Ceramic artists Ren & Rie of Koyoido at the Sake “Toy Box” exhibit in Kyoto

When I was a small child, our dentist would (if we navigated the appointment without too many tears) let us pick out a toy from this giant toy chest in his office. I remembered those fun moments of rummaging through Dr Woods’ toy chest when I found out my recent trip to Kyoto in Japan was overlapping with the latest and greatest sake ceramics exhibit by the cutest sake couple in Kyoto, Ren and Rie Uehara of Koyoido Ceramics Atelier.

The exhibit was a blast with the theme being nothing less than: “The Joyful Toybox for childlike Drinkers“. Yes, we’re talking toy-inspired sake cups, carafes and all kinds of extremely fun sake stuff. The Ueharas recently welcomed a new addition to their family, their daughter Horo, and I can only surmise that tripping over a baby toy or two may have been the inspiration for the toy box sake exhibit.

I was completely charmed not only with the cute as a button Uehara family, but also with their smart and funny sake ceramics. Everything they created for the show demonstrated dedication, skill, and a keen wit keeping with their history of intelligent design.

vroom, vroom! sake cups on matchbox wheels.

Lots of Cups, Ochoko and Masu have funny winking smiling faces on them, which I think gets to the core of their exhibit – exploring the smiley, child-like state we can get into after a few rounds of excellent sake.

One of my favorite pieces included a working spinning-top sake cup with a bold red stripe design that would appeal to any child-like drunkard. How they got that balance to work so perfectly is beyond me, but it was a wonderful sake toy to be sure.

Another winning piece was what I call the “Matchbox ochoko”. a cute sake cup on a pair of matchbox wheels. If it wasn’t spilling my Daiginjo, I would be popping wheelies all the way down the kitchen table. These cups were serious FUN!

My special thanks to Ren, Rie and Horo for welcoming me to their wonderful exhibit. I haven’t had this much fun since my last filling!


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