shelf life: a look inside tjing-tjing's new waza shelf
The newly refurbished Tjing Tjing in Cape Town's Longmarket Street has far more to offer than a beautiful (and delicious) Japanese menu. The middle of the three levels, above the buzzing Tjing Tjing Torii and below the Rooftop Bar, is the sophisticated Tjing Tjing Momiji restaurant, which hosts a curated shelf filled with authentic, quality Japanese homeware.
This gem of a shelf, based on the idea of a tokonoma or a chigai-dana, which, as explained by Botha Kruger – owner of WAZA, an online shop specialising in top-quality Japanese household goods – is 'an alcove in Japanese houses used to display art or any items of value, the latter meaning a built-in storage area adjacent to the the tokonoma'. Botha and his wife Hilda started WAZA in 2015. After numerous travels to Japan, they developed a love and appreciation for the quality household goods used on a daily basis in Japanese households. Their dream was to bring beautiful and functional products to SA, and this gave rise to the launch of their online shop.
The tokonoma at Tjing Tjing Momiji focuses on quality Japanese homeware and decor – a representation of only a portion of items available on WAZA – that are beautifully curated in every way.
Hilda and Botha keep things simple by offering a product range based on five categories, namely: make, work, grow, cook and eat. 'The Momiji shelf will be a rotating display that we will refresh every month, so that regular customers can see a diverse range of hand-crafted Japanese products up close,' says Botha. The first display at the relaunch of Tjing Tjing post-refurbishment was focused on mostly 'cook and eat', which includes popular kitchen knives, Japanese sharpening stones, and beautiful sake cups and bowls. (These items range from about R150 for the single sake cups to R1 250 – R2 500 for a kitchen knife). The products on offer will also include once-off ceramics that Botha and Hilda source on their travels, exclusive items from the Yumiko Iihoshi porcelain range, and even some handblown glass tableware.
The shelf at Momiji is not a 'shop' per se, as the items on display are not for sale at the restaurant, but on WAZA. Contact details are provided for people who want to know more. Customers can either contact Botha to meet up at the restaurant, where he will talk you through the different products and their uses, or you can order directly from him or buy the products online.