Twenty years ago I made my first trip to Japan. In fact, I think it was 21 years ago. I was overcome then at how beautiful the Japanese crafts are. As a culture, they are known for exquisite attention to detail, and nowhere is it showcased more than in their papers and fabrics.
Since I started In The Round, I’ve ventured into a new world of fabrics, design, crafty blogs and retail media. It is overwhelming, and I really haven’t even scratched the surface. What is also overwhelming is how many beautiful things there are out there, waiting to be made into something even more beautiful.
I have been pretty constant in my praise of Japanese fabrics since I started this blog, and it remains the case that most of my trimming fabrics are from Japan. I’m now discovering a whole new range of Japanese notions, like these gorgeous buttons….
The creativity in Japan seems endless, as the recent LMNOP blogs prove. LMNOP Editor in Chief Jenny Lacey has just been to Tokyo for the Baby and Kids World Expo 2009 and some, OK most, of the exhibitors showcased the most breathtaking products.
After reading the first instalment of Jenny’s Tokyo trip, I emailed Kate (mother of model twins and ideal friend), suggesting a trip to Tokyo. We’re off. She was as excited as me, also having past connection with Japan and keen to re-explore fabric, paper, notions, food and all things kawaii, with a slighty more mature head on our shoulders.
I’m now busy reacquainting myself with inner city Tokyo, and deliberating where we might stay. Here’s a rough guide of the very handy city layout.
A good deal of the fabric, paper and gorgeous shops seem to be around Shinjuku, Harajuku, Shibuya and Nippori (for the latter, if you’re a fabric person, Nippori Tomato seems like a must both because of its name and also because it reputedly has 5 floors of fabric, all meticulously arranged). For me, a little trip back to Mejiro is a must, because that’s where I spent 12 months at Gakushuin University learning Japanese, linguistics, Korean, and how the hell to drop the 15 kg I put on in the first few months of arriving in Japan thanks to these sorts of things…
(Image courtesy of Japan Forum)
As it turns out, I didn’t solve that last dilemma before my Dad arrived for a visit. He was later heard to say, “Christ, she looked like a Swedish weight lifter.” I think reference to Sweden was a reference to my decision, whilst large and pasty, to dye my naturally brunette hair blonde in a country which does not specialise in lightening hair.
No, I’m not going to post a shot.