Sunday, November 16, 2014
This post is ridiculously overdue! Gomen!!!
I've been so busy making my third book and then I went to Antwerp and Copenhagen and now I'm back in Tokyo and finally catching up on everything.
I really want to show you some of my behind-the-scenes pictures from my new book, but first, some pictures of Antwerp.
Tourism Antwerp flew me, along with 11 other creatives to Antwerp for a week to explore the incredible city that is Antwerp. They arranged absolutely everything. My flights, hotel, week schedule, meals, activities...they even set me up with a bike for the week, a museum pass, a travel pass and a charged up mobile sim card. However, for me, the most amazing part of the trip were the incredible human beings that they curated as part of the 12 creatives. I cried like a baby as my train pulled out of Antwerp and headed to Brussels airport. Honestly I was crying so much I almost missed my train! And when the man I sat next to asked me what I was doing in Antwerp I had to pull my handkerchief out to dry my tears. But more on that later.
For now though, I want to share with you the gorgeous Bed & Breakfast This is Antwerp set me up in. I doubt that there is a more 'Hello Sandwich-style' hotel in the world! I couldn't believe it when I arrived at this gorgeous place!
Andrew from Walkie Talkie picked me up from Brussels airport. Andrew is responsible for introducing me to Trap Music - Itay - I know, I know 2000-and-late! - During the week we listened to this in the car (from 15:30, from memory).
Hanne from This is Antwerp and I had a meeting in the dining room before she left me briefly to settle in before the welcome dinner. After almost 24 hours travelling via train, plane, bus, and car, I can't tell you how special it was to arrive to such a hidden gem.
Soooo Many Instagram-able corners!
And I met this little cutie! Seriously adorable!
My new friend followed me to my room.
The cozy B&B Bakeliet has just two rooms (and the lovely owners and their children live upstairs), one of which is the Billie Holiday room, and the other is a Charlie Feathers room. I stayed in the romantic Billie Holiday room which came complete with a 1931 bathtub, garden view and record player. It was soooooo incredibly wonderful waking up each morning bathing in the bathtub and listening to 40s and 50s vinyl. I really need to get myself a record player in my tiny Shimokitazawa apartment.
I stood at this window in disbelief for the longest of times. Seeing this each morning, covered in almost-winter mist - - - I can't tell you how happy I was!
It was such a life changing week. I can't wait to share with you the other photos from the week over the next little while. But in the time being, if you're planning a trip to Antwerp, I can highly recommend the B&B Bakeliet.
Saturday, September 20, 2014
Sandwiches! It's Tokyo Art Book Fair time again! I'm soooooo sad I had to cancel my booth because I was too busy to make a zine while I'm making my new book. SUCH. A. SHAME! I love this event so much!
BUT! I at least managed to escape my HS HQ to attend the opening party. If you're in Tokyo this weekend, I highly recommend checking it out.
Bento Box Only bins! Only in Japan!
Super cute typography. Love the differences in kerning! Ha
Cutest standing bar ever. Stacks of blank books and stacks of sheets of paper as the bar counter.
Cutest friends ever. I mean - OMG!
Gracie and her zine poster! Check her booth out! Be sure to say 'SAKSUMAN' to get a free postcard with her poster zine! Booth B35.
So incredibly happy to be able to have enjoyed tonight with these cuties!
It's the first time I haven't had a booth at the Tokyo Art Book Fair in five years.
You can see previous years here, here and here.
I should really start working on my zine for 2015 now!
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
CRAFTERNOON Time! Yay!
Four hours craft workshop where you can meet new friends, make craft, listen to cute music and enjoy a lovely afternoon!
We will be decorating a little memory box using clay, stencils and Martha Stewart Crafts punches, and then some watercolour envelopes!
Saturday 13th September.
12:00 – 16:00 (With a little lunch break)
East Side Tokyo (An amazing craft shop!)
Hope you can come along Sandwiches!
