if sharpening a pencil. It is quite safe as the blade is tiny and inwards facing.
The SUD Titanium Spoon
Of particular interest is the specially designed and unique SUD Titanium line spoon. At the time of writing this article I guess SUD stands for Showa University Dental Department as this unique line was researched and developed by the Dental Hygiene class of the Dental department of Showa University. The spoon sides are flat and it is made of Light and metallic odorless titanium. The maker refers to this spoon as the dietary guidance spoon. Probably its development was for dietary purposes.
The most bizarre rank in Okabe’s collection goes to the Tsubushiko Fork. Tsubushiko is a Japanese word meaning the crushing kid or the masher. This fork is designed like a fork lift to easily break up fruit, boiled vegetables and noodles into smaller pieces. The easy masher can break up food easily without slipping even on a small plate when preparing food for kids.
Though the Tsubushiko is made of steel, it is very easy to handle and the design makes it difficult for kids to stab themselves with. It can also be handy for the elderly who are struggling to feed themselves stuff like noodles.
Japan is known for its craftsmanship and it is the companies like Okabe Yoshokki that are proud of their handmade products that live up to such expectation. It is incredible given the quality of Okabe’s products he has only 8 full time employees and he has been in business since 1954. Such longevity in competitive Japan speaks volumes on this company’s quality.
Please join the discussion by answering the following questions, or write your experience with Okabe’s products or any other similar goods.
- What products from Okabe Yoshokki would you like to try to feel for yourself? Why?
- Do you think the world should pay extra attention to keep Okabe Yoshokki like companies in business?