Find Your Nozomi

One of the things we love about Nozomi is that each piece is one-of-a-kind; even some of our earring sets have slight variations between the right and left piece. This means there really are no two pieces alike! The possibilities are endless for you to find your piece - the one that calls out to you as a reminder to find beauty in brokenness.

So where do you start? This post lists a few hints to help you find your Nozomi without having to look at every single Nozomi piece:

1. Tags: Using the search box in the top right corner of the homepage, you can type in tags that will bring up all products associated with that particular word. Try doing a search with tags specified by line name (Natsuko, Juli, Mei, Kumiko, etc.); by colors (one color or use the term "multicolor" for pieces with splashes of lots of color); by material (goldchain, silverchain.  Note: when using two words, make sure to put them together with no space). 

2. Each Nozomi piece tells a story. Some people want the pottery to be the star as a stand-alone pendant. Others like the subtlety of completely remaking it into something chic and dainty. And some prefer beads and gemstones. We have them all, and if you know which style you're looking for, you can save time by looking through the lines that fit your style.

Lines featuring large, stand-alone pendants include: Aki, Natsuko, Kumiko, Juli, Kurumi, Ayaka, and Saya.

Lines featuring small, dainty pieces include: Mei Bar, Mei Lariat, Mako Chain, Mako Leather, Rumi, Haruna, and Moeka.

Lines featuring beads and gemstones include: Kikuko, Nodoka, Ai, and Noa.

3. Use our navigation bar at the top of the page to find earrings, bracelets, rings, and cufflinks.

4. For those looking for items in a particular price range, our navigation bar also has items divided by price so you look at all the styles in your price range.

Happy shopping!

Thank you, Ethical Unicorn!

We love this blog post done by the Ethical Unicorn. Do you know the answers to the following questions?  Read this excellent post and find out!

  • How are the names decided for each style?
  • what is the process of making a piece of jewelry?
  • What are some of the milestones of the Nozomi Project?
  • How is the idea of hope changing for the Nozomi team?
  • What does community look like to the Nozomi women? 

Here is a wonderful quote from one of our staff:

‘I really love looking at a piece at pottery and thinking “how could this become jewellery?” It’s amazing that something dirty and ugly can actually become something really beautiful.’

Check out the beautiful photos and this article and other great blogs by the Ethical Unicorn!





    Nozomi will be in Honolulu --July 30

    Nozomi Project will be in Honolulu on July 30! We will be selling in a foyer of the Hilton Hawaiian Village for the Hui Makaala Fashion Show Boutique. (Located in the foyer of the Coral Ballroom located on the 6th floor of the hotel's parking structure.) We have LOTS of all of our favorite new lines and can't wait for our Hawaii friends to come and shop!

    Nozomi Project's Story from the TedX Stage!

    Nozomi Project's founder and director, Sue Takamoto, was invited to speak at the TedX Waseda event on July 2. The event's theme was "Ripples to Waves" and Sue's task was to share how the idea of creating something beautiful out of broken pottery has turned into a five-year-running social enterprise employing 13 women, training them to craft beautiful jewelry. She also called listeners to choose together to see beauty in their own brokenness.

    At Nozomi, each team member names a line of jewelry after someone who is important to her. Many of the ladies have named lines after their daughters or mothers; one named a line after her sister-in-law (Rumi) who was lost in the tsunami of 2011. In her talk, Sue weaved together the stories of three women who are either currently working at Nozomi, or have worked with us and moved on to fulfill different dreams. She gave a glimpse into how each woman found beauty in her own brokenness. 

    Sara's grandfather is an unsung hero from 3/11 - when the waters were rushing in, he threw his wife and his grandson, Sara’s brother, onto the safety of a passing firetruck.  He did not survive the 30 feet wall of sea. Sara’s mom finds healing by working every day with broken pottery that she makes beautiful. 

    You can view the Sara collection here.

    Mika couldn’t leave her home for about a year because of severe PTSD and depression.  She was able to slowly come to Nozomi as she was able, finding through that process a place of healing and wholeness.

    You can view our Mika collection here.

    Misa's mom was Sue's shyest mom friend on the school yard, struggling with the challenges of a son with autism.  Over these 4 years of working at Nozomi, she has gained so much dignity and confidence.  She says her worldview has been changed - she recently shared at our staff meeting how she used to view autism as a curse;  now she sees what a blessing her son is to her and her family.

    You can view our Misa collection here.

    You can hear what some of the attendees had to say about Sue's talk here.

    And in Japanese here.  

    We will let you know next month when the talk comes out on YouTube!

    Great job, Sue!

    Introducing the new Natsuko silver collar necklace!

    We are so excited by the love our new Natsuko collection is receiving!  We are offering a substantial 4.3 mm silver collar as well as a sleeker 2.5 mm silver option. Our design team has come up with some amazing pendant and framed options to make your choices even more fun.  Find our complete collection of wonderful selections here


    Chance to Receive Ishinomaki Coffee!

