Our friend brought back this lovely bird from Portland. It is a bottle opener made of "Nambu-tekki" (traditional cast iron craft from Japan).
I love the fact that the designer, Tadanori Baba has married the traditional craft and an abstract form of a crow motif to create something that is appropriate for today. This bottle opener can easily fit in a modern kitchen.
I feel that there is a movement in Japan to invigorate old craft/manufacturing process in order to survive the effect of globalization. If people need something cheaper..., there really isn't a reason why products have to be made in Japan. But through cross-pollinating traditional craft/manufacturing process with contemporary designs, Japanese makers can position themselves in a very unique market with superb quality and good and long-lasting design often inspired by wabi-sabi philosophy.
The SIWA collection follows a very similar concept and I believe in makers and manufactures who are finding ways to appreciate "old" in new manners.
This is one way of creating a future of heirloom... something we will still love using 50 years from now... and potentially passing it on to the next generation. (maybe little roo will open a bottle of beer with this bottle opener when she turns 21:)