The Butcher’s Milk Carton Stationery

Mike Grist Featured Story, Japan, People / Culture Leave a Comment

Nogata is a little town in the west of Tokyo famous for two things:

1- The train station Gundam statue is near it in Kami-Igusa.

2- The father of the butcher down the street by the police box across from the station makes wicked stationary items out of milk cartons, and gives them away if you buy more than 600yen worth of meat.

I teach a group of lovely retirees in Nogata, and one of them brought this excellent, sturdy, and very pretty desk-organizer to class to show off show and tell.

She had heard about it from a TV show featuring Nogata’s main shopping drag. In it a few C-list J-talents wandered the streets investigating all the oddities of the town; the butcher’s milk cartons were one of the more interesting bits. One of her friends in far-flung Ibaraki requested she get one for her, so she picked one up alongside a 900 yen cut of chicken breast.

I handled the piece, and it really was very nice- very sturdy, beautiful Japanese paper over it, with a working drawer. Apparently demand has gone through the roof after the TV show, and the butcher’s father is struggling to keep up. Locals have dropped by and left him their used milk cartons so he has enough raw materials.


After the class I dropped by the butchers and had a brief chat with the butcher himself. He didn’t have any of the organizers on display, but when I asked if he had any he could show, he was very happy to oblige:

A most maximum red example with the smiling butcher behind it. I think he might have been pretty chuffed a non-Japanese had heard about his dad’s works.

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