This is such a great find – in Fenwick Bond Street who are stocking quite a lot of the Makanai line. I was never going to be able to pass by pink rabbit shaped Japanese soap leaves and not buy them was I? So I snapped them up for £6 which I suspect is more than they’d ever be in Japan but while I was in Tokyo I never saw anything like them.
A couple of years ago I did find some Makanai oil blotters – plain sheets of paper that transform (with your skin oil) into a rabbit pattern – in a specialist Japanese book shop near The Ham Yard hotel just off Piccadilly and was pretty pleased with those as well because I’d never seen anything like them. Haven’t since, come to think of it. Soap leaves are paper thin slivers of dry soap that you can carry in your bag and use to wash if you’re caught without any other soap. They’re nominally cherry blossom scented – generically floral really.
Makanai is an interesting brand with its roots in a gold leaf foundary in Kanazawa in the north east of the country. The brand’s founder, Mayumi Tachikawa, founded Makanai in 1999, inspired by her family foundary history. The name Makanai comes from the practice of making your own food – at the foundary, women workers would make their own beauty products from their food that they brought for lunch, including ingredients such as soy beans and green tea. Everything is made using natural ingredients, so there are no harmful chemicals (and it’s a cruelty free brand).
If bunnies aren’t your bag, there are more ‘serious’ items such as konjacs and brightening essences, but personally, the charm of this brand is in the things that nobody else does – like rabbit soap leaves! You can find more from the brand on YesStyle but I don’t know how they figure postage out.
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