日時 9月13日（土） 12:00～16：00(ランチ休憩あり)
■講師 ハローサンドウィッチ 先生
■会場 east side tokyo クラフト館
east side tokyo クラフト館
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
The above photo shows the water level line from the 2011 tsunami.
It was my first time ever to visit Tohoku for my mt workshop, and the sweetest Aya-san drove me up to Ishinomaki on my last day. It was incredibly surreal to imagine just how horrific the tsunami must have been. Aya-san lives in Shiogama which was also hit badly in the tsunami and as we drove to Ishinomaki she told me stories about evacuating on the day it happened.
Here are a few photos of Ishinomaki as it currently is. I adored it's little retro shops, cute street names, back streets and seaside location. As Hiro says 'You know it's about to rain when you can smell fish'.
I'm not sure if you can see in this small picture, but the division on the door is black and white diagonal stripes! So many great colours and shapes. I wish I could make this Hello Sandwich studio! Imagine crafternoons here, and little pop-up shop openings with people spilling out onto the street gathering and laughing together!
One of the main streets in Ishinomaki city. You might have seen this street on the tsunami footage :*(
Love this yasai shop. And those boxes with love hearts!
Cutie Aya-san and I picked up some nashi pears for Hiro.
Get this sign into my house!
Retro coffee sign.
Aya-san and I found some retro tins in this little supermarket. One of the tins was filled with 50 eggs. I really just wanted it for the tin as a prop for my new book but the store owner really wanted to confirm that we knew that there were 50 eggs inside this tin and made us ensure that we were comfortable with using them up in time. She even gave us some tips on how to put the eggs into some tupperware after opening and every few days add some water to the tupperware container.
THIS was the shop interior. Super adorable.
So, so great.
On a little walk around we found a few amazing new initiatives helping rebuild the community.
This is MakiBiz who have been working together with Architecture For Humanity.
The MakiBiz mission statement:
MakiBiz seeks to create a community gathering space to bring together all generations of the affected area to collaborate on a new model of post-tsunami recovery that can be used throughout Tohoku region. MakiBiz provides expert advice on design, construction, and business development services to affected communities in support of their efforts at building back better.
You can read more about the incredible project here.
I have signed up to volunteer and I hope they will allow me to go and host craft workshops in Ishinomaki.
On my trip to Ishinomaki, Aya-san introduced me to her incredibly talented friend Hiro. There is practically nothing that Hiro can't do. He built this home / studio by himself in eight months, he is a brilliant cook, he is a gardener, artist, designer, zine maker, community worker, music maker...
And of course he is incredibly kind, even offering to drive me back to Sendai for my shinkansen so I could stay longer in Ishinomaki.
Hiro-san really made me rethink my current practice and life in general. One of those special life changing moments. He did a three month artists residency in Ishinomaki after the disaster and while on his residency he became friends with the owner of this building (pictured above). He asked the owner if he could build a house on the ground floor of this building and live there. All went well and he moved from Yokohama to Ishinomaki to document the changes in the community.
At first sight, Hiro's home looks like a cute Tokyo cafe, or a cute book shop, with it's outside bench seat, large studio table and shop-style glass window doors. It wasn't until I went to the bathroom and saw a washing machine that I asked Hiro-san "Do you live here?" and he replied "Yes! There's a small bedroom out the back". His house is EXACTLY how I would design my dream home if I could. A tiny bedroom and a giant room with a giant table and a giant computer screen and loads of books and design materials.
Curious as to why Hiro-san's space featured large window doors and a mini shop shelf (as seen below) when it was in fact a residential space, Hiro-san explained that it was to invite the community members in so that he could chat with them and become friends with them. He tells heartwarming stories about local residents who pass and see his light on and ask "What are you cooking for dinner tonight?"..."Curry!" replies Hiro-san. And within a few hours the neighbour returns with meat and beer and they enjoy a meal together.
When I heard this story I almost cried. This is what life is all about.
A truly wonderful and eyeopening trip to Ishinomaki. Thank you Aya-san and Hiro-san!
I can't wait to return to Tohoku!