There are many hard-to-translate words. For example, in Yagan language, there is a word mamihlapinatapei, that means a kind of a meaningful look between two people who are up to something, but are hesitating to start. Or, there is an adorable expression in Japanese- wabi-sabi, meaning a way of living when you accept life as it is with all its’ imperfections and find beauty in a nostalgy for the times past. And one of my all time favorites is Danish word hygge, that describes a special kind of enjoyable atmosphere - cosy, friendly and warm, which has to be experienced to be understood. So I couldn’t miss the shop called Hygge when I saw it in a quiet area in Hasekura.
The owner, Mr. Numakura, is putting a lot of effort in creating this atmosphere of hygge in his shop. “It all started 10 years ago, when I was working in an English antique shop, unfortunately, not existing any more, repairing the antique furniture. I thought that we, Japanese, don’t have this culture of repairing furniture and using it again,so I decided to start promoting it by opening my own antique shop”.
Just by being in this strange and cosy place, I understood what he means. Probably, one of the important components of hygge is the warm feeling of thankfulness and admiration we have for things that age with people, that were touched and owned by generations. When you eat with a fork and spoon that were made long before your birth, the meal itself seems much more delicious. And isn’t it the reason why people love to have something old for their special occasions like wedding or christening?
Originally Hygge was centered on Danish antiques, but now the majority of things are purchased in France and Belgium, on free markets and professional antique fairs. Mr. Numakura says, that he prefers to choose what he likes personally, something he would gladly have in his own house. This personal approach adds a touch to the shops’ unique design. Everything that is for sale - the furniture, the tableware, the jewellery and the clothes didn’t just happen to be here, they are here because they won the owner's’ heart and maybe that is exactly how they shall travel to your house - by winning your own heart.
Starting from November, Hygge will have another friendly function. The owner freed its first floor for a rental gallery, where anybody can have an exhibition of her/his own works. Students will have a discount, so if you are thinking about having your own art event in Japan, this is a great option, considering the charisma of this place and English-speaking owner.
I think, we all need a bit of Hygge in our lives. Especially when being away from our home countries.
Closed on Wednesdays