〈interview〉Scenes with Goat Meshー Bakery: Konohana

〈interview〉Scenes with Goat Meshー Bakery: Konohana

〈interview〉

Scenes with Goat Mesh
Bakery: Konohana

In early May, just a week before the Sanja Matsuri in Asakusa. Preparations for decorating with lanterns are steadily progressing along the eaves, and the whole town seems to be eagerly awaiting the footsteps of this grand festival, which heralds the arrival of early summer. This time, we had the cooperation of Mayumi and Megumi Fujioka, who run the bakery Konohana in this downtown area of Asakusa. These two, who have been associated with REN since its inception, used goat mesh bags, and we asked them about the charm of Asakusa, where they were born and raised, and stories related to craftsmanship.

 

Even though it was placed casually, it naturally fits in.

Goat mesh is a series of mesh bags made by connecting finely cut goat leather using a technique called "Ishidatami-ami" (cobblestone weaving). Among them, we had Mayumi use the black basket (S size).

Mayumi: "I originally liked black, and I was drawn to the petite size, so I chose this one. It's very soft, and I was surprised by the smooth texture of the goat leather. The depth is just right, so the contents are not fully visible, and it naturally closes, which is nice. You might be able to add an inner button, but the simplicity of it being made entirely of leather is wonderful."

At first, she didn't put very heavy items in it, but now she uses it as her commuting bag from home to the shop, carrying her wallet, shopping eco-bag, and pouch. She mentioned that even though it was placed casually, its appearance naturally fits in, and the way it becomes slouchy is also attractive.

And for Megumi, she used the steel gray basket (M size). She mentioned that she had been intrigued by this color ever since she first saw it on the online shop.

Megumi: "The size is perfect for smoothly fitting A4 documents and magazines, and the handles are long enough to often use it over my shoulder. The bag itself is light, and the rounded handles don't dig in and cause pain. Although I've only been using it for a few months, I feel like its appearance has gradually changed from its brand-new look, and my attachment to it has grown deeper."

The goat mesh combines the softness of the material, the warm texture unique to hand-weaving, and the durability that withstands weight and weather. The more you use it, the more it fits your hand and blends into your daily life. We hope you enjoy these changes in texture as well.

 

I like natural materials.

The encounter between Konohana and REN happened more than 10 years ago. Now, as regular patrons, Konohana has become a very important presence to us, not only as a beloved bakery but also as a fellow creator in the Asakusa Kuramae area.

Mayumi: "I was really happy when the REN team first visited our shop and said, 'This looks like a fun place.' I still remember it vividly. Through this interview, I had the opportunity to learn more about the brand's philosophy and products, and I was amazed by the wide variety of leathers and shapes they offer! While they have seasonal items, they also continue to uphold their timeless classics. I think it's truly remarkable to maintain such timelessness."

Megumi: "I think that living in an environment where craftsmanship is close at hand, like around Asakusa, naturally makes many people interested in how things are made and the materials used. At our home, our parents run a leather processing business for shoes, and when I brought home a REN bag, my mother immediately said, 'It looks nice and light,' and even targeted it for herself. It also quickly drew attention from acquaintances of my mother's generation who said, 'Oh, how lovely.'"

The two of them love products made from natural materials, not just limited to bread and leather goods. At the front of Konohana, leather baskets made from a single piece of leather are displayed, reflecting their affection for simple craftsmanship.

 

 

The origin is the god of a familiar shrine.

The street that Konohana faces, Fuji Street, is a small path that stretches north-south from Sengen Shrine, which venerates Mount Fuji, to Senso-ji Temple. In contrast to the bustling atmosphere around Asakusa Station, this street has a quiet ambiance. Mayumi and Megumi have traveled this path countless times since they were children, and they still find it surreal that they ended up opening their shop in such a familiar setting.

Megumi: "We borrowed the name Konohana from the deity of the Fuji Sengen Shrine, Konohanasakuya-hime, whom we worship daily. The sound 'Konohana' was decided first, and then we thought, how about using the characters for 'powder' (粉) and 'flower' (花) to represent it?"

Mayumi: "When we actually opened as Konohana, we received many unexpected reactions. People would say things like, 'It's cute that Flour (粉) and Flower (花) are side by side,' and others told us that it has a cute pronunciation in Chinese as well. I'm really glad we chose this name."

 

-PROFILE-

Konohana (粉花)
Opened in 2008 in the backstreets of Asakusa Kannon. This popular bakery, cherished by the local Asakusa community, bakes bread using yeast cultivated with only organic raisins and water, and domestic wheat. Sales start at 10:30 AM and continue until sold out.

1st Floor, 3-25-6 Asakusa, Taito-ku
Closed: Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, and Holidays

 

 

NEXT 2/2 ー Konohana's Craftsmanship Entering Its 16th Year ▶︎

 

 

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