what muji do you have
"It's just a pencil, right? You write with it and rub it with an eraser."
You will agree with me, I know, but our colleague, an American volunteer was dissatisfied with my remark. He said, “It’s not just a pencil. You are holding a Muji pencil.” I was annoyed by his curt remark, and decided to take it a step further. I said, “What’s so special about Muji pencils? Aren’t they made of lead-rods enclosed within cylindrical wooden sticks?”
He must have sensed a satire, so he replied seriously, “Do you really know what Muji products are?” At this time I made a guess that Muji was the name of a brand but as I checked the pencil, nothing was written on it – no labels at all. In fact there was not even a marking of any sort – just a plain pencil. Later at night, I Googled to find that the name ‘Muji’ belonged to a company Ryohin Keikaku, a Japanese word meaning “No Brand Quality Goods”.
Japanese goods are obviously high quality – but Muji turned out to be extra nice because of their environment-friendly policy during manufacturing. According to their site, they use recycled materials to make a variety of goods; not just stationery but household items, kitchenware, clothing, travel, gifts, electric gadgets, etc., and all of them wrapped in the modest packaging ever. What I liked about them is that even without a name, they have made a presence on the market, which is of course part of the company philosophy.
Come to think of it, I used to have a pen-holder some years back which was made of bamboo, and it did not have a name or label of any kind. Could it have been a Muji holder? I will have to go through its shops in order to find a similar holder, in the meantime let’s hear what William Gibson has to say.
Our American volunteer was indeed right when he said he used to cross the Pacific to get his Muji supplies once every year; after all, simple is beautiful, isn’t it?