Aka Kuroguro Table for Two

This month I am sharing posts that are Oriental inspired, on a variety of subjects.  Although I like a full table, and I don’t mind a bit of clutter during certain times of the year, this Japanese inspired table for two begins with simplicity.  Aka Kuroguro means Red and Black, so it is the name of this tablescape idea.  In Japanese culture, colors have significance, and many meanings for each one. Among other meanings, red is the color of joy, happiness, and love, and black symbolizes mystery in this context.  I found this artificial bonsai at the store the other day, and knew I had to get it for today’s tablescape.  By the way, did you know that bonsai is pronounced “bone-sigh”, not “bahn-sigh”?  It came in a black vase, and I set it on a black lacquer serving tray with an Oriental feel.  A dark red tablecloth is the base of the tablescape.

Oriental Inspired Tablescape at From My Carolina Home

The place settings begin with a thrift store find of red and black placemats.  These are plastic, but made like the bamboo ones.  I added black napkins with red napkin rings.

Oriental Inspired Tablescape at From My Carolina Home

In the Japanese tradition of using odd numbers, there are five dishes in the place settings, plus the sake cup and chopsticks.  Typically there would be two bowls, one for rice and one for soup, but I only have one bowl.  It will hold rice, since I don’t plan to have a soup course with this meal.  The two square dishes will hold the main course and vegetables, while the smaller dishes at the top left hold sauces.  Everything in the settings except the napkins were all thrift store finds at different times and three different cities.

Oriental Inspired Tablescape at From My Carolina Home

In proper Japanese table settings, the chopsticks are placed with the points facing to the left, with a holder to keep the points off the table.

Oriental Inspired Tablescape at From My Carolina Home

The table is very simple, no flatware this time, just chopsticks.

Oriental Inspired Tablescape at From My Carolina Home

Three red votives sit on a small riser with three levels to complete the centerpiece.

Oriental Inspired Tablescape at From My Carolina Home

Light the candles and admire the form of the bonsai.

Oriental Inspired Tablescape at From My Carolina Home

Lower the lights and enjoy the ambiance of the evening.

Oriental Inspired Tablescape at From My Carolina Home

Now, all we need is a Japanese inspired dinner!  I’ll be giving you three new recipes and some additional meal ideas in the coming weeks.

Asian dinner at From My Carolina Home

For more ideas, see my Romantic Table for Two in Paris from last Valentine’s Day hop with links to recipes for a romantic meal, and Valentine Breakfast with my depression glass plates and white lace theme and a link to my Popovers with Black Cherry Creme.

For even more romantic tables, visit the wonderful bloggers on the Romantic Tables for Two blog hop sponsored by Chloe at Celebrate and Decorate.  With my post on Friday, all the links are live to the participating blogger’s tablescape posts.  Have fun!

Romantic Tablescapes 2018


Home is Where The Boat IsBelle Blue InteriorsEveryday LivingA casa di BiancaPMQ for Two


Life and LindaKnock it Off KimMy French TwistRed Cottage ChroniclesOur Crafty Mom


Bluesky at HomeThe Painted ApronThe Little Yellow Corner StoreThe Corner of Plaid and Paisley
Living With Thanksgiving


At Home With JemmaDining DelightPanoplyHome and Gardening with Liz


From My Carolina HomeMe and My CaptainThe Red Painted CottageCelebrate & Decorate

Oriental Inspired Tablescape at From My Carolina Home

 Are you planning a romantic meal for Valentine’s day?

Tablescape Books and Ideas at Amazon

29 thoughts on “Aka Kuroguro Table for Two

  1. How creative to use Aka Kuroguro as a theme for a romantic tablescape! The lights and ambiance of your candles are perfect for enjoying your bonsai. I’ve been perusing Asian-inspired recipes recently in celebration of Chinese New Year – The Year of the Dog.

