Togakushi Shrine Misty Forest

Cedar Trees Hello Sandwich

Hello Sandwiches!

I'm sitting next to the kerosene stove heater in my little artist in residence house in Nagano, listening to the pitter patter of rain falling on the rice fields outside my door and still finding this whole experience incredibly special and surreal.

Did I already tell you that this house, this 'exact house', that I am staying in was where a friend of a friend used to live a few years ago. Everyday the world feels smaller and smaller. In 2011 I wrote this article on my blog. And now, through the wonders of the internet, Saya-chan and I have been hanging out together in Nagano where she now lives. I feel like the biggest creep 'Haaiiiiiii, we've only just met but there are pictures of you in your bath on my website!' Bwahahahaaaaaa. Ah, the internet.

Saya-chan took me, and lovely Valentina of Danish homewares brand, rice, to Togakushi's Misty Forest the other day. There was so much laughter, so much soba, so many photos, so many sound recordings and such picturesque scenery. The perfect day.

Autumn Hello Sandwich
Saya chan Hello Sandwich

This one goes out to you, sweet Adrian, (and yeah, I know, it's not centered haha). From now on I am carrying a yellow knitted sweater in my photography bag as a prop. You guys, if you haven't seen Adrian's work (I met him on this Antwerp trip), you have to head right over to his site now! Saya-chan pulled out a light meter app at one stage. Adrian, you would love shooting with her.

Mist in Forest Hello Sandwich
Moss Hello Sandwich

This beautiful mossy forest!

Misty Forest Hello Sandwich
Hello Sandwich Misty Forest

When we arrived at the entrance to Tohakushi shrine it was clear-ish, but as time passed, the most incredible mist flowed over us and turned out photos into captured dreamlike ghibli moments.

Misty Forest Hello Sandwich
Autumn Leaves in Misty Forest Hello Sandwich
Nagano Misty Forest Hello Sandwich
Misty Cedar Trees Hello Sandwich

I took some sound recordings, too. I'm hoping to try and make a track before the end of my residency. Little sound snippets to transport you to Nagano from wherever you are.

Looking up at Autumn Hello Sandwich

Nagano is truly beautiful and if you ever have the chance to visit, I would definitely recommend it! I'm forever saying how I'm a city girl but each day here I'm becoming more and more country life savvy. There was an announcement on the local 'intercom?' that is in every house here, that warned us residents that a bear was sighted in our area so we should be very careful. Apparently there are wild boars, too. Hmmmm chotto...

If I get eaten by a bear and this is my last post ever, love you guys loads!

Just kidding! I won't get eaten by a bear!

Stay tuned for more inaka Nagano photos!

Love Love
Hello Sandwich


Oh, and before I go! You guys, yesterday, the other artist in residence and I popped into the shrine next door to our houses to see the festival, and then we ended up at the enkai!!!

Enkai Hello Sandwich

OMG! How did I end up here?! Life is crazy!

Artist in residence in the rice fields!

Hello Sandwich AIR


I'm writing to you from a little rice field in Nagano where I am currently doing a 2.5 month artist's residency! This is the beautiful view from my tatami room.

Some of you might know I studied painting and drawing at university in Australia at the same time as working at Vogue Living magazine as a designer. I majored in painting and drawing for my masters degree at COFA (College of Fine arts, UNSW) but it has been such a long time since I've been able to take this time and focus on my drawing and a different sort of creativity. During my stay here I will be making a series of drawings, paintings, photographs, installations, and if I can, maybe experiment with making some music!

Hello Sandwich AIR House

This shot of our little houses was sent to me from the residency organisers before arriving. I was selected along with one other artist and we each have one of these little homes to ourselves for the duration of the residency.

AIR view
AIR view from room

The two above shots are taken from my front door. The natural soundtrack is little frogs and crickets! When it rains, it's so utterly beautiful. This is as close as I've been to camping since a trip to the Australian outback during my honours degree.

