Kaneko Rice Planting Starts! Update from our TGS member

Last month we announced TGS member Sahori Kaneko’s return home to Aichi-ken, Japan to grow her family’s rice business. 

We are excited to learn that planting is underway and here is the photo evidence! Sahori is the one who is planting – gambare!  Thank you everyone who came to last month’s special rice tasting event in honor of Kaneko rice.  We will hopefully blog more updates in the future!

Sahori Rice 3 Sahori Rice 2 Sahori Rice 1

Hal’s Is on the Move!



Message from our owner:

Hal’s is the oldest restaurant on AK and Taku and I really enjoyed the atmosphere which you can see any generation and race there, not like a hip restaurant. Our visitors and artists from Japan have enjoyed their food and feeling there as well. It is sad to lose a good place where we have good memories and we just said good bye to a 15yr old neighbor restaurant, AXE in the end of last year. Well, let’s hope they can reopen still in Venice near us!! — Keiko Shinomoto

Newsletter April published

Published on Apr. 12, 2015.

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Kaneko Rice Tasting on April 25th, 11am -5pm!

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We are hosting a special event on Saturday, April 25th in honor of Sahori Kaneko and her family’s 300 year old rice fields in Aichi prefecture!

Sahori, merchandiser for TGS since 2013, is returning to her hometown of Aichi to join her family’s rice tradition and expand it into a small business.

The rice harvested on the Kaneko farm is called mineasahi – a rice that can only be grown in Aichi, and compared to other rice varieties, is sweeter (‘amami’) and with a superior texture and consistency (‘nebari’).

“Kaneko rice is delicious because we grow our rice with water from the nearby mountains (‘yama mizu’).  Other rice fields will use water from the city, or from rivers, and we take our water from a very pure source.”

Sahori, whose background is in interior design and her sister, who works as an aroma therapist in Japan, intend on creating a business that will focus on wellness as much as rice.  Their future plans involve a cafe with a menu using Kaneko rice as well as a spa where people can enjoy the surrounding natural beauty while receiving treatments.

At this Kaneko rice event we will be tasting both white and brown rice balls in soy sauce and miso flavors and giving away samples while supplies last.  The miso will also be from Aichi – a richer and deeper tasting miso than other you may have tried in the past!

“Living in America the last two years helped me see the beauty of Japan in a way I hadn’t before.  I am taking what I learned at Tortoise to create something sophisticated and modern with rice, and to show people the value of agriculture.  Not only people visiting Aichi prefecture, but for the people living in our own community as well.” 

Please come see us April 25th for this very special pop-up event, and to say goodbye to Sahori!


Aichi frog enjoying the rice field:

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The surrounding mountains are the main water source for all Kaneko Rice fields:

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Rice planting season starts on May 1st.  Sahori will return home on April 30th, and start planting the very next day with her family.  Gambare!

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Tortoise General Store is Flying with Delta!

Delta sky

delta sky 2


We had a customer from Australia the other day visit our store and tell us they saw TGS on his flight to Los Angeles!  Delta Sky has featured the Tortoise General Store in their ‘LA Stories’ Issue as 1 of the 5 things you should try while in Venice and we are happy to represent Venice and LA to our friends from around the world!  We have customers from many countries and cities visiting us every day and we are grateful to have our store featured in this well curated and informative issue.  Thank you to our new guest from Australia for telling us about this issue.  We hope you see lots of Los Angeles during your first trip here!

Please read the full issue here!

Newsletter March published

Published on Mar 6, 2015.

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Newsletter February published

Published on Feb 11, 2015.

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Newsletter January published

Published on Jan 14, 2015.

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Newsletter December Vol.2 published

Published on Dec.17, 2014.

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Newsletter December published

Published on Dec.05, 2014.

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Business Hours During December 2014

We are now officially open on Mondays during December!
Store hours :
11:30 – 19:00 (Mon through Sat)
11:30 – 18:30 (Sun)

* Closed on December 25th

* Closed earlier on December 31st

We have lots of great gift ideas, please visit us!


Newsletter November Issue

Published on Nov.04, 2014.

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Ryosuke Yazaki Reception Party

This past Thursday was our reception party for Ryosuke Yazaki’s ‘KUUKAN’.  Thank you to  all who came and enjoyed the evening with us.  The exhibition will be at Tortoise until October 19th.

Yazaki Exhibition 1 Yazaki Exhibition 2Yazaki Exhibition 3

Masanobu Ando Opening Reception

Last night was our opening reception for Masanobu Ando’s month long exhibition, “Circle of the Round”. Thank you everyone who came!

In Japan, Masanobu Ando is considered a ‘grand master’ of tea ceremonies and to our delight, Ando-san himself performed a very special tea ceremony for our reception guests.  The cups and tea whisk stand used in the ceremony were made by the artist — just for this occasion.

The exhibition will be from now until September 28th in the Tortoise building behind TGS.  Please come by and see these original and unique works!


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As the reception came to a close, Tortoise and TGS owners were able to enjoy some tea together. Otsukaresamadesu!


Black Barc’s Pop-Up Store 8/29 – 9/7

bb2015-43 bb2015-44 bb2015-45Starting this Friday, August 29th, Black Barc Jewelry will bring fresh new items to TGS for a limited time.  Event will last for 10 days and end on September 7th.

kiribameandmokumegane processBlack Barc, founded by Mizuki Tsurutaka, relies on traditional Japanese techniques like Kiribame and Mokumegane to create long lasting, beautiful jewelry.

Kiribame is a Japanese ‘patchwork’ technique that has origins in the Edo period, and Mokumegane is a technique that uses heat and pressure together to fuse different metals – creating a unique and organic pattern in the process.   You will often see this Mokumegane technique on the elegant, decorative handles of Japanese swords.