     As we remember the triple disaster that struck Japan 6 years ago this month, we are excited to introduce Ishikawa Coffee Company and give our support to a fellow local business. We are currently sending two Ishinomaki coffee filter packs to our first 100 customers*! Watch for beautiful, new designs this month and take advantage of this chance to drink some delicious coffee, blended right here in Ishinomaki! (*with online purchases of over $20).

    Ishikawa Coffee Company owner, Mr. Ishikawa, takes care to choose only top quality, fresh coffee beans from around the world to skillfully blend in his shop. He says what he likes most about the blending process is being able to take different types of coffee and create new and unique tastes. 

    When Ishikawa Coffee Company first began, they were operating out of a 107 square foot building. The company has grown through word of mouth and now has its own coffee shop that serves simple dishes and delicious desserts in addition to their on-site blended coffee, which is also sold at 2 other locations in Ishinomaki.


    All of the coffee gift packages include a picture of a famous place in Ishinomaki paired with an "Ishinomaki" special blend (written in Japanese characters).

    We hope you'll take advantage of the chance to get this free gift, enjoy a cup of coffee, and feel the love from Ishinomaki!  As always, all proceeds go to the Nozomi Project women and the continuation of the project. 

    Shards, Brokenness & Hope Six Years Later

    We are coming up on six years of the triple disaster that washed away half of Ishinomaki.

    We are frequently asked if we still have broken pottery left to use for making our Nozomi jewelry.  And the answer is yes!  We still have crates of pottery gathered by hundreds of volunteers during the first few years; we are also receiving boxes of broken or unwanted pottery from nearby neighbors, friends, and second-hand shops in the area. 

    Recently, one of the sons of a Nozomi team member was out playing in a field by his home and came home with a bag of broken pottery.  "Mommy!  I found jewelry!'  

    He carefully washed each piece and laid it out on a tray for the Nozomi staff to make into something beautiful.  Each time it rains, hidden pottery becomes unearthed, constant reminders of both the tragedy and the hope that has emerged since.  

    Those pieces are now being cut, ground, shaped, and remade into something beautiful.  

    While each rainstorm brings new reminders of an unforgettable tragedy, it also brings hope.  Beauty in brokenness.  

    Christmas Joys

    A Merry Christmas to all! I’m Cindy from Singapore and I am honored to have this opportunity to share with you my recent experience at Nozomi. I thoroughly enjoyed every second spent here and have been inspired as well as encouraged by the team and the locals.

    Seeing snow for the first time, Christmas this year has been exceptionally special for me. In Singapore, it’s either hot or wet all year round and the only “snow” we see are made of foam. It feels surreal to be in Ishinomaki this festive season and the cold and showers definitely didn’t dampen any of our spirits here at Nozomi. Earlier on Tuesday, we had our Christmas party over lunch and the fun and conversations over good food warmed our hearts and stomachs.

    It wouldn’t be called a party if there weren’t any games, right? So we started the party with a game which I would conveniently name, “Don’t Miss It!”; throughout lunch, an appointed leader would freeze whenever and the rest of us have to notice her freeze and mimic her actions. Being the last would result in extra makeup on the face… and it might even mean having lipstick on unconventional parts of your face.

    We also played a fun game I had never done in which we all drew Christmas scenes on paper plates on top of our head!  The results, and the process, were hilarious.

    The restaurant was sporadically filled with peals of laughter and moments of deathly silence due to the ladies’ seriousness at playing the games. Coupled with the amazing dishes streaming in from the kitchen, both my heart and stomach were satisfied. In fact, even though I was a total stranger at the party, I felt that I was a part of Nozomi with all the fun. During the party, we also exchanged gifts and boy, we couldn’t stop smiling as we unwrapped our gifts.


    Apart from receiving the gifts to that were prepared with loads of love, Sue shared with the ladies a greater gift from above – the birth of Jesus and the reason for Christmas. As the party came to an end, I looked across the room and I saw the smiles on the faces of the Nozomi ladies, I felt so much love from and for them. Despite having a foreigner invade their Christmas party, they not only welcomed me, they even prepared a unique Christmas gift for me using their strengths – making accessories, but out of candies! Living in a multicultural country like Singapore, it can be easy to give myself an excuse to just walk past someone who is unable to understand me or may be of a different nationality, but this party has demonstrated that love should not be inhibited by such differences. In fact, I would like to think that love is an international language that no matter where one is, it can be understood and appreciated by all. Wishing one “Merry Christmas” is to wish the other joy and well wishes and I am sure that simple acts of love this Christmas would make a great accompaniment to your wishes. May this season of Christmas be a season of love as well! メリークリスマス!

    17 Ideas for a More Meaningful Holiday Season

    1. Make a plan before the holidays overtake you, and stick with it. Discuss and decide with your spouse/family/roommate, or make a written list of your plans to guide you when the days get busy.
    1. Give anonymously. Each year our family chooses a person or a family with a special need that year (unemployment, broken heater, etc.) and we have fun finding a sneaky way to buy and deliver to them a needed gift.

    1. Choose this year to decorate a little less. Clean out your decorations and deliver the still usable ones to a local charity. The very process of thinking through what you don’t really need feels good and helps strengthen your priority to simplify and focus on what counts.


