We all appreciate a festive weekend dinner party (complete with wine, flowers, candles, and cocktails), but on occasion, we like to take to a quieter approach. Lately we’ve been dining at home in small groups, setting out a rustic Japanese table cloth on our coffee table and serving simple soba noodles and cold sake for a serene and easy dinner with friends. Here we present four vignettes to set the tone for a dinner party with a distinctive Japanese sensibility.
Photography via Analogue Life, unless otherwise noted.
What to Bring (If You’re the Guest)
Above: Bring a set of ceramics like two Spout Bowls made in France by Emilie Pedron for €32 each and excellent for serving sake. Or package homemade goods in Akebi Bags made in the Aomori Prefecture from Analogue Life; or a Furoshiki Cloth made with natural linen for $28 each from Ambatalia.
Prepare the Room
Above: Clean the wood floors and rugs in the living/dining room and dust the surrounding area before setting the table. Have guests remove their shoes, and offer them with house slippers to keep outside dirt from entering the home. Japanese House Slippers are $33.66 from Alexcious or Muji’s Cotton Border Knit Washable Slippers are $16.25 each. Photograph by Richard W. M. Jones.
Above: Have guests sit on floor mats, or if your table is on the taller side, short stools comfortable enough to dine on. The stackable Alvar Aalto 60 Stool is functional for different occasions and priced at $260 from All Modern. The Sori Yanagi Butterfly Stool in Maple is $705 or in rosewood for $930 from Design Within Reach.
Above: We favor Rush Floor Mats like these from UK-based Parma Lilac; for something similar, consider Ikea’s well-priced banana fiber Alseda; $29.99 each or the set of five Sea Grass Mats for $48.17 from Rakuten.
On the Table
Above L: Serve sake with Canoe’s Sake Carafe, designed with an ice pocket for chilling without diluting the sake; $30 from Canoe in Portland, OR. Above R: The short Kami S Cup by Hidetoshi Takahashi is made from Castor Aralia wood for $37 each from Merchant No. 4.
Above: Set the table with garment-washed Linen Napkins from Matteo Home (they’re each sewn with a half-inch hem and measure 22 by 22 inches), available in seven different dyes; $65 for a set of four. Mix up your linens with an additional Fog Linen Table Cloth in a stripe pattern for $85 from Alder & Co.
Above L: Consider a minimal, white porcelain pot for serving tea during and after the meal. Artist Eri Kawaguchi’s Teapot, made at her Fukushima Prefecture studio, features fine kanyu (cracks) and is available from Analogue Life. Above R: For a woven serving tray, baskets are available through Studio KotoKoto, like Takami Yasuhiro’s Large Ayanasu Bamboo Basket.
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