Around Nagano View
Around Nagano Tori

The artist's residency organisers have very generously taken us sightseeing around Nagano in a little van. It's ridiculously pretty out here. The air is so fresh and I feel like I'm living in a Ghibli animation.

Cloud Nagano
Walk to Combini view

The local combini is about 15 minutes walk away, but check out this view on the way! Soooooo different to my everyday Tokyo life.

Hello Sandwich Bus Stop cuties

I wandered around on one of my first days here and heard some chatter coming from this little bus stop.

"Are you waiting for the bus?", I asked, but these two cuties were just chilling out in the bus stop with their mismatched pattern outfits and apple juice cans. I really want in with this crew.

Local Supermarket

The local supermarket.

I introduced myself, but being a lovely little local town they already knew of us two artists staying here.

Local Kome

Although it's almost as if you don't need to visit the supermarket here because the local farmers keep dropping off vegetables at our doorsteps. Upon arrival I received this bag of beautifully packaged local rice, and below you can see the tomatoes that were dropped off this week. I just finished simmering them down into some fresh tomato sauce. The other artist, Yukari-chan, who lives in the house next door to me, brought along the set up for a pizza oven, so we will use this sauce for our pizza party. Soooooooo different from sitting in my Shimokitazawa apartment clicking refresh on the Dominos pizza GPS delivery website. To be honest, I'm so surprised at how differently I'm adapting to this slower pace life. I thought I would really struggle. But let's not get ahead of ourselves here. It's ten days in and I've fallen over twice (I was warned NOT TO GO OUTSIDE AT NIGHT), and I've developed quite a sophisticated bug check patrol after seeing mukade (a kind of poisonous centipede) and spiders that frighten even Australians.

Local Tomatoes
Kitchen in AIR

Getting set up in my little 80s kitchen. The morning light is divine. And I love cooking on a gas stove with a window. And I've been dyeing some fabric with these little berries.

Sunset in Tatami room

The afternoon light in the tatami room - I just can't!


And I spend my nights recharging here on this little floral covered futon. The organisers also gave me a kotatsu to use during my stay. I've wanted one for all of the 7 years I've been living in Japan!

I really want to keep a diary of this amazing residency with you all so I'll try and show as much as I can with you. At the end of each day my mind is kind of blank though. So much inspiration, and using Japanese language. I kind of blank out at the end of the day. But I'll ganbarimasu!

Love Love
Hello Sandwich

Strawberry Bus Stop Photographic Print!

Strawberry Bus Stop Japan Hello Sandwich
Strawberry Print Hello Sandwich


Remember that ridiculously cute strawberry bus stop we went to in Nagasaki? 🍓 You might have seen our journey on a 2.5 hour countryside train in the rain on my instagram story. Such a trek but well worth it as this little coastal town in Kyushu has 16 fruit bus stops! 🍊🍅🍓🍉🍈  Do you die?

Here is your chance to have a tiny slice of kawaii Japanese countryside in your home! We have some super cute prints of the Strawberry bus stop in the Hello Sandwich Shop now.

This 9 x 9 inch photographic print fits easily into standard size frames so you won't need to worry about custom size framing costs. We used the this Ikea frame.


Photographic Print
Size - 9x 9 inches
Printed in Japan
Printed on Glossy Kodak Professional Endura Premier Paper
Signed by Hello Sandwich

*Prints unframed

Head on over to the shop HERE.

Love Love
Hello Sandwich

Koichi Yanagimoto Exhibition

Exhibition Chewing Gum Wrappers

The Koichi Yanagimoto archivist exhibition at Six Factory was one of the best exhibitions I've seen in my life.

This exhibition showcased the prolific personal design collection of director, editor, writer and designer Koichi Yanagimoto, who sadly passed away recently. His collection was utterly incredible, and I had tears during my visit on the last day of the show.


Retro packaging, food packaging boxes, tickets, cleaning products, stationery, tooth paste, pencils, sauces, clips, airline tickets, stamps, napkins and sugar sachets were just a few of the things on display.