We are so happy to have Black Barc popping into Tortoise –please stop by the store while they’re still here!


tsuba sword




TGS Goes Back to School!


Summer is quickly winding down and the Tortoise General Store is going back to school again.

Here are some items we think can help start your school year right:

1) Prospective Flow Denim Bag: We love that this tote is the perfect size for laptops and notebooks.  More durable and stylish than a canvas bag, and lighter than leather.  This is the bag to wear. ($98)

2) ‘Le Pen’ Pens: It’s our most popular pen! LePen has a smooth writing micro-fine plastic point and a sleek barrel design. The ink is acid free and non-toxic, and available in 18 fun colors. Good for notebooks, diaries, memo pads, letters, journals, yearbooks, scrapbooks… you get the idea! ($1.75/each)

3) Postalco Notepads: Postalco notepads will win you over with their attention to detail.  Their protected spiral binding, colorful water resistant fabric covers, and an ingenious design that allows your palm to rest as you write — it’s almost too cool for school.  Notepads come in 3 sizes and 4 different colors: light blue (pictured), red, yellow and navy.  (S:$13 M:$19 L:$29)

4) Misuzudo Notebooks: Misuzudo notebooks are renowned for their unparalleled binding techniques.  These notebooks lay completely flat when opened and their pages can be torn out with a clean edge.  Completely handmade.  Great for young artists or for note taking in class.  ($36)

5) Craft Design Technology Frixon Ball 3 Pen: This brand really lives up to its name.  Combining ‘craft’, ‘design’, and ‘technology’, we love CDT pens for their functional and stylish design.  This is a .5 mm multi-functional pen with 3 refilliable colors (black, red, and navy).   Called the ‘frixon’ pen because the ink is erasable when you rub it with the pen’s eraser top – we think it’s better than any other erasable pen you can find. ($28)

6) Gekkoso Leather Pen Case: A simple pen case made of very high quality vegetable-tanned leather.  Perfect size for holding ‘8B’ pencils, or your Le Pens! ($68)

7) Casio CA53W Calculator Watch:  Casio is a classic.  We love this Casio watch because it has an 8 digit calculator, an auto-calender, stop watch, alarm clock, and dual time function all in one.  Also water resistant so if you want to hit the beach after class, you’re in the clear. ($26)

8) Aizawa Bento Box: Aizawa is a Japanese company famous for making high quality stainless steel products since 1922.  These stainless steel bento boxes will last for a really long time and won’t rust with moisture.  Comes with a clip-on lid and removable divider inside. ($60)

9) Snow Peak Titanium Cookware Set: Not a fan of plastic?  Try this ultra-lightweight fork, knife and spoon set in a velcro case from Snow Peak.  Snow Peak is a well known Camping line so you can also get this for your next vacation outdoors. ($34.95)

10) Teniugis: If you pack a lunch, don’t forget to wrap up your lunch in a bright, colorful tengui!  These 100% cotton towels are quick to dry and we think their functions are almost limitless.  Use them as a table napkin or as a head band at the gym or to clean your glasses. They’re beautiful and handy! ($13/each)

11) Gekkoso Right Hand Clip: Gekkoso is a renowned art supply and stationary store in Japan since 1917.   Slide your homework or class notes in between the iron thumb and fingers, or just appreciate the beauty of this clip on your desk. ($8)


Some of these items are not on our online store so don’t hesitate to call us with any questions, (310) 314-8448, or please come by and visit us at the Tortoise General Store, 1208 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice CA 90291.

TORTOISE will host Masanobu Ando Exhibition in September

Masanobu Ando’s work has a rustic simplicity and elegant serenity that is described in Japanese as ‘wabi sabi.’  Living in Tajimi, Japan – in Gifu prefecture – Ando creates ceramics pieces that are atypical of traditional ceramic ware. Known for rejecting the use of the wheel, Ando practices a technique called tatara, where sheets of clay are molded together to form a solid shape.  His glazing technique also creates a surface and appearance that mimics silver and metal instead of clay, and some of his sculptural pieces look like rusted pipes or sheets of steel.

We are happy to announce that Tortoise, the store and gallery behind the Tortoise General Store on Abbot Kinney, will host Masanobu Ando in a month long exhibition starting this September.   A special reception will be held on September 7th with Masanobu Ando himself flying in from Japan to attend.  The reception is welcome to anyone who wishes to meet the artist behind these truly original works.  Details for the reception and the exhibition will be sent out in the next TGS newsletter so please stay tuned!


MA 7

Masanobu Ando ($1200)

MA 6

Hanging Flower Vase – Masanoby Ando ($600)

MA 1

Masanobu Ando ($1600)

MA 2

Cups – Masanobu Ando ($68/each)

MA 3

From front to back: Vase ($600) Sculpture ($800) Sculpture ($1000) – Masanobu Ando

We are close on Jan 6th and 7th.

Happy new year 2014!

We are close on next Monday 1/6 and Tuesday 1/7 for waxing the floor and major cleaning called “Oosouji”.
We apologize for this inconvenience and thank you for your cooperation.

Hand dyed “Tabi” shoes


Hand dyed “Tabi” shoes by Prospective Flow’s “Indigo project 407″.

When we got the first shipment of these “Tabi” shoes before, they sold out so quickly.
Finally, the second shipment has arrived!

“Tabi” shoes are outdoor shoes that are often used by construction workers, gardeners, farmers and carpenters in Japan. Made of cotton and the sole is rubber.
You can run faster than wearing the other shoes (,I guess).

In stock sizes: M6.5-11, W6.5-11.5
Available in store only, sorry!

Open 7 days a week


Open 7 days except Thanksgiving and Christmas.
We may open early and close later on certain days but will note that shortly.