Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Meet the duo behind the Southern California home goods store that emphasises quality and craftsmanship over the latest trends.

In an age when Daft Punk's rallying cry of "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" seems to guide our daily lives, Venice Beach-based Tortoise General Store provides a refreshing counterpoint, offering housewares crafted with a slower lifestyle in mind. After a decade spent working in Japan's design industry, founders Taku and Keiko Shinomoto left their jobs and traveled for two years, exploring the country's rich natural landscapes and meeting new people. The trip revealed to them a new way of life, one in which thoughtfulness, balance, and fulfillment were more important than iPhones.

After relocating to Venice Beach, they decided to open a shop on Abbot Kinney and landed on the tortoise—a symbol of longevity in Japanese culture—as a fitting mascot to embody their new mantra. Each item in the store is crafted using Japanese techniques that have been honed for centuries, resulting in beautiful, simple, high-quality pieces built to last for generations.

Here, sales associate Emma Tsuchida takes us through five of the shop's coolest kitchen items.

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Napkin. Tablecloth. Head Wrap?

Little cotton cloths that serve any number of uses.

Multipurpose Cotton Cloths by Tenugui, $14, tortoisegeneralstore.com.

A Piece of Japanese Design History That Also Boils Water

"Sori Yanagi is thought to be one of the most important industrial designers in Japan's history," says sales associate Emma Tsuchida. "His kettle's lightweight body, easy-grip handle, and beautiful appearance continue to make it the most popular of his designs."

Stainless Steel Kettle by Sori Yanagi, $150, tortoisegeneralstore.com.

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How Prehistoric Clay Yields the Perfect Rice

"The Kamado Donabe is a double-lidded clay pot made specifically for cooking rice," sales associate Emma Tsuchida explains. "Every Japanese home has one. The clay used to make the pot comes from a prehistoric lake bed and becomes extremely porous at high heat, ensuring that food is cooked consistently and evenly. For anyone that tries it, it tastes immeasurably better."

Kamado Donabe by Nagatanien, $135, tortoisegeneralstore.com.

Beautiful Soup Deserves a Beautiful Ladle

And wooden spoons can get a little boring.

Brass Ladle by LUE, $96, tortoisegeneralstore.com.

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In Kyoto, One Family Has Been Making These Airtight Copper Canisters Since 1875

"Since 1875, only one family in Kyoto has been making these beautiful, airtight tea canisters, which take over 130 steps to make," explains Tsuchida. "They are used for tea, coffee, herbs, candies—anything you want to seal, really—and many households in Japan pass down their canisters from one generation to the next. They develop a beautiful patina with age."

Copper Canister by Kaikado, $140, tortoisegeneralstore.com.

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