There were folders and folders of design inspiration that visitors to the exhibition were able to look through. I love to collect these sorts of things especially when I travel. I'm the weirdo at the Lithuanian hotel buffet breakfast wiping off the butter from the bottom of the label and slipping it in between my room key and phone to pop in my collection. But this collection was next level!

Banana Stickers

There was even an entire folder dedicated to banana stickers!

I loved the ANA folder which contained boarding passes, baggage tags, menus, salt and pepper sachets...And of course there was a folder dedicated to many other airlines, too.

Stress Stop

Even just one of these folders could have been an entire exhibition in itself.

Okay, I'm off to look through my little collection from my last trip to Amsterdam. You know I smuggled back an empty milk carton in my hand luggage because the packaging was too cute! Hah.

Love Love
Hello Sandwich

Studiomie, One Room Hotel, Ghent.

"It's the one with the graffiti on the gate". This was the last clue I received on my way to Studiomie, a one room hotel in a converted shipping container in Ghent. I was so lucky that the team at Walkie Talkie (Belgium's coolest PR agency) (Remember the Tourism Antwerp trip they invited me on?) recommended this little hotel to me.

As I entered Studiomie's door pin code a Euro-chic lady pulled up on her bicycle. This lady was INCREDIBLY cool. European, chic and cool. Dayum girl! Meet Mieke, the owner of Studiomie. Is there anything more awkward than being sprung by the owner as you let yourself into a strangers house. But Mieke pulled everything off effortlessly and warmly welcomed me. Those Euro-cool women. I can't even.

Mieke introduced herself and lead me up the winding outdoor stairs to the shipping container which would be my home for the night. Built with the idea partly of meeting new people, and also to hold up the structure of the front of Mieke's house, Studiomie is filled to the brim with joyful design surprises.  A fluoro tie here, a pastel knob hanger there, a scattering of HAY trays in the get the picture.

"Did it have windows?" asked my friend. Studiomie is filled with so much light even in winter, it's incredible. Mieke says she thinks of the wall-to-wall window as her moving painting. From the ground floor you can look up through this large window where "you can't see any buildings from the window, just the sky", she says, explaining how she likes to spend afternoons sitting there watching the clouds pass. In fact, Mieke says that sometimes her and her husband have a mini holiday there. Although the one room hotel is just meters away from their actual house, they pack food and whatever they might need for the weekend and staycation there. 

Inspired by Japanese 'pet architecture', Studiomie was built compact in true Tokyo style, with the most incredible attention to detail. Instead of rushing out early to explore Ghent, I spent a slow morning watching the light change and taking photos inside Studiomie. 

For such a tiny space there were so many light switches. Mieke explained how she doesn't like staying at hotels where the only lighting options are the overhead room light, the bedside lights and perhaps a floor lamp. She finds importance in creating special lighting and wanted her guests to be able to experience this same joy. The bedroom wall lights, scattered like polkadots above the bed, blew my mind. 

The butterfly mirror in the bathroom reflects a fluoro pink glow onto the white wall. Love!

Mieke doesn't offer food to her guests during the week but I would have loved to have seen what she prepared for a special weekend breakfast. On my way out to dinner the night I stayed I glanced over at her house which is across the yard from the container. In true Euro-cool form she had her windows completely open and was casually flicking through a recipe book and rolling meatballs. "She's making meatballs!" I squealed. I wasn't used to the way she was so comfortable with the curtains open. I loved this about Amsterdam, too. The way people would leave their windows open as they watched TV, sat by candlelight or cooked dinner. 

Mieke invited me into her house, which, of course, was absolutely gorgeous. Books for days. Incredible winter light which fell onto her kitchen bench and turned the foilage-intact-mandarins into a still life worthy of painting. 

Mieke was playing soft piano jazz through her MacbookPro as she worked from home on her dining table. A candle was burning, and tea was brewing. I wanted to move in. 

Mieke was kind enough to show me around her office, loan me a design travel book, and even drove me to the train station to get my train to Antwerp. If you're in Belgium you really must stay at Studiomie. Like me, you'll leave full of inspiration and with the biggest smile.

Love Love
Hello Sandwich