After a long winter of cozying up inside, it’s time to think about outdoor living. Perfect picnic table; it’s to the point and its beauty shines through its simplicity…by Taku Shinomoto available on his site.
I was really touched by their story and their philosophy. Here is an excerpt from their site.
"Tortoise has been started by a wife and a husband of Keiko and Taku Shinomoto in the end of Oct. 2003, who moved in Los Angeles from Tokyo, Japan in June, 2003.
The longevity of human life is getting longer year after year, led by the advanced nations. But on the other hand, the life of man-made products is getting shorter as if it’s in the inverse proportion.
What do we do with this irony?
Wisemen have been questioning themselves, trying to figure out the answer.
We also have been wondering how we can take part in this.
Growing up in the midst of Japanese Bubble age as students, we consumed life within the capitalism without questioning. But then one day, we started to see how things around us were unnatural. It made us halt once to think, so we quit our jobs; Taku left the company he was working for 13 years as the in-house furniture designer, without any constructive future plan. So we could think about ‘things’ around us, ‘life’ around us, and the ‘work’ we had. We decided to put matters in pause until we could see the road ahead of us. Fortunately, the recession and deflation at the time were kind to the unemployed, we were poor but managed to travel to many places, met many people who helped us through it. Without settling with a home, like a tortoise, living on the day to day, we continued seeking.
Slowly and dimly, but somehow surely we began to see the road ahead, which was ‘tortoise-life’, to have feet on the ground and live enriched life.
In Japan today, opposing to "fast-food", the term ’slow food’ is often used. It doesn’t mean the six-course-dinner or to spend hours to chew, but it’s suggesting to take time, re-observe, and re-discover what we are actually eating. As the result, we would recognize the ingredients, cuisine to appreciate them, moreover would be able to enjoy the conversation with your accompany, enjoy the life itself. We realize this could apply for ‘things’ also.
‘Things’ which have been here for long time, ‘technique’ which has been fostered through history, ’shapes’ which never change in time, or those which were born today but must be handed down to generations to come, and the ‘things’ which were made by hand with heart. Not to be caught by the category of folk-craft, traditional- craft, or modern design, we take care of these all together as ‘tortoise products’ with our heart and the utmost care.
We are not here to deny today’s modern life style, we want to have balance within and proceed toward the real affluent life. We want to express the speed and quantity does not always equal beauty or wealth.
As ‘tortoise’ symbolizes ’slow and steady’ in America as it is in Japan, we named our company ‘tortoise’.
(turtle lives in ocean, tortoise is its generic name.)
Sea tortoise lives across the Pacific Ocean. We heard there is one who eats jelly-fish off California coast, then swims across to Japan to lays the eggs. Us, ‘tortoise’ too, would like to connect the countries across Pacific, and lay something new to our mother country Japan.
We hope our thoughts could touch your life."