The aGarey Project

'aGarey' (literally 'feel welcome') is the result of a unique joint venture between several companies in Japan's northern province of Yamagata, the Tohoku University of Art and Design and designer Takumi Shimamura. The aGarey product line theme is food, drink and life in Yamagata. The products are rooted in local traditions and qualities. Common ingredients and processing techniques are turned into a new food product or food related everyday object. aGarey offers the small businesses of Yamagata new markets to conquer.

The Tohoku region, where Yamagata is situated, is known for its severe and long winters. This has contributed to the focusing of attention on the atmosphere in the family home. People enjoy togetherness and preparing meals on the open fire (irori). They gather round to drink sake and share a meal using beautifully crafted kitchen utensils. Life around the open fire centers on the relationship between food and everyday objects. These traditional elements are reflected in the design of the aGarey product line.

In the aGarey Project the role of the open fire (irori) is played by the Tohoku University of Art and Design, the main center of design and art in Yamagata. Local companies gather round to share the family feeling. In close collaboration with designer Takumi Shimamura the aGarey Project has given the region a fresh impulse. Local agricultural products like cherries and pears, natural rice oil and noodles as well as age old crafts like the weaving of tatami mats and the traditional Japanese attention to careful packaging proved highly and mutually inspirational. This intense collaborative effort has resulted in the restructuring and renewal of local specialties and qualities contained in the aGarey product line. They merit sampling by both the local community and even more so by you!