Lost? Just Don’t Blow Your Nose

P1210031.JPGI’m a closet shopper.  Everyone thinks Tawn is the shopper in this family but sometimes I find something that I think is really cool and I’ll buy it.  So it was while we were in Taipei and stopped by a branch of Muji, the Japanese “no brand, high quality” store that is kind of like the Gap meets IKEA but better.

What caught my eye?  These exciting Muji cotton handkerchiefs here that are printed with maps of London, New York, Tokyo and Kyoto.  Each city has both a present-day map as well as a map of the old city, usually from the mid-1800s.

Almost all my handkerchiefs come from Muji, ever since I first discovered the store in Hong Kong years ago.  Their handkerchiefs are of good quality, durable, reasonable priced, and come in a variety of colors and patterns that, while conservative, give me a little room to express myself.

Of course, the fact that I carry a handkerchief at all probably puts me into a category all my own.  There seem to be few men anymore who carry handkerchiefs.  Truly, though, how can a gentleman not carry one with him?  You never know when there will be a spill to clean up, a person in tears, a wound that needs staunching.  Plus, these map handkerchiefs would make for cool tray liners during a party.  I’m not sure they’ll go into my handkerchief drawer but may instead end up in the linen closet.


More on Muji.  Muji describes itself as follows:

“Muji is not a brand.  Muji does not make products of individuality or fashion nor does Muji reflect the popularity of its name in its prices.  Muji creates products with a view toward global consumption in the future.  That means that we do not create products that lure customers into believing that ‘this is the best’ or ‘I must have this.’  We would like our customers to feel the rational sense of satisfaction that comes not with ‘this is the best,’ but with ‘this is enough.’  ‘Best’ becomes ‘enough.'”

In the Wikipedia entry about Muji, the consumer goods retail chain is distinguished by its design minimalism, emphasis on recycling, avoidance of waste in production and packaging, and no-logo or “no-brand” policy.  Really, it captures a lot of what I think of as the hallmarks of the Japanese design aesthetic.


25 thoughts on “Lost? Just Don’t Blow Your Nose

  1. How cool  is that!! I had never seen handkerchiefs before. My dad always carried one, my brother in Dubai does too, and my son in law always carries one. I bring him the good Indian cotton kerchiefs from home whenever I go there. This was neat Chris.

  2. Now, what I need is a handchief with Bangkok map so I would not get lost, hehe.  I have not carried hankerchief for the longest time.  You are such a gentleman!

  3. Yea, I have a few white retractable muji pens and they work great! When I visited last time they even have furniture and really minimalistic earthy toned furniture. I really liked their design.Maps of the city is great. They should make the MTR station maps too.

  4. I really like these. I’m also very into this kind of thing. One of my favorite old umbrellas, it looked like a plain umbrella on the outside (black) with a conservative wooden handle, but when you opened it up; the inside of it was the roof of the sistine chapel. It was lovely.I’m one who carries a hankerchief. Not daily, but whenever I wear a suit, I have a hankerchief. It’s one of those old world things that I refuse to put down. I would love to get some of these.

  5. Oh! I LOVE these! What a cool store, too.When I was a little girl, my mother’s Cousin Steve always had a handkerchief whenever I needed one… and he was the epitome of “Gentleman”… whenever I meet a man with a handkerchief, I think of Cousin Steve, I smile, and I think, “What a gentleman”.

  6. My Dad ALWAYS carried a fresh clean, neatly folded handkerchief in his pocket. My husband lso carries one, but not as neatly folded ( jamming it in his jeans pocket discourages that!!). I love those handkerchief/map combos, I would definitely be buying them if I were able to!! And Dionna would be especially approving of the Muji method of doing business!! Ruth Ann

  7. I’m also a handkerchief fan. With all the travel, I find carrying a few around very convenient in case of any emergency from the unexpected cold to wiping pigeon poop (it happened to me recently!). My grandfather used handkerchiefs and he’d put some cologne on them so they would be more pleasant (they’d keep some of the fragrance even after being washed).

  8. @ZSA_MD – Oh, I’m sure those Indian cotton handkerchiefs are especially nice quality!@TheCheshireGrins – That’s what I’ve been thinking.  Probably destined to be tray liners for cocktail parties.@yang1815 – Yeah, there are plenty of cities missing, aren’t there.  I mean, Kyoto but no Taipei?  Whatever.@TheLatinObserver – That’s a good idea.  I never thought of that, but a nice suggestion.@Redlegsix – They need one with a Kansas map on it, since the handkerchiefs are almost as flat as the state!  Ha ha ha… just kidding.@choyshinglin – Thank you.  Very nice of you to say.@SamsPeeps – It is nice to have memories of people like that.@Dezinerdreams – You don’t?  What with all the hard work you’re going to have in store for your new venture, you might want to consider carrying one.  =D@arenadi – You really had an umbrella with the Sistine Chapel inside?  That’s… not something I would have expected you to have.@rainbow7candi – Their stores in Japan carry all sorts of stuff from furniture to cooking gear to bicycles.  Really amazing.@stevew918 – The tuk tuk drivers could use them as maps.@CurryPuffy – Last time I stopped at the Muji at Central they didn’t have these but I should check.  They often have new items.

  9. @christao408 – Oh? I’m curious… what makes you think an umbrella with the roof of the sistine chapel on the inside of it isn’t something I seem like I would have?I’ve been searching for another umbrella like that for years now, ever since it got stolen. I have a thing for unique umbrellas.

  10. Very cool! I had never heard of Muji, but I like its description of its philosophy.My father and brother both carry handkerchiefs. But then, allergies are common in our family.

  11. My father always had a handkerchief handy. I learned to iron by pressing his hankies – they had to be folded just so. It was one of our default Christmas presents… he always needed new ones since he had nose bleeds all the time.

  12. @murisopsis – Sadly, hankies are all I can iron with any success.  I tend to mess up shirts, etc.@Redlegsix – East side of the state is interesting; I’ve biked the hills so can attest to the fact it isn’t flat.  But the three or four times I’ve driven to Denver… YAWN!@epiginoskete – The question is, will you join them?@arenadi – Well, of course I don’t know you that well but I would imagine that the inside of the umbrella should have had either the disassembled engine of a Chevy pickup or else a scene of fresh fruits and veggies from the farmers’ market.  LOL

  13. You’re a classy gentleman, kinda like a Cary Grant type. I usually just use tissue paper. I haven’t used handkerchiefs since I was a kid. These ones are so beautiful I wouldn’t dare blow my nose on it.

  14. Hi there,

    I am desperately searching for the a New York version of the handkerchief above. Don’t suppose you still have it and am willing to sell? Or would you happen to know where I can acquire one?

    It is for someone very dear to me.

    Thank you for your time.

    Sincerely Mika

    • It is well used and I’m sure you would not want it. Have you done a Google search? There are several hits and you should be able to find a place to buy one.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s