We hear the word "sustainable" so much now... here's something that truly is sustainable and conscientious without compromising aesthetics or quality. While browsing Japanese mega-bookstore Kinokuniya in Bryant Park (highly recommended if you're into Japanese-published picture books), we came across a book on tsusumi, which demonstrated that anything from a wine bottle to a lunch box could and should be wrapped with one piece of cloth.
Love the philosophy, and we think many others would too. So why is there very little information on the web about it? We bought the book found at Kinokuniya for our friend Kat's birthday (wrapped tsutsumi style, of course) but a quick search revealed only one US book on this topic: Gift Wrapping: Creative Ideas from Japan, published in 1987.
Introduction to Gift Wrapping: Creative Ideas from Japan by Kunio Ekiguchi:
In Japan, the concept of wrapping, tsutsumi, is not limited to the function of packaging. It plays a central role in a wide variety of spiritual and cultural aspects of Japanese life. Tsutsumi encompasses many areas not included in the Western concept of wrapping. For example, gods or Buddhas are "wrapped" in a household altar containing a hidden image of the god or a portable shrine carried during festivals; gardens are enclosed by a variety of fences; architectural space is defined by translucent shoji doors, opaque fusuma doors, and bamboo blinds; pictures are rolled up in hanging scrolls and picture scrolls; and food is placed in lacquer containers. The wrapping style illustrated by these examples is not a tight, hermetic seal, but a loose, flexible covering or shading. The style embodies the concept of "gentle concealment," a central part of the traditional Japanese sense of beauty.