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.

Higo Mari Ball is back

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We received a new shipment of those Mari Ball from Higo, Kumamoto pref.
It’s a product which follows traditional technique, size, thread, color, and embroidery andis made entirely by hand. The size depends on craftsman’s hand size.

Shop online here, Higo Mari Ball

New items from “Gekkoso”


“Gekkoso” is painting supplies store in Tokyo, Japan since 1917.
They produced painting goods for all painter who are from beginner to professional.

We are close on July 4th

We are close on Thursday July 4th.
We apologize for this inconvenience and thank you for your cooperation.
Everyone have a wonderful holiday!

Summer patterns of Tenugui and more

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Summer patterns of Tenugui towel, pot holders and Baby Jinbei ( Kimono and pants, 2 piece set ) from Kamawanu have just arrived at our store!

New Ubugi – Baby Kimono

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Finally, we got new Baby Kimono in stock!
There are some new patterns but limited quantity.

See detail at TGS online store!

New ceramic bottles, knives and more


Every item looks stylish and sharp by chance…yes, father’s day will come soon!

Masunaga Eyewear from Fukui pref.


Our new lineup of Masunaga eyewear from Fukui, Japan. Family owned since 1905, all handmade.
These are not on our online store, please come and check in store!

Mother’s Day Flower Bouquets will come!


Beautiful flower bouquets are coming to the store on this Sunday 5/12!
How about flower gifts for Mother’s day?

Don’t you miss our “koffe” coffee beans?


We are starting to carry coffee beans from “koffe” coffee roaster in Toyama pref. Japan.

2 years ago, Koji Yamanaka from “koffe” had coffee workshop at TGS studio using their coffee beans. It was really popular and also the beans were sooo good. Now the beans are back to TGS!
(This is the link of coffee workshop that we had!)

There are three kind of blended coffee beans exclusively for Tortoise. Try and find your favorite!

Thank you for the support!


Thanks to everyone who stopped by and also to everyone who had sent their prayers for the 3.11 earthquake & tsunami fundraiser.

The event was a huge success with donations adding up to exactly $1000. The funds will  be sent to “ASHINAGA”, an organization who supports orphans worldwide.

For more information about “ASHINAGA”, please visit here.

Special thanks to Peace Piece Bakery who donated a lot of delicious cookies and Mikiko Ideno who made beautiful bouquets. And also, thank you Shuko, Yuko and Hana for bringing wonderful desserts!


Fundraising Event for Japan Relief


Two years after from 3/11/2011, we will gather again at Tortoise General Store for fundraising event.

Date & Time: Sunday, 3/10/2013 @ TGS patio

12pm – till goods are last

Please stop by and get your cookies and beautiful spring bouquet!

Temporary closing on Feb. 21st.

We will be closed on Thursday Feb. 21st.
“TORTOISE” (located in the building behind Tortoise General Store) will be open as usual.

Please use the side door to get to “TORTOISE,” next to the main entrance of Tortoise General Store.

We apologize for this inconvenience and thank you for your cooperation.


New arrivals, leather products


We’ve just received new leather products from Japan.
They are sitting in glass case that next to the register. Please find it!

TORTOISE is back!


When Taku and Keiko Shinomoto first opened Tortoise in 2003, their vision was to introduce thoughtful, well-designed and crafted objects made in Japan, to the States. In addition to a wide range of every day products, they also started showcasing contemporary Japanese crafts, as well as one-of-a-kind vintage items. In 2008, Tortoise moved down the street to another location, leaving the everyday products at TGS, to focus more on crafts and vintage items. After almost 5 years, Tortoise is now back in its original location, at 1208 Abbot Kinney, but in the back building of TGS (Tortoise General Store), and will re-open on Jan 24, 2013.

We are now dedicated, more than ever, to introducing artwork by Japan-based artists. Our hope is to offer a space where you can view the artwork and envision them to be a part of your life. We also invite you to peruse our collection of art books, and have discussions on the artists we work with.
Work by the following artists will be presented for the next few months, in addition to a few other artists:

Masanobu Ando (ceramic)
Ryota Aoki (ceramic)
Peter Ivy (glass)
Mitsuru Koga (multi-material)
Ryosuke Yazaki (wood)

We will begin holding solo shows on a regular basis, starting spring.
We look forward to seeing you there!

All from Tortoise & TGS



January 24, 2013 (Thursday) 6-8PM
1208 1/2 Abbot Kinney Blvd. Venice, CA 90291
(in the back building of Tortoise General Store)

We will be serving sake, thanks to Kurosawa Sake Brewery.


TEL 310-396-7335

Happy New Year!

We will close 1/8 Tue and 1/9 Wed because of inventory count.
Sorry for inconvenience :(

And the studio will close from 1/10 to 1/23 for renovation.
Please check new gallery space in the studio after 1/24 !