Summer is all about a white wardrobe and accessories – you would think. But no! This summer, we are fully into black mode. Right now, the colour black, or “Kuro” in Japanese, is surprisingly enjoying widespread popularity in Japan. A trend so strong that we could even find an oh-so-hip black toilet paper. Oh my! Everything from household goods, grooming products, and even foods which are normally associated with the colour white are turning up in all-black versions. (And no, we didn’t think of imported Italian squid-inked spaghetti.) What ever happened to this kitschy idea of white being a symbol of cleanliness, freshness and good faith? Nah, black is cooler! Today PingMag will introduce a whole range of black stuff.
Written by Ryoko
Translated by Rie
A black aircraft: the “Star Flyer”
The Star Flyer, an air carrier connecting Tokyo and Kita-Kyushu, just started its services in March, 2006. Tatsuya Matsui, famous designer of humanoid robots PINO and POSY, was given complete freedom in designing the look of the “Star Flyer’s” aircraft. And as he is coming more from the, let’s say, robotic background, the design of this aircraft has an unprecedented originality for sure. So, this how it looks like when the concept is supposed to be “21st Century Modern:” All of the seats – even in economy class – are upholstered in black patent leather. That’s not all. Most of the aircraft’s interior and exterior is black as well, which would be extremely rare for a passenger jet. The result is both astonishing and elegant. Our tip: If you plan a trip from Tokyo to Kita-Kushu, make sure to book your flight on this futuristic “Star Flyer.”
Black toilet paper by Renova
We always wondered who exactly decided that the colour of toilet paper has to be white? Though being black, this toilet roll by the Portuguese paper manufacturer Renova is still a convenient three-ply quality toilet paper! We don’t exactly know why it became a huge hit among celebrities all over Europe. But, up to now, over one million rolls have been sold worldwide and the manufacturer can’t even keep up with the demand! For your interest, flights on the above-mentioned Star Flyer are using this very toilet paper for the whole month of July. That might truly entertain their passengers even more.
Black toilet paper by Renova. 1,890 Yen for 6 rolls (15,50 US Dollar or 11 Euro!). Pricey, a bit, and obviously fully targeted at celebrity wannabes.
A gift pack… It contains 3 rolls at 2,625 Yen.
Black cotton swabs easily detect earwax!
These days, back cotton swabs are often seen in Japan. And as far as we assume, a lot of people would never consider going back to the ordinary white variety ever again. These cotton swabs were developed in order to easily detect earwax on their tips – easier than on its white look-alikes. After all, we as human beings believe what we can see in front of our eyes, don’t we? Just remember that the inner-ear is very delicate. Too much cleaning can seriously damage your ear. So don’t overdo it, no matter how much fun it could be!
A black toothbrush – how significantly effective!
You can easily find toothbrushes in white or shades of pastel with an eye toward cleanliness. With this “Fresh Black Toothbrush” by Jacks, however, the handle and even the bristles are black. They use special black hair with platinum colloid ceramics which are supposed to effectively remove plaque – even without toothpaste! All kids will want one of those…
Can you believe that? Black toothpaste!
If you are using a black toothbrush, you might as well go all the way and use black toothpaste as well… Here it is! The oddly named “Toothpaste Thought up by Hiroshi – Pure BLACK” by Three-Hills Co., Ltd is a black toothpaste that could be especially efficient for people concerned about halitosis or periodontal disease. It promises beneficial effects on gums, and with its squid-ink-like appearance it must be so much fun to use – if you feel adventurous. And we bet you are!
Easier cutting with a black chopping board!
The “black chopping board” is presented by the KYOCERA Corporation, which develops mobile phones, kitchen goods and much more. This fine ceramic chopping board resists rust and won’t absorb food odours. With its onyx colour, it is much easier and safer to cut lightly coloured foodstuffs like tofu or Japanese radish. In addition, it is flexible, allowing you to move chopped food to a pot or plate without spills.
Extremely popular – and quite macho! “Otokomae Black” by OTOKOMAE TOFUTEN.
Go manly black, go “Otokomae Black”
“Otokomae Black” by OTOKOMAE TOFUTEN gives a strong impact with its packaging and name, which translates as “manly black.” The name and stark package resemble something you might see on a can of strong coffee – but actually it contains tofu. This product has become a surprise hit with housewives who are looking for a little excitement in the supermarket. Usually, all tofu packages are as white as the silken bean curd inside. However, this special tofu includes some black beans, which give the final product a hint of black colour.
Healthy black salt
Takesumi-jio, translating as “bamboo charcoal salt”, is produced by Gensen Ginmi that sell delicious healthy foodstuffs. They produce this astonishing black salt by filling hollow bamboo with natural sea salt and then roasting the bamboo over charcoal. You might be wondering if it is actually OK to eat black salt. Don’t worry! This salt won’t turn your food black, and its rather sweet taste perfectly accentuates salads, grilled meats, and even Sushi. If you are a gourmet, give it a try and discover its unique taste!
“Black egg” by Hakone Owakudani. You absolutely have to try eating this with the black salt mentioned above.
A Hakone speciality: black eggs!
Though the next black food in our line-up has been around for a while, we still have to include it in our trend report – because it is so amazing black! These black eggs are a speciality of Hakone Owakudani, a resort town which is famous for its hot springs. And these eggs are boiled directly in the Owakudani hot springs. Unique properties in the water cause a chemical reaction that turns the egg colour to a deep black. You don’t have to believe all that we say, BUT it is said that each black egg adds 7 years to your life!
Indeed, we introduced a lot of black items today, everything from an aircraft to eggs. Are you surrounding yourself with black products already? We will leave you for today with an image of black pigs, kindly provided by the Kagoshima Black Pig Producer Unions. And, as always, we would like to thank all above-mentioned companies for their contributions!!