Strange kitchen contraption

When we first moved into our Japanese home, I noticed a strange contraption on the inside of one of our kitchen cupboard doors.

japanese kitchen

Our tiny Japanese kitchen, which I adored nonetheless. Everything was organised very efficiently. A dream come true for a home-organizing-geek like me.

strange kitchen contraption

The strange kitchen contraption beneath the sink.

I was puzzled by this strange, plastic attachment to our kitchen cupboard doors. I tried using it to hold the kitchen towels (by jamming a corner of the towel in the openings) but I soon gave this up. This was clearly not the intended use of this strange device.

Until one day, the epiphany came. I was visiting a Japanese friend’s house and we were cooking together. She asked me to take a knife and pointed to the cupboard under the sink. I opened the cupboard door and behold, she too had a similar device attached to the door, and in it were all her kitchen knives. So that’s what this thing is for! How convenient! It’s a safe place to store your knives and it saves a lot of space as well. I should have known that if something is pre-installed in a Japanese home, it is bound to be something very useful. No one does convenient like the Japanese!

japanese knife holder

Our japanese knife holder

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12 thoughts on “Strange kitchen contraption

  1. I don’t mind my compact Japanese kitchen but it’s seriously lacking in outlets. The only one is above the sink (??) and when I haul out my convection oven to plug it in for baking, there goes my counter space! 🙂

    • The lack of counter space was also a problem for me. But I did manage to add some more counter space by placing a shelving unit in the corner (opposite the sink, not in the picture). I used it to hold my rice cooker and as a place to put bowls and small dishes while cooking. I also bought a wonderful Japanese item that you can see over the sink. I have no idea what it is called, but it’s very convenient. By placing this over the sink, and then placing a cutting board horizontally with one side on ‘the item’ and the other side on the counter edge, I could double the counter space. But even then, it called for very organised and clean cooking. 🙂

    • It wasn’t obvious to me at least. Maybe it’s best not to generalize based on my personal experience, in case other foreigners are quicker to grasp the meaning of this ‘contraption’ 🙂 In my experience knife holders were always big wooden blocks that are placed on the kitchen counter. But of course that’s not very convenient in small Japanese homes.

    • They really do! You can set me loose in any Japanese home organizing store, like maybe Muji or even the 100yen shop, and I will happily spend several hours there. I really miss those small, convenient solutions to make everyday life more simple.

    • I agree! There are so many convenient things and items that I miss from Japan now that I don’t live there anymore. The other day I found myself missing the ‘flushing sound’ button on the toilet, to drown out some undesireable noises from the neighbouring stall in a public bathroom. I would never have imagined missing something like that! ^_^

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