Making the 'Hakobi' (entry by Himi and Fumi Bull)
This summer, while we are staying in Japan with Dad, we are making a bunch of 'hakobi' for him. A hakobi is the thing that he uses to move a blob of the pigment over to the block. Hakobi actually means 'carrying stick', but it is also called 'tokibo', which means 'mixing stick'. Here is how we make them!
You start with a 'takenokawa' (bamboo sheath). Cut a piece about 7cm long from the base end. It is generally better to use the base because it has the strongest fibres, but you can still get good hakobi from the other parts of the sheath.
The pieces should be dropped into a bowl of water and soaked. You don't need to soak them so long, just five or ten minutes.
Here is one piece of bamboo, unrolled so you can see what it looks like. It is now ready for working.
We make the handles from pieces of wooden chopsticks. Cut two notches on the stick (one on either side), about 1 centimetre from the end. This is to stop the bamboo from falling off the handle after it is tied on.
Roll the wet bamboo around the chopstick about 1 1/2 centimetres. It is now ready for tying.
It is easy to tie the string if one end is fastened to a hook on the bench. That way it can be pulled tightly while wrapping.
Continued on Page Two