The Japanese know about presentation. You can’t just rock up to someone’s barbecue with a bottle of sake in one of those crappy gift bags you get at the off licence, it’s a big deal. When I was a kid, our neighbours went to Japan and came back with some gifts for us. I must have only been about four and I have no memory of what they gave me but I do remember the wrapping because it had lots of tiny little cords looping around to form a fancy, sparkly pretzel. It was awesome.
This style of awesomeness is called mizuhiki. It is a type of knot art that symbolises unity and togetherness, which is why it turns up on top of presents. The cords represent the two parties – the giver and recipient – and it is especially auspicious when added to gifts of cash. Check out this fabulously dated video on mizuhiki from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Japan if you want to feel like you’re in a high school geography lesson.
Here in London, mizuhiki cords are pretty much impossible to come by, so I have added a little twist by using cotton rope. I got mine from a hardware store (it’s actually a clothes line) but it only cost me £1.99. Bargain!
I have tried two types of knot. I’m not sure of their Japanese names. The first one is similar to a reef knot, with a twist. The second is more like a pretzel!
For the wrapping paper:
Chinese calligraphy paper – this takes the ink really well
Ink – I used Dr. Ph. Martins Ultra Blue from Cowling & Wilcox
A paint brush
For the mizuhiki:
Thick cotton cord – I used a washing line from the hardware store
Washi tape to wrap the gift
Watch the video to see how I did it…
Styling and video: Emma Scott-Child