. Origami Living | Japanese lifestyle Products | 日本の製品

May 26, 2015

遊中川 | Yu Nakagawa | Tama Plaza Store

A breath of fresh air to Tama Plaza station is the addition of Yu Nakagawa's Japanese design and Living shop. The station building has recently re-opened to include such Japanese megastores as Uniqlo and other Japanese fashion brands. Stocking the most sleek of Made in Japan products, I like the variety of brands under one roof each with their own district concept.

The namesake brand, Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten, is backed with over 300 years of history, by bringing to market Japanese tools for living that are not just practical, but aesthetically pleasing.

The Nipponichi range is Japanese souvenirs at their most impressive, aiming to bring together the best of local Japanese crafts from throughout the country under one name. Whereas Dainipponichi, rather than being a multi-brand shop, hopes to tell the story of local Japanese artists and the devotion that went into making a product. The hope is to awaken the customer to the passion each artist has for his local craft and to not merely preserve such items but to ignite an interest in their production. As each artist marches to their own beat they are able to show their originality and flair for their craft.

Not a stranger to Good Design awards, Yu Nakagawa Tama Plaza is well received.

May 25, 2015

Push and Co. Woodworks | Handmade Japanese Skateboards

It was only by chance that I stumbled upon the Omotesando Starlight Cafe this Saturday while trolling the Tokyo neighborhood streets of Omotesando. Drawn in by a merry crowd and small booths where visitors could have a drink, listen to live music and watch window art take form, it was hard to resist hanging around while my son played with a mochi paddle.

Some great Japanese brands on display. Particularly noted were the handmade wooden products by PUSHMANS Push and Co. Woodworks out of Yokohama collaborating with Japanese illustrators. The woodworks are customized pieces of art with a soulful hand in their creation. Never a skater myself, I can only hope that one of these hanging not so conspicuously on my son's wall would inspire such bravery and skill that is skateboarding in Japan.

Designed by Nohari

May 22, 2015

CLASKA | Japanese Lifestyle Shop

A sneaky peek into someone basket was all it took to get me craving ponzu *citrus vinegar* and tsukemono *Japanese pickles*. I never used to know what I felt like eating before Japan. It was a case of knowing I was hungry, but being indifferent about food, or rather liking it all so not specific about what I felt like on any given day. I am not sure if this is part of the process of acclimatizing to Japan, but today I had a craving again which lead to CLASKA Gallery and Shop to have a look around at their Japanese kitchenware, but most importantly their Japanese condiments.

CLASKA Gallery & Shop "DO" displays and sells Japanese traditional crafts and new products. These design items are used in everyday Japanese living and are collected by shop director ‘Takeo Okuma’. “DO” has also Gallery space which holds exhibitions from time to time. For overseas fans of CLASKA shop an overseas shipping service is also available.

May 21, 2015

CHARLEY | Japanese Mosquito Repellants 2015

The itching and scratching of mosquito bites has begun despite some cute koala stickers that I have tagged onto the kids backs before sending them off to their Japanese daycare. I have cracked open a new Citronella ornament for the stroller this Summer and have misted us to within an inch of asphyxiation, but to no avail. These Japanese mosquitoes have come in their armor in 2015 and its not going to be pretty.

Although, I may have to swallow my last sentiment after spying the CHARLEY aroma armbands. Reminiscent of tie-dye Aloha shirts and up for the cause, I thought I have nothing to lose but to give one a whirl so goodbye tennis bracelet and hello Geranium bracelet which its website writeup promises to be good for outdoor amusement. Yes, I like outdoor amusement CHARLEY. Over and above these festive Summer wristbands, is their website which brings Japanese Zakka goods to the masses. Zakka, being the collection of lifestyle goods which bring joy into everyday living in Japan. Founded in 1981, it continues to bring innovative, resourceful products to market.

Our Best of 2014 Mosquito Repellent for kids are SKIN VAPE and PERFECT POTION Outdoor Body Spray.

Let the battle commence, elegantly.

May 20, 2015

LEAF & BOTANICS | Sake for your Face

Founded in 1908 as a coal trading company,  Matsuyama began to make soap after the war. In 1995, using an old-fashioned kettle burning process, the company made "additive-free soap for the first time. Using the same kettle-fired process as was used to make the transparent soap and body soap, a shampoo was created. And so the product line was expanded to include a lotion, cream and treatment face pack, to use  after daily washing with Matsuyama soap. With the promise of no residue left on the skin after washing, the product is well suited to people of all skin types. 

With a range called Millennium Mother, I knew that Japanese skincare brand, Matsuyama was talking my language. My preference lies in an additive-free skincare range and has as little astringent alcohol as possible to avoid flare ups with my Rosacea, a skin condition I am most recently trying to get a handle on in Japan.

Although I bought these products in store, they are also available on they Matsuyama website store. I have chosen to start out with LEAF AND BOTANICS Sake Trial Kit (you had me at SAKE) which includes the LEAF AND BOTANICS Sake Face Water, LEAF AND BOTANICS Sake Soap, LEAF AND BOTANICS Sake Face Emulsion and LEAF AND BOTANICS Sake Face Massage Pack. This range contains a natural moisturizing agent, which washes away the dead skin and excess sebum and promises thick foam while maintaining the natural smell of mafuko (raw materials).

If you liked the LEAF & BOTANICS range check out superfood Acai.

May 19, 2015

Michael Creese | Impressions of Japan

With so much empty wall space, it is a gentle tug-of-war of To Cover Or Not To Cover the expanse of white wallpaper in our Japanese house. I have always preferred to keep wall-art to a minimum and on heavy rotation to keep things fresh and uplifting.

My favorite impressionist prints from Society6 and The National Gallery are currently displayed downstairs, so that the children's art ends up in frames on each others walls. They experiment with different textures, mediums and body parts to create their own Picasso's. I loved Jodie Fosters Acadamy Award acceptance speech whereby she thanks her mum for treating each of her finger paintings as if they were Picasso's and I have always hoped to do the same with my kids. 

Here is the Michael Creese Mount Fuji print from Society6 that we have in our living room downstairs. We have a magnificent view of Fuji on crisp cool mornings in Japan.

If you are as obsessed by his work as I am, it is worth checking out his Geisha print as well. This is one of his Panda prints which can be found in each of the kids rooms.

May 18, 2015

2015 Website Roundup | Japanese Wooden Furniture

It was a year to the day that we bought our wooden dining room table. After months of indecision and research we ended up with a solid piece of wooden furniture to eat on, draw on (lord help my nerves), sew on, work on, sleep on... you name it. Being the place where our family gathers and shares their day, I wanted it to be perfect and be a place that we could spend hours at. With a promise to outlast us all, I put rest to the search and called it a day this time last year.

For those of you still on the hunt for a quality Wooden Dining Room Set in Japan I leave you with my list of Japanese furniture design stores. Although the we did a hunt online I did make a visit to the store to ensure its quality. I cannot stress enough - you get what you pay for in the Japanese furniture market. However, some of the more expensive wood pieces were way overpriced for the quality so do your research in-store before purchasing online if you can. 

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