Friday, 28 January 2011

Kimono Clasp Bags

I have been rather busy recently, making clasp bags and loving it! Over the time I've been in Japan, I have been foraging for kimono fabrics at antique markets and speciality stores. I love the prints that are used and the colours can be so vibrant - it's a dream for any textile lover. So now I am combining my two loves - prints and bags! Here is an example of one of them, but you can see more at my cheeky leopard blog, or at my etsy store. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Sumi-e class

I have been going to a new sumi-e class for the last few months now and am loving it.

Sumi-e is an ink and wash technique, used to portray many of the traditional landscapes of Japan - see the above example of pine trees. Many of these are done in the black ink which is ground down and can be used in many varying shades. A lot of sumi-e paintings use colour as well and this is what I have now progressed to. The latest attempt is this painting of persimmons, which I'm quite proud of. It definitely makes it more professional looking once the stamp has been added....

Tokyo Dome Quilt Show

Yesterday I went to the Quilt show at the humungous Tokyo Dome. It's a once yearly event and really is quite overwhelming, with hundreds of stalls selling wares and a massive collection of intricately-made quilts. It was absolutely heaving, full of very little, determined ladies of a certain age, but really interesting and I also managed to buy some beautiful fabrics. I will now have to get sewing and make some more bags! For anyone who hasn't seen it yet, I now have a new Cheeky Leopard site. You can view it here.

Nabe nights

On sunday night we decided to have nabe. This is a Japanese hot pot idea, where you cook a one pot dish in a clay pot on a portable stove in the middle of the dining table. It tends to be stew or soup and you can pick at the cooked ingredients from the pot as it cooks. There is no rule as to what you can put in, so after boiling the water and adding two table spoons of dashi to it, we threw in chicken, tofu, cabbage, carrots, leeks and mushrooms. It is a very warming experience and very fitting for the cold weather we're having at the moment. It's also amazingly tasty and filling too!

Renaissance man

On saturday I joined up with my gallery group to go and see a temporary exhibition showing some of Leonardo da Vinci's work. It was held in a marquee in Hibya park and focused mainly on some of the thousands of contraptions that he had designed over his lifetime - from helicopters to stage sets to tanks aimed for use in war time. Life-size models had been made up and were intriguing to see "in the flesh". He was an amazingly rounded fella - an artist, musician, scientist and even town planner - truly a Renaissance man.

The new Tokyo American Club

We have been members of the Tokyo American Club ever since we arrived here but it was always in a temporary building while they built a grand new one at the old site. The grand opening was last week and on friday night, Neil and I trotted along to take it all in. It really is an amazing building with a large central atrium all made of glass. There is a state-of-the-art gym, sauna and jacuzzi, rooftop swimming pool, library, endless restaurants and even a bowling alley! We were in awe of it and can't wait to go back.

Friday, 21 January 2011

January Morality Poster

Well, I'm not sure what to think of January's morality poster..... At first glance it seems that this rather tall scarey woman is being robbed by a granny! I have been informed by Neil that the poster is advising you to let a granny, who can't reach the handles, hold on to your bag on the train, but I'm not convinced...

Calico Cafe

On wednesday I went to Kichijoji with some friends. It's a short train ride out of Shibuya station and a nice place to wander round on a sunny day. There is a very pretty park there, but the main draw for us was the cat cafe called Calico. You can pay by the hour to play with the cats while you sip tea. There are some gorgeous cats there and they all seemed very happy - I'm sure they are treated very well. Talking of cute cats, here's a cute link.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Little people

I couldn't resist taking a photos of these little head-scarved people guarding a restaurant entrance. Very cute!

No graffiti?

I love this sign we saw recently and the blatant nose-thumbing to authority with the motorbike nonchalantly parked in front.....

Sunday street fair

On sunday we ventured to a twice yearly street fair. I don't think we were quite prepared for the amount of other people that also decided to go, and it was freezing cold, but we had fun and I even managed to forage for some kimonos which will now be made into bags!

Saturday hike

On saturday we felt the need to get out of the city, so got an hour's train ride out to Zushi area with our friend Chris where we found some lovely hikes that took us along a river bed and through dense pine forests. It was stunning.

G'day mate!

Well, I am now officially back in Tokyo after having an amazing three week holiday in Aus. I spent quality time with my lovely family there, went to the beach on xmas day, saw the fireworks from the Opera House on New Years Eve and had a wonderful wedding party thrown for us at Balmoral Beach - a stunning place. I am attaching a few photos of my stay there, to hopefully sum up what an amazing time I had there. You can also view the party photos here.