Home > About Tokyo and Japan | Japanese Culture | Quirky Things Around Town | Uniquely Tokyo > Japanese stationery now sprouts herbs in your garden with the Blooming Pencil

Japanese stationery now sprouts herbs in your garden with the Blooming Pencil

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Recently published in Rocket News24, is a writeup on the next generation in Japanese omiyage — a pencil that can be planted to create a small plant. Here is the article: the Blooming Pencil. An excerpt is reprinted below.

3Once its life as a pencil is over, this innovative piece of stationery will colour your garden by blooming into a variety of edible plants. From Minecraft erasers to iced tea-scented pens and pretty bow-trimmed rubber bands, Japanese stationery has always fascinated us with its unusual, innovative designs. Now it has a creative solution to the problem of pencil ends, which are usually discarded once they become too short to hold and use. Instead of letting them go to waste, there’s now a way to have them breathe life into something that’s both beautiful and edible at the same time.

8While the Blooming Pencil functions as an ordinary pencil, the coloured lead ends at the banded section, with the small remaining portion embedded with plant seeds. Each pencil comes with the name of the plant written on the pencil itself, along with the recommended months for planting. The red-coloured pencil blooms into lotus flower, or Chinese milk vetch, a perennial herb from the pea family that’s often used in Chinese medicine to boost the immune system. This pencil stub is recommended for planting in September or October.

In addition to the Chinese milk vetch plant, there are four other types of blooms available: mini tomato,  aalvia farinacea (mealy sage), white clover; and basil. Eating something grown from your pencil might be a strange concept, but it reflects an idea that’s close to home for the products’ distributors, who also run the Bunbougu Cafe in Tokyo’s trendy Omotesando district.

The cafe brings the joys of stationery to the world of dining, with paper tablecloths for customers to draw and scribble on, so the addition of pencil-grown herbs to the menu seems an organic next step. The pencils can be purchased from their online store for 340 yen (US$3.10) each.

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