    1. Give socially-conscious gifts that give back. Of course we love the Nozomi Project, knowing that all proceeds go to help the artisans and the community in the region where the 2011 tsunami struck. The theme of hope and beauty in brokenness makes for meaningful gifts (photo below). Other items from social enterprises we think are great: Trades of Hope offers great trivets and leather world map journals; table runners and flannel/kimono infinity scarves (Megumi Project); awesome leather satchels (Redemption Market);  soup and cornbread mixes (womensbeanproject.com). 

    1. Make homemade gifts! For adult projects we like these ideas: for your kids try some of these. Our personal family favorite annual gift is homemade candied pecans. We buy 18 pounds of pecans at a large warehouse store, and spend several evenings making these as a family and then giving them to neighbors, teachers, and friends. Really – these have become more popular than any store-bought gifts we might give! 

    1. Start a gifts-we-already-have-list (annvoskamp.com). Tape up a big piece of paper on a wall or door and throughout the season have members of your family write down the many blessings you are already thankful for this year.


    1. Who doesn’t love receiving a gift card? Surprise your family, friends, or coworkers with a gift card from one of these meaningful online shops: Raven & LilyTen Thousand Villages;  Nozomi Project, (Did you know you can buy, sell, and exchange gift cards here?)
    1. Friends of mine made up rules for living for one year, and carried them out through Christmas: buying only items that were local, used, homegrown or homemade. Choose any of these ideas for gift-giving and find joy in your choices. (See Craig Goodwin, Year of Plenty).
    2. Choose to help a child this season: become a monthly sponsor of a child, or send a financial or wrapped gift to a child in need. (Our family has personally been involved with Watoto has orphans in Uganda; Compassion has children in need all over the world).
    3. No time to put together an Advent calendar of gifts for your family? Make a simple Advent wreath for your table and use this for a weekly gathering time to read the Christmas story together over four weeks as a family.

    1. Think about giving life enriching experiences. A membership to an arboretum or museum; ballroom dance classes; Rosetta stone language lessons; dates with your kids; gift certificates to audiobooks.com; concert tickets.

    1. Get a group of friends together and change up your normal holiday party plans: meet at a senior center to go caroling, with each person bringing a wrapped gift of socks and a new Reader’s Digest; then go back to someone’s home for eggnog and dessert.

    1. Choose a wonderful holiday story and carve out twenty minutes before bedtime each night to gather together and read the story. A few favorites: Little Women (Louisa May Alcott), The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (C.S. Lewis); The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (Barbara Robinson); The Gift of the Magi (O. Henry); A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens).
    1. For setting perameters on gift-giving within your own family, we really like these guidelines: something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read. For this last category, this year I found a book list with themes of kindness that I used to buy books for our four children.
    1. When we pull out our stockings, we read our letters to Jesus that we wrote  back in January, as we were taking down the holiday decorations. These are letter/prayers we each write individually, beginning the year by asking Jesus to help us with a particular struggle or weakness. Even our youngest takes this seriously; it’s a great way to start the year dependent on Jesus and end it by celebrating growth.

    1. Give goats for Christmas! We decided with one group that we always exchanged gifts with, to instead pool our money each Christmas and come together and shop from catalogs – choosing to buy things like goats for a family in Africa; or mosquito nets for a village in the Philippines. Our kids AND the adults have loved the chance to not focus on us but give to those who really do need gifts like this. A few options we have used: World Vision Catalog; Compassion Catalog; Samaritan’s Purse Catalog

    1. Finally, please don’t try and do all of these things! Choose a few, live more simply, and make some new meaningful and wonderful memories this Christmas. Tell us in the comments YOUR favorite meaningful holiday traditions!

    Gospel music sings out hope to Nozomi Project

    This past week we have loved seeing how gospel music has encouraged our Nozomi staff in great ways!  

    Over the past twenty years, the genre of gospel music has grown tremendously popular across Japan.  Most Japanese will tell you how much they loved the movie Sister Act when it came out in the theatres, and since then it has popped up in both secular and Christian circles.  

    It was a great privilege last week to have Ken Taylor come and share with our Nozomi Project staff.  Ken and his wife Bola have been credited with helping to start the rise in popularity of gospel as they established many gospel choirs across Japan the last twenty years.  

    Last year, Nozomi Project partnered with the Taylors in donating to several cancer awareness causes in Japan, particularly as Bola spent her last few months on earth debilitated by cancer.  It was Bola's wish that the proceeds from her memorial concert be given to the Nozomi Project; last week Ken was able to present this amazing generous gift to our staff in an incredibly touching staff meeting.  We are thankful for the Taylor family and how they have used music to bring hope and joy to so many; and for this latest wonderful donation to the Nozomi Project in honor of Bola.

    Then this past Saturday, Nozomi Project set up a special sale for a large gospel choir from Osaka (Kansai Gospel Choir) that was visiting and singing in this region. These new friends LOVE Nozomi Project, and we love them!

     They had a great short time shopping, and at the end we were the fortunate recipients of one of their beautiful gospel songs, accapella style. 

    For information on how you too can give hope by donating to the Nozomi Project, please visit us here.