⟨ Misc ⟩

The waxed paper bag by Matsunoya

Please wash after use

Texts and Photography / Ron Lam
Translation / Iris Heung

這個紙袋已給我洗過好多次了,把鬆餅帶到朋友家時,從朋友家帶走橘子時,都是依靠它的。沾滿了泥土的小芋頭、美麗如寶石的糖果、枯萎的小樹枝、鮮艷的楓葉,它都一一盛載過,又一遍又一遍地給清洗過,現在終於在我的案頭好好靜養,守著我的迴紋針與小夾子。

以為它伴著我,已算是身經百戰,但想到以前日本街市內的魚販,多以它來包裝鮮魚。濕答答的魚兒長著尖銳的魚鰭,它卻仍然堅固,不漏出半滴水,便知道我給予他們的任務實在不足掛齒。

替松野屋產作這款蠟引紙袋的,是一家擁有六十多年歷史的小工場,以蠟糊在紙張之上,使其極為耐用。以往除了魚販及菜販會以之來包裝貨品外,還被製造成為米袋,可見它的靭度。蠟引紙袋買回來時,表面光潔淨滑,稍被一捏,折紋便清晰可見。堆堆疊疊的折紋,為原來素淨的袋子添加了剛毅的表情,更覺討好。

I have washed this paper bag over and over again for countless times. I rely on it to pack some scones for my friends and get some tangerines from them. Be it a taro still covered with soil, glittering candies, a withered stick, or a bright red maple leaf, this very paper bag has never failed. Finally, it is now standing at peace on my desk, quietly protecting my paper clips and binder clips.


I thought my paper bag has already endured a lot, but it suddenly came to my mind how these bags were used for packaging fresh fishes in Japanese wet market in the old days. Those fishes must be dripping with sharp fins all sticking out; the bag, however, still did its job by firmly holding every drop of liquid in. On this second thought, I realized the “missions” I assigned to my bag are pretty much nothing.

The workshop that produces this waxed paper bag for Matsunoya was established more than 60 years ago. By coating the paper with wax, these bags become much more endurable. In the past, this kind of bags was used to package fish and vegetables, its function also extended to packaging rice, which was a perfect proof of its strength. A new waxed paper comes out shiny and smooth but when slightly crumpled up, the wrinkles will get clearly visible. These webs of wrinkle lines only add a lovely rustic touch to the bag.