Editor's note: This series showcases what we are calling "kawaii" (cute) items locally made in the iconic Japanese city. The series runs on Fridays and Saturdays.
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KYOTO--The Westside33 metal hammering studio and shop stands just west of the famed Sanjusangendo temple, which literally means "hall with 33 bays."
The shop offers a wide range of saucepans, pots and pans made by Shigeru Terachi using a traditional "tankin" metal hammering technique. For instance, there are at least 10 types of the "yukihira-nabe" saucepans.
"There are places where they make pots with the tankin technique, but we are the only one that offers this many varieties," said Terachi, a tankin specialist of 60 years standing.
Keeping the same thickness throughout a pot is what craftsmanship is all about, he said. When the thickness is not constant, food ingredients cannot be cooked evenly.
It takes about 10 years for a tankin specialist to develop a capacity to feel whether or not a pot is of the same thickness, the artisan explained.
Hand-hammering marks left on the surface give each piece a distinctive texture.
Terachi, 77, also cooks with his products to make improvements. A fishing enthusiast, he said he came up with an oval-shaped pot with two handles because "it is fit to cook a whole fish and can be served at the table as is."
Address: 578 Shichikencho, Yamatoooji-dori Shichijo sagaru, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto.
Open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed on Tuesdays.
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