Well how charming to receive these in the mail, 2 of them, but I had no idea what they were for. Exquisitley wrapped and all the way from Japan. First: I fear a customer is returning a bag for repair all that distance; then, oh wow, it's a birthday present, but arn't they a bit large for earrings and no doubt too heavy (although my grandmother was famous for earrings of major gravitas and had very long lobes!) And finally, I espied a piece of paper all in Japanese and an amazing story unfolded:
"This wind chime, or "Furin" in japanese, has the shape of another traditional craft of Odawara city, the Paper Lantern. On the bell you can see the Kanji characters "小田原" which are the characters used for the name of the city "Odawara". This lanterns are very popular all over Japan but in Odawara city huge paper lanterns can be seen in the station and, being close to the sea, the city also have a lighthouse shaped like one of this lantern with the same "小田原" kanji characters written on it. The slightly green color is the natural color of the metal after being burned and shaped but the darker parts have been left to emphasize the design. The base of the bell has a darker color which was left this way to give a new dimension to it. Just like many Japanese craft it is beautiful in its simplicity. Being fully handmade, each piece is slightly different from another and thus unique. The specificity of Kashiwagi Art Foundry is the "砂張 - Sahari" metal use for the creation of their "鳴りもの - Narimono" meaning bells. The sound of this wind chime is less musical but create the atmosphere of serenity that can be found in japanese temples. The Sahari is an alloy of copper and, at least, 20% of tin which gives its sturdiness and beautiful sound to the furin. However, in spite of its appearance, Odawara Furin are quite fragile and if they drop on the floor, the perfection of its shape will bend and the wind chime will not produce any sound. The Kashiwagi atelier is located in the city of Odawara since its establishment in 1702. The company has always, and still is, run by the Kashiwagi family. The products are made in a furnace heated at 1000ºC and the temperature in the whole atelier can go up to 40ºC. Kashiwagi Art Foundry is now the last producer of Odawara bells in the city keeping the tradition of Japanese "Sahari Narimono" http://www.amazon.com/Odawara-Handmade-Wind-Chimes-Lantern/dp/B00BA6APTO
I have not quite figured out where to hang them for optimum effect, now eschewing off the ear. They are indeed chimes of perfect scale, balance and patina. Such a wonderful birthday present and yet another homage to the paper aesthetic.