This Mushroom Growing Kit Changes DIY Gift into GIY Gift – "CTAKEO" [Inspirations For DIY Gift]


Gift is not just about spending money, but more about giving your “time” to your precious person.
“Inspirations for DIY Gift” is a serial article series by Yoshikazu Eri, one of our very first writer intern members. By this project, he aims to widen possibilities and choices of DIY gifts.

Have you ever grow foods in your garden? Experiencing growing food would makes you feel totally different from just buying at supermarket. It’s more than the fact that it’s “safe” by knowing backgrounds, but it even makes the taste feel better with the “time” spent for growing.
Then why not send this moment to your precious person with surprise? Let me give you an idea from Japan. It’s the new idea transforming do-it-yourself gifts into “grow-it-yourself” – GIY Gifts.
“CTAKEO”is a mushroom growing kit, made from sawdust and mycelium (which forms into mushrooms). It’s especially for “shiitake”, healthy mushrooms native to East Asia.
Since growing foods are becoming worldwide sustainable lifestyle, there are already numerous mushroom growing kits now. But what makes “CTAKEO” distinctive is that it’s decorated like a boxed chocolate cake. Also, not just a DIY gifting, but trying to connect it to food growing.

How does it work?

Are you curious about how does it work? It’s so easy. All you have to do is put the growing kit at your kitchen or living room, and spray it with water twice a day. After 10 days to 2 weeks, you will find mushrooms popping out from the box! Furthermore, remained materials from the kit could be reused as an organic fertilizer for your garden too!

A bike pop-up shop in Ginza

“CTAKEO” is not sold online or at any supermarkets, but only at the street of Ginza – one of the most luxurious shopping districts in the world.
Selling with the specially customized tricycle
Mushitaro Nijiyama, who sells “CTAKEO” explains how he got into shiitake mushrooms.

One night when my job was a network administrator, I came back home really exhausted as usual. Then I happened to find shiitake mushrooms lined up on the newspaper. I couldn’t understand why it’s there, so I just threw it away. After a while, I realized that it was my wife, trying to make dried shiitake mushroom for my health.

Before this, Nijiyama barely knows about shiitake. However, after feeling really sorry for what he has done to his wife, he begun to search for shiitake. Eventually, he found a growing kit. As he searches more and more, his curiosity raised up and up.
With his enthusiasm for shiitake, he started the project “CTAKEO”. It pronounces “she-tac-a-oh” in Japanese. As Japanese hear this word, they imagine “Shiitake-man”, because “CTAKE” makes the same pronunciation as shiitake, and “O” means “man” in Japanese. I don’t know if Nijiyama meant this, but some jokes are here.
Nobody buys “CTAKEO” without asking “What is this?”

Grow it yourself!

Imagine gifting healthful foods to your wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, or parents. I am sure it tastes way better than industrialized ones, because you are gifting it with the story: I spent 1 week to grow this.
I guess, this is what we call “love”, devoting your priceless time for your partner. This may be a new style of gifting, GIY (grow it yourself!) gifts.
What would you grow for your important person?

*”CTAKEO” is currently not available in Ginza. But, Nijiyama is planning an oversea tour of this project!

[Text by Yoshikazu Eri]


Grow some vegetables, and share them with a community food pantry!