Waterproof foldable tatami mats are set to revolutionise the way we view cherry blossoms.

Japanese online retailer Felissimo has been transforming the way we decorate our homes over the years, giving us everything from cute kitten hand towels to feline screen door patches and mops shaped like shaggy dogs.

Now the popular brand is stepping outside to revolutionise the way we enjoy the great outdoors too, with a brand new take on the ubiquitous blue plastic sheet used at hanami cherry blossom viewing parties.

While the sakura are gorgeous when they blossom in spring, the blue plastic sheeting underneath them can be an eyesore. Not only does the bright blue colour detract from the beauty of the blossoms, they also have a tendency to look cheap, and the shiny, modern plastic jars with the image of traditional Japan conjured up by the delicate flowers.

Felissimo decided this was something that needed fixing, and so have come up with a new take on the blue sheet that’s set to make the cherry blossoms look that much more beautiful.

It’s amazing the difference a tatami mat can make to outdoor hanami events. The light brown colour blends into the grass beneath the trees so well that some historic cherry blossom sites already rent out large rollable straw mats like these during hanami events to ensure the focus of attention remains firmly on the flowers.

However, these rollable straw tatami mats aren’t waterproof, they catch the dirt easily, and are long and cumbersome to carry. The new ones developed by Felissimo, however, are far more user-friendly, and despite being the same size as a regular tatami mat, they fold up into a compact size that can easily be carried in a handbag.

▼ And unlike real tatami mats, these ones are waterproof. The back side is resin-treated and so can be used even on wet ground.

The new waterproof mats aren’t just a cheap gimmick, as a whole lot of thought and attention to detail have gone into their design. The material used is a thin, durable, light, high-performance recycled paper with a wrinkled texture that makes it feel like a real mat.

The patterned green edging also resembles real tatami to such an extent that it’s hard to tell the difference between the two when they’re lined up side by side.

The idea for a lightweight water-resistant tatami mat first came about six years ago, when Japan’s number one paper producer Sanyo Paper developed a crepe paper that was sturdy enough for industrial use.

The final mat is the end result of a number of design improvements, with the first sample looking like this:

▼ The print was adjusted to make it appear more realistic…

▼ And then the density of the lines was adjusted to achieve the perfect shade of tatami brown.

▼ Each tatami sheet contains so much detail that it takes 16 minutes to print.

▼ And every one is manually cut for precision edging on all sides.

Sanyo Paper and Felissimo are hoping that these new mats help people enjoy the Japanese landscape to the fullest during sakura season.

The new mats are now set to become a popular alternative to commercial leisure sheets for the 2020 cherry blossom season. Available to order now online for 2,200 yen (US$20.25) each, the tatami sheets are scheduled to be delivered from late February to March 2020, just in time for springtime hanami picnics.

Source, images: PR Times 
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