Tuesday, May 17, 2011

On Design-- Butter Tubs

Why are we looking at a butter tub?

The first time my parents came to Japan to visit me, my mother took one look at my butter tub and said, "As soon as we get home, I'm having your father nick all my butter tubs for me!"

...and she did.

 ...and he did.  And now my mom can just leave the butter knife in the butter tub and close the lid all the way so it doesn't fall off next time she takes the butter out of the fridge.

 Because it's never just the lid, of course--the buttery knife always hits the floor when you bend down to pick up the lid...

It kills me that they think of things like this--and actually make them work right.

Mata asobou, ne!


  1. That is just SO smart! Oh, it makes me all warm and fuzzy on the inside realising that out there in the world, there is a country where they think about even the small things in life. *-*

  2. we don't actually use butter tubs, we just stick to sticks and butter trays, but i'm still impressed by the simple ingenuity

  3. That is so useful! Details like that always make my day. I am lazy and haven't even bothered to buy a butter dish. I just scoop butter off the top while the stick remains in its foil packaging.

    A silly question...Do lots of people use butter in Japan? My only knowledge of the subject come from Dutch East Indies Company records, and there wasn't any butter to obtain in Japan (you know, 350 years ago). It came on ships along with other Dutch things, like cheese.

  4. I've never heard of the like.

    We just get out a fresh knife when we want butter from the tub. Or from the stick platter.


  5. Cunning, but butter from a tub? margarine & its like yes, butI prefer butter from a wrapper, then use the wrapper to grease a cake tin. Easier to use the last bit! Actually these days I use a 'lowers cholesterol' spread mostly, & rarely have (unsalted) butter.

    Still no rain in London!

    PS Dandelion & Burdock is a type of soft drink in the UK.

  6. I just found your blog and you are amazing! My mother is Japanese and my dad was American , to me it's unthinkable for an American to adapt so well to japan. Unfortunately for me I reside in Florida ( the farthest place possible from Japan) and it brakes my heart. Also that my grandparent and family live there in Yokohama where I was born. I think it's amazing how much you understand about japan. I catch myself always bragging to my husband about small things like how awesome the Japanese 100yen shop is sooooooooo much better than Family Dollar. Thank you for starting this blog, and hopefully your children will never forget how amazing japan is :)

  7. Josephine-- they think about all sorts of little things like that. Things that aren't particularly difficult, but which make life smoother. I expect it's to make up for how much of a pain other aspects of housekeeping are in Japan...

    Sarah-- yah, I think we used to use a butter tray, too. I think my mom gave up on it, though, after she and my dad retired.

    Diana-- hi! They use lots of butter now, but way back when--not at all. Dairy products are (relatively) recent--and there are still many people who are lactose intolerant to some degree. As I understand it, dairy product consumption came in via Franciscan monks initially and took off (eventually) from there. They still don't tend to drink a glass of milk with a meal (even most kids don't)--much more likely to have green tea or mugi cha (barley tea). Milk is sold by the liter, not the gallon, and I have never seen Haagen Dazs in a container larger than a half cup. Popular--they just don't consume it in nearly the quantity that Americans do.

  8. Alice-- my mom never had hear the like, either. Hence her demand that my dad nick the butter tub when they got home (which he dutifully did:-))

    Dom-- Oh dear--bad American (or possibly just Indiana) habit of using 'butter' to mean either butter or margarine. What's in the tub up there is margarine, not butter:-)) I buy butter in sticks, too--and Yay! to using the wrapper to grease cake tins! I do that, too:-)) Got that trick from my mom.
    *Still* no rain in London?? Really? Mercy--you must not have anything coming up!
    'Dandelion and Burdock' is a type of soft drink? Have you tried it? If not--hurry! Go try it and report back! I can't imagine what that would taste like... though I'd dearly love to know!

  9. Anon-- Yokoso! Thanks for commenting--please stop by anytime:-)) Thank you for your kind words--I hope I've adjusted fairly well to life in Japan. There are many things I love about Japan (the Y100 shops *rule*!)...and things that I don't love. I mostly write about things I like, or things that I find funny, or things that are just different (and not necessarily good or bad). So- you were born here in Yokohama? Yay! We can be Internet cousins;-)) I hope you get to visit from time to time:-) I've lived here for fourteen years, am married to a Chonan, and my kids were born here, so I think I understand some things that the average tourist or even exchange student doesn't... but I don't ever expect to understand everything. Heck--I don't understand everything about America... (although, interestingly, there are some things I've come to understand about America now that I don't live there;-)

    I look forward to your comments!