Forget about matchbooks and refrigerator magnets; a chopstick rest embossed with the name of your restaurant or store makes the best advertising novelty.
This hashioki is from a restaurant Beijing famous for its Peking Duck; the name of the restaurant is written in Chinese characters on the side. If it had been up to me I would have made my signature give-away in the shape of a brown barbecued duck, because seeing those ducks hanging in a market or in the window of a restaurant in China always makes me crave duck, but…. maybe this version is more aesthetically pleasing.
This hashioki has the name Inagiku stamped on the bottom, which is the name of a famous chain of Japanese restaurants. The restaurant founded in Kyushu in 1866, but in the late 20th. century expanded until it had branches in Macau, the United States, and elsewhere. Inagiku specalized in tempura, as the other word stamped on this fish suggests, although this fish looks like an ayu to me, which is a sweet tasting fresh water fish not usually
used for tempura.
I’ve been told that the reading of the characters on this chopstick rest are zhang zheng ji, and that it’s a family name from Hong Kong, but other than that I have no idea what this logo signifies. Chances are it’s the name of a company in Hong Kong, maybe one connected to serving ware or food. Even though I am forced to admit my ignorance, I included it here to illustrate some of the challenges identifying items from a culture where you only speak a few words of the language.
I can read the hiragana on this bottle-shaped hashioki — it reads Toiichi — but I don’t know if it’s the name of a restaurant or a brand of sake. It could even be the first name of a past owner.
And I can definitely read the writing on this last advertising hashioki. It’s my favorite advertising hashioki because it invokes the city of Pittsburgh, where my daughter, son-in-law, grandson and father all live. The H. J. Heinz Company was founded in Pittsburgh in 1869, and is a world wide producer of pickles, ketchup, and other food products. But of course I didn’t buy the hashioki in Pittsburgh; I bought it in an Osaka department store.
September 11, 2017