The Hello Sandwich Tokyo Guide is sold out, but can I still find a copy somewhere?
Thank you so much for your interest in the Hello Sandwich Tokyo Guide zine. I will be re-printing the guide next month (June, 2016)! As soon as the shop opens for sales I will let you know!
What is your nationality?
I am half Australian and half Lithuanian.
What were you doing before your big move?
At the same time as studying Fine Arts at COFA (College of Fine Arts) majoring in Painting and Drawing, I worked at Vogue magazines. I started on reception and moved up the ladder step by step eventually landing a role as Deputy Art Director at Vogue Living magazine. Throughout my years at Vogue Living I learnt invaluable skills in design, styling, photography, briefing photographers, creating a flow within a book, editing, pagination, pre-press, preparing files for print. I dearly loved my role as Deputy Art Director at Vogue Living and wanted so badly to be Art Director, so resigning from the company after 11 years there was a very difficult decision to make, but was also the best decision I've ever made.
Why did you decide to move to Tokyo?
Before moving to Tokyo in 2010 I had been to Tokyo ten times on holidays. Once a year, for one month, for ten years. I was obsessed with everything about this fascinating country. After so many holidays to Japan, I noticed that I felt alive here. From the people, food, design, shopping, fashion, craft, music, landscape, culture, I love everything about Japan. It’s very safe and generally speaking, Japanese are ridiculously polite. The fact that Tokyo is so crazy and surreal and so different to Sydney made it an extremely appealing place to move to. Japan offered a working holiday visa for Australians under a certain age and with that cut-off age fast approaching it was a case of now-or-never.
Tell us about the neighbourhood that you live in?
I live Shimokitazawa, which is a buzzy little neighbourhood just a few train stops away from Shibuya. In Tokyo questionnaire surveys about where young people want to live, Shimokitazawa is always one of the top three responses. It’s packed with teeny tiny six-seater bars, adorable cafes, loads of cheap and cheerful restaurants, vintage and retro clothing stores, live music venues, secondhand record stores, homewares and vintage stores.
What did you do when you first moved to Tokyo?
When I first moved to Tokyo I was freelancing for Vogue Living Magazine. However, with the flexibility of the working holiday visa I was able to keep afloat for one-and-a-half years through making zines and freelancing.
How did you come up with the name " Hello Sandwich"?
I wanted a name that referenced some of the Japanese-English I had seen on previous trips to Japan. Here, you'll often see things such as “calorie off”, “let's lunch”, or “level up”, and I wanted to reference this quirky use of English.
When did you start your Hello Sandwich Blog?
I started Hello Sandwich in 2009 as a place to record the things that inspired me; a little place to save everything so that I wouldn’t forget. A kind of pinterest, before pinterest. When I moved to Tokyo I began recording my daily life here, in a way as a diary for myself, and also as a way to share the experience and journey with Hello Sandwich readers. I would post on Japanese packaging, daily trips to the supermarket, cute exhibitions, bike rides, Tokyo suburb reviews, and snippets about craft projects or workshops I was hosting. To this day, it is so humbling that people are interested in this.
What do you love about Tokyo?
I love everything about Tokyo! This city has so much to offer on so many levels. Not a day passes without smiling at small everyday things such as a tiffany blue hose neatly positioned next to a cute potted garden, a polka dot truck, the way the courier bows when delivering items to my apartment or the way one Lawson convenience store staff bowed profoundly to apologise for having run out of steamed pork rolls.
Advice to those who would like to make the big move?
When I was deciding if I should move to Japan or not I had to Google “how to make big decisions”. (Try it sometime! Ha ha.) In the end, looking at two pieces of paper — one with my thoughts about if I DID move to Tokyo, and the other on my thoughts on how I would feel if I DIDN’T — the answer was crystal clear. Of course there are language barriers that make things like getting a phone contract, or filing your tax etc challenging. Because there are times, even after five years, when you can’t tell the difference between two products in the supermarket. Is this bleach or is this fabric softener? If you are in a position where these set-backs will upset you, it’s maybe best to move to a country where you can 100% understand the language because it could be tiring sometimes.
What is your proudest career achievement?
I adore my latest book, 'Hello Tokyo', but I am also so proud of my Japanese craft book which has been translated into five languages. This book contains 40 craft projects and ideas to make your everyday life special and cute. I can’t tell you how crazy it is to see your book in a Japanese bookstore. Something I honestly never thought could have been possible.
Can you recommend any must-sees in Tokyo?
There are too many to name! Luckily, I have reprinted the third edition of my Tokyo Guide that lists over 150 fun places to visit! It includes a 32 page book-in-book supplement where I interview lovely shop owners, suggest tips on enjoying the perfect picnic in Tokyo (from where to pick up a bento, to setting up in the best spot in the park), and even some hotel room friendly craft tutorials. It reviews my favourite Tokyo suburbs including Shimokitazawa, Harajuku, Shibuya, Kichijoji, Nakameguro, Daikanyama, Shinjuku, Omotesando, Koenji, as well as some cool up and coming suburbs. There are tips on where to rent a bike, the best bike path, the best coffee, the best craft shops, the coolest shops, the cheapest drinks, the most delicious pizza, the best izakaya, the cutest cafes, the best rooftop bar, the coolest hotels (and the cheap and cheerful hotels), the loveliest parks and soooo much more. It's a list of all of the places I frequent, making it a local insiders guide to Tokyo. Also included in the Hello Sandwich Tokyo Guide are language essentials and travel tips. It's the bloggers guide to Tokyo and if you'd like to visit the places seen on Hello Sandwich, then this guide is the zine for you. You can purchase it by pressing on the "Shop" tab in the menu.
What camera do you use?
I currently use the Fujifilm X100T and Iphone 6 and I edit my images using VSCO in Lightroom.