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

June 21, 2015

World Party | Japanese Rainy Season Wear

The puddles have got splashier and the journey to the train station longer as it is officially Japanese rainy season. A train trip into Tokyo this week saw me caught short without one of the many umbrellas we have in the genkan at home. On a whim I dashed into a store at the station to pick up a quick make-do one for the day.

Elbow to elbow with a gaggle of Japanese ladies, I left with one that would double up against the strong summer sun anticipated in July and August in Yokohama. I have finally become a convert of the parasol after seeing ladies glide by me under their umbrella shade looking effortlessly cool. I would like a piece of that too this summer and was loving the range by World Party.

I chose the MINI UV/RAIN UMBRELLA while others tended to prefer the longer types. Particularly cute is their RAINBAG cover and KiU Poncho for the Fuji Rock Festival in July.

June 18, 2015

TAYASUI Memopad | Kanji Practise to Infinity

If you are anything like me you have a stationery drawer full of half started notebooks with shabby looking Kanji scrawled in them. Then when I revisit them a short while (erm 5years) later I have forgotten these scribbles and the Japanese symbols they were meant to replicate. In fact these kanji are not committed to memory in any way and sit useless in my Japanese notebooks.

A simple app later I am having fun practicing and redoing these kanji over and over again until they are committed to memory. Perhaps I could have done this in a notebook, but I am loving the simplicity of the Paris based app TAYASUI Memopad. From the Japanese word for simple, Kanji practice made easy. 

June 14, 2015

TWG Tea | Blended Teas in Japan 2015

Hong Kong was amazing! I stayed in a bustling neighborhood of Causeway Bay. The accommodation was less luxurious that the branded stores alongside us, but the proximity to the nearest subway was hard to beat when traveling came into play. A short walk from Victoria Park I spent one humid morning enjoying an iced milk tea before getting my game on. Really, it is hard not to notice that the Japanese and Korean beauty brands are holy grail at the makeup and skincare counters, so I instead enjoyed anything food or beverage related this trip. The supermarkets and convenience stores had familiar Japanese chocolates like Pocky and flavored Kit Kats but it was the local brands of tea and soy milk that had me from the start.

I fell in love with not one but a few local Milk teas with variations including tapioca balls, the addition of coffee and a Jammy Lime Honey drink that I am dying to recreate! The flavors were rich and hit that thirst quenching conundrum of TEA OR COFFEE sideways. Let's do both and more - all at once. Fabulous stuff in the unforgiving heat of Summer 2015.

Souvenir-wise you cannot go home without a sampling of TWG Tea. A brand established in Singapore, I particularly like their Sakura Sakura tea and the TWG firefly tea bowl is magic. With subtle nods to countries around the globe and with Japanese stores in Jiyugaoka, Marunouchi and Tamagawa Takashimaya, I am excited to try their Haute Couture Teas starting with Geisha Blossom Tea.

June 09, 2015

NuRIE | Japanese Colouring Pages

A collaborative effort between MARUAI and Swimmy Design Lab, NuRIE coloring pages bring kids together.

There is nothing quite like seeing our kids scribbling their own creative doodles, but I like the way this can either become a group activity, to create a storyboard of endless possibilities, or become a progressive project of a single child. Given its size (1189mm x 841mm) it allows children the space to work independently as well as complete what another has left incomplete.

With differing themes, the designers have touched on the geographical elements of Japan with NIPPON PON and FUJI SUNSUN, and taken us to the outer realms with UCHU MUCHU and SEKAI CHEEZE which details the universe and other fantastical creatures. Our own favourite is newly released Animal Lab which has been great fun to explore and discuss with the kids. The challenge is to find an animal that has not been included! 

In Japanese nurie is a picture that you colour in and so with this in mind these creative colouring maps are wonderful classroom material given their gigantic dimensions and kids limitless creativity. 

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.

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