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

13 thoughts on “Strange kitchen contraption

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  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! 🙂

    1. 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. 🙂

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

    1. 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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