Gadget lovers will want to check their smartphones and tablets no matter the weather, so these Evolg gloves make an ideal gift.
Evolg’s electricity-conducting fingertips mean that you can flick and swipe without having to expose your hands to the cold. Plus they come in various styles, including knit, leather and tweed.
Prices range from around ¥2,000 to ¥13,000. shop.evolg.jp (Yukari Mitsuhashi / On: Tech)
Gamer players (and their kids)
When one of these Amiibo figures are placed on a Wii U GamePad or New Nintendo 3DS’s bottom screen, the character appears in the game, levels up, saves data and unlocks new content. The first set of 18 Amiibo figures go on sale Dec. 6 for ¥1,200 each — just in time for Christmas. www.nintendo.co.jp/amiibo (Brian Ashcraft / On: Games)
The design savvy
The Snap Button Project is a series of flat shapes that snap together to create an elephant, giraffe, bear or kangaroo. Made of wood-print paper, they are simply beautiful.
Priced at ¥2,138 (¥3,542 for a walnut version of the bear and ¥4,298 for a large bear), they will be available from next week at the Snap Button website: bit.ly/kinokami.
A heater may seem an unusual gift, but the new Carbon Fiber Heater (¥12,960) by Plus Minus Zero is stylish, efficient and, unlike many heaters, slim enough to be tucked away when not needed. It also comes in white, beige-gray and brown, so can match any space. bit.ly/chpmz (Jean Snow / On: Design)
“Variety” (30th Anniversary Edition), a reissue of Mariya Takeuchi’s 1984 album, is great for those longing for a blast from the past, or any budding J-pop enthusiast wanting to explore the sounds of yesteryear.
Songs hop from sun-soaked pop to ballads to sax-accented slow burners, all written by Takeuchi. It also highlights the production work of another big name in Japanese pop history, Tatsuro Yamashita, who is also Takeuchi’s husband. This special edition, widely available as a CD for ¥2,376, comes with extra tracks, including one previously unreleased number. (Patrick St. Michel / music writer)
“105 Key Words for Understanding Japan” (¥2,000)is a primer for key aspects of Japanese culture, both of the refined and everyday variety. A reprint in book form of a 1995 special edition of Taiyo Magazine, topics from ink painting to instant ramen are covered with a diversity of views.
Illustrated with a mixture of beautiful editorial and art photography, the back stories behind iconic artifacts and practices that symbolize “Japaneseness” are, by turns, surprising and revealing for anyone interested in scratching the surface of Japan’s identity and culture. Available from bit.ly/heibonsha (John L. Tran/ art writer)
Don’t forget the dog
There has been plenty of wearable tech for people, so why not something for your dog?
NTT Docomo’s PetFit includes a monitoring camera, health-management system and GPS tracker, all in the form a smart dog collar. You can keep tabs on your dog via smartphone or PC and ensure he or she stays in good health.
PetFit is available at Docomo shops. www.docomopet.com (editorial team)
A gift for your cat and yourself, The9Life’s Afternoon Table is a magazine storage unit that doubles as a cosy spot for your cat to take a private nap.
Magazines are stored in a side slot, while those finished with can be put inside for cats to use as a scratching mat. An open slot makes it easy for your feline friend to pop in and out. Priced at around ¥47,778 it’s available at the9life.com. (editorial team)
Kids and little adults
Blowing bubbles — a perennial favorite among young children — has never been more beautiful with the wooden Amechan set (¥2,900), designed by Kaz Shiomi’s hip children’s wooden toy range Kiko+. bit.ly/kikobble (Danielle Demetriou / Child’s Play)
Small but perfectly formed, Little Tokyobike (¥25,000) is perhaps the most stylish two-wheeled gift possible for children. A mini replica of the clean-lined Tokyobike popular among urban cyclists, it’s available in an array of grown-up colors, from mustard and mint to tomato. (Note: stabilizers are optional.) tokyobike.com/little-tokyobike (Danielle Demetriou / Child’s Play)
Need something fashionable for the anime fan in your life? Neon Genesis Evangelion’s fashion line Radio Eva has a whole host of surprisingly credible options — from Harris Tweed slip-on shoes (¥13,500) to quality MA-1 bomber jackets (¥63,720), all designed in close, but not too close, relation to the original anime. radio-eva.jp (Samuel Thomas / On: Fashion)
Japanese brand Phenomena Collection creates jewelry with simple, geometric lines and a hefty dose of abstraction.
These earrings (¥10,000) seem to defy gravity and beg the question:Do you live inside or outside of the box? phenomenacollection.jp (Misha Janette / On: Fashion)
Centuries before American-style barbecues arrived in Japan, outdoors grilling was done over traditional charcoal burners known as shichirin. Simple, sturdy and handsome, they are made of porous white clay that makes them light to carry and well insulated.
The best (in various styles; prices from ¥8,000) are made in Ishikawa Prefecture by Maruwa Kogyo (7rin-maruwa.shop-pro.jp). See for yourself — and browse the beautiful selection of tableware too — at the Over The Counter shop in Aoyama. bit.ly/overthecounter (Robbie Swinnerton / Tokyo Food File)
The Tamagawa Tetsukezu Genshu (which translates roughly as “untouched”) series of Junmai Ginjo from Kyoto-based sake producer Kinoshita is hand-bottled directly after pressing. The resulting brew is fresh and fizzy, with an acidic zing that makes it a perfect party drink.
This is a special edition, to be released in December, with only a limited number made — so be quick to call the brewery at 0772-82-0071 to find out where it is available. www.sake-tamagawa.com/en (Melinda Joe / Kanpai Culture)
The whole family
Underground brand Hatora from designer Keisuke Nagami has developed a wearable kotatsu (heated table). The kotatsu itself seats four, as usual, but the cover it sports can be worn by each person, who can also unzip his or her section and wander off without losing heat.
This is a great idea that the whole family can enjoy, but a shared love of avant-garde fashion is recommended, since its priced at ¥255,000. hatroid.com (Samuel Thomas / On: Fashion)
Just for fun
Christmas need not be expensive. Keep your ears warm with these festive earmuffs (¥400) from Flying Tiger, which also has a whole range of ornament sets (pictured below) from just ¥200. www.flyingtiger.jp (editorial team)
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