. Origami Living | Japanese Living and Design Products | 日本のデザイン製品

October 06, 2014

Meri | Japanese Knitted Slippers

With a booth at the Tokyo International Gift Show, Meri lends a stylish touch to the obligatory Japanese slipper. Absorbing the embarrassment of not having slippers to offer my barefooted guests this week, I promptly made a beeline for some comfortable indoor footwear.


Having always relegated our thong-type of footwear to the summer months, I plan to match the Meri knitted slipper to my new glove-socks for the cooler months in Japan. They are suitably cheerful for the upcoming Winter.

Of course I need the largest size they come in before have to enter the realm of "made to order".

September 19, 2014

Marusa Balloons | A Contemporary Communication Tool

A cheery collaboration, Marusa Balloons are designed by h concept and Asano design studio. Through a  happy rainbow of colours and designs, the new range of balloons speak to children and adults alike. The balloons are produced by the only remaining balloon-making factory in Chiba, Japan that still use traditional manufacturing techniques. 



A fantastic addition to kids craft time, Marusa balloons can be filed with air, water, azuki beans or flour to provide a range of sensory experiences. Of particular interest to my toddler was the animal range, available in mammal D (Dino) or mammal P (Pig). Our little scientist was later amused by the colour-changing hen-shin balloons, which reminded me of my youth collecting mood rings with colour-changing stones. I appeared to always be of calm temperament thanks to my cold hands.


I can already envision a time and a place for their two-toned balloons at a birthday or their dripping balloons for a Japanese Halloween in Yokohama (with a nod to tv-serial killer Dexter and his blood-splattered slides of course). Regardless of the occasion that the company has in mind, balloons bring people together. It bridges a generational divide, gets people gifting each other and encourages a party of balloon-blowers to work together to bring smiles to friends faces. The ultimate tool of communication I would say.

September 17, 2014

Book Depository | Haruki Murakami

With the addition of an August baby to our household, I was frantically searching for books to reassure our toddler that bouts of crying and fussing were to be expected, but that with the wails came new exciting moments to treasure.

One of my go-to stops for all things book related is Book Depository. As an expat living in Japan it is often hard to come by English books for kids with low shipping rates, so the prospect of free delivery worldwide was particularly appealing. With a Wishlist in hand for some of my favorite kid books for Older Siblings, Halloween and Autumn, I was happy to discover that this month is Japanese author, Haruki Murakami's, month.


A little discount atop the reasonable price was a welcome surprise. I hope to while away the first month or two of sleepless feeding schedules with the newborn with some of his books in hand, Colorless Tsukuru being the first.

Haruki Murakamis Colorless Tsukuru

August 05, 2014

FRAMED 2.0 | Digital Art for Everyday Walls

A collaborative effort by Taiwanese and Japanese designers, Framed 2.0 has catapulted into the global artscene with gusto. Bringing digital art out of museums and into our everyday lives, it is revolutionary in its concept, but accessible in its design. With my current indecision of wall art for our Japanese home I am intrigued. My preference of peculiar art is wildly tamed into classic impressionist pieces due to the durability factor. Oh how this could transform our home.

With skills in web programing and software engineering, paired with their joint experience in product, graphic and interior design, the deft design team operating out of Tokyo and Taipei have created a winning product in digital wall art for the masses. This is most evident by its rapid climb in popularity on Kickstarter, seamless smartphone integration and timeless design.


I am particularly taken with the handcrafted walnut finish on the frame and the ease of canvas customisation. I foresee parents the world over letting the toddler take the helm and decorate to their hearts desire without the worry of cleanup.

August 02, 2014

Yaetoco | Organic Japanese Skincare

With the humid Summer heat in Japan and my disinterest in a fully made-up face, I have been focusing on basic skincare all the more. Alarmed that one of my favourite scrubs used microbeads, it was immediately tossed and I have been looking for something more gentle, possibly organic, to replace it with. In fact a trip to a dermatologist in Tokyo last year only confirmed that my sensitive, fair skin does not need the extra exfoliating (a muslin washcloth would suffice).

Now, with the new baby on the way (hello nesting!) and a toddler who has taken a liking to anything that is mine, I thought a  gentle versatile family soap would be ideal. Always keen to streamline our bathroom products and finish something before starting another product, I was hesitant to follow my instincts and buy Japanese brand Yaetoco’s  entire range, but the citrus scent and creamy lather of the facial soap will have me going back for some of the other products before long.

I have my eye on their scented mist having only good things to say about the soap. I like that it is produced locally in Niigata and there is nothing more delightful that the scent of Japanese citrus fruit peelings.


August 01, 2014

Merrier BEAMS | Maternity Wear Japan

I am not sure what it is that made me start to look at gorgeous maternity wear in Japan at the eleventh hour of my pregnancy, but earlier this week I found myself perusing the sales both in-store and online for a supporter belly belt. I have one from my previous pregnancy (which I never wore due to the heat) and wanted to find one that cupped my belly in a breathable fabric in these last couple of weeks while I bounce around Yokohama for meet-ups and shopping.

I have also fallen in love with the maternity range by Japanese fashion retailer Beams called Merrier Beams. I love the sweet, chic and effortless style of their range. What specifically stood out was a gorgeous polkadot skirt and their print pants. Unfortunately, I missed the boat on this brand and their easy online navigation, categorised by trimester, but fortunately had some lovely maternity clothes from Monsoon and Accessorize during my pregnancy. Despite shying away from typical maternity wear during both my pregnancies, it is good to know that there are stylish maternity brands available in Japan are my favorites are on sale now too!

Maternity Dot Skirt by Merrier BEAMS

For more local maternity fashion advice for those living in and around the Tokyo/Yokohama region I regularly check in with Tokyo Urban Baby. Invaluable advice for expectant mums and mums with kids in Japan.

July 29, 2014

Kaneko Kohyo Pottery | Fuji at the Dinner Table

Hailing from Gifu, an area renowned for its porcelain manufacture for the past 1 300 years, is this crafty ode to Mount Fuji by Kaneko Kohyo. Obsessed with anything Fuji related, I loved the simple striking design and the bold use of colour on this fashionable condiment grater.

Commonly used to grate ginger, wasabi and Japanese radish (daikon), condiments so integral to Japanese cooking, I thought it the perfect gift for friends who love to cook and like to surprise their guests with some table grandiosity. Even better is that the condiments are served at their freshest which is key to authentically creating Japanese dishes. I have quickly learned the difference in taste by using tubed ginger paste to self-grating and admittedly have never tried grating my own wasabi - a Fuji challenge for another day.

As a number of Fuji goods are often so hard to identify during their intended use (Fuji bowls that only appear as such when turned upside-down), I liked that this Fuji grater maintains its mountain-like appearance all while the workers guests apply the elbow grease.

Fuji Grater

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