  2. Rita C.

    Carole, I love you exploring this Japanese theme in this tablescape as well as the garden post prior. The meaning behind the colors and layout are new to me, and I love learning. I have a certain attraction to Asian decor, and was lucky enough to win a set of celadon dishes once at auction which belonged to a missionary at the turn of the century. This table is beautiful in its simplicity, the bonsai is gorgeous. A wonderful alternative to the Valentine’s Day theme. Thank you!

  3. Your post is so interesting. I enjoyed learning about the meanings of the colors and proper placement of the table elements.
    I think you were so clever to educate us and incorporate several posts prior and after this one continuing your theme. I will be checking them out as time permits.
    Love the look of your food!

  4. Kari

    Very pretty Carole…I have a Japanese tea set that I use for cherry blossom time and I just love the dishes and food. Lovely tablescape.
    Kari @ Me and My Captain

  5. karenfae

    such a pretty table – I love bonsai plants I used to have one but after I killed it I didn’t get any more – at least I did manage to keep it alive for almost a year

  6. Ann P

    I love this. I had no idea about Japanese culture. Thank you so much. Maybe I will be able to surprise our Son and his family in Japan with my knowledge. I look forward to more posts.

  7. Truly lovely! I greatly enjoyed your Asian-inspired tablescape. The bonsai tree looks incredibly real and makes for such a lovely centerpiece. Your table certainly exemplifies the true loveliness of the Japanese culture. So much to be celebrated. Your evening photos make the red pieces stand out. I can see why it symbolizes joy and happiness. Your food items looks so wonderful. I can’t wait for your recipes.

  8. So beautiful and so different!! What a great way to celebrate a romantic evening, your table is so dramatic, and just promises a wonderful experience! Love the bonsai on the perfect black lacquer tray, and the wonderful curved candle holder~ so fabulous Carole!

  9. What a wonderful interpretation of this romantic table for two theme! its such a clean, sharp look. I didn’t realize I had been saying bonsai wrong all these years. I had been thinking of doing a table for the Chinese new year – but I know nothing about the Asian culture. You have enlighten me! Thanks

  10. Carole, Thank you for sharing something a bit different. Where did you get the idea for creating a Japanese Valentine table? My husband raises bonsai so that’s a really interesting way to bring them into a tablescape.

  11. This is so warm and inviting. I do enjoy Asian inspired themes. I liked reading the information about the name Kuroguro and what it means and about the odd numbers . You did a wonderful job with your black and red theme. The bonsai tree sets the scene- what a great find!

  12. debdevo

    I love the entire table scape, but am particularly taken with the riser that the votives are sitting on…any idea where you got that???

  13. Carole, I really enjoyed reading about your tablescape you created. Our oldest son and family lived in Japan for 3 years so I visited them three times. I never really learned about the colors, but I was taken to a restaurant and a tea house where we sat on the floor. If given a chance, I would go back there again. I loved the people and their culture. I’m hoping to scan and share some of my photos and experience on my blog. Anyways, just loved your tablescape!

  14. Carole, your table is lovely. I love the Asian inspired table. So much to learn about the Japanese culture.. Bonsai is a such a wonderful addition. Eating with chopsticks is fun! Slows down my eating process…LOL

  15. There is something so refreshing about a simply set table with a striking colour palette and unique centerpiece – I so enjoyed seeing yours! Love the idea you’ve come up with and how you incorporated it into a Valentine tablescape. My hubby and I love Japanese food and you’ve inspired me to try setting the table a bit differently for when we order in. And I just might need to check out your upcoming recipes and make our own!

  16. Carole, a lovely table and a perfect setting to inspire time spent engaging in meaningful conversation. The bonsai is beautiful. I have a great appreciation for bonsai as my mom knew how to bonsai shrubs and plants. A most informative post.

  17. This is a new style for you….how fun to experiment with a new culture of dining. Can you believe I have work till 8:30 pm on Valentines having parent conferences. ARG! Enjoy your Valentines!

  18. Belle Bleu Interiors

    Carole, what a lovely Japanese inspired table! The food looks scrumptious!!! I hope that you have a Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

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