Adorable mt bike!
Polka dot escalators.
This years mt school for wrapping was set at East Side Tokyo - a fantastic craft shop in Yokohama.
So. many. tapes.
This space was set up for free use for anyone who wanted to have fun playing with mt tapes! You could relax there making craft till you're hearts content - all for free!
After participating in my workshop these girls came into the free space to continue enjoying making craft with mt tapes.
The mt team had made some lovely examples using mt tape.
They asked me to decorate these vases for their display.
The Hello Sandwich profile board!
Some of my artworks on display at the exhibition!
Such a fun event! I hope you can come along next time!
Oh and by the way, for those keen to see inside the mt factory...they are running a factory tour in May!
These are some behind the scenes set up snaps from the mt school for wrapping and exhibition at East Side Tokyo in Yokohama. mt sent me a giant box of tapes and asked me to make five artworks using the tapes. Naturally I couldn't help myself with all of those beautiful products and I ended up making a box full of craft works including books, corsages, envelopes, bags, tags and so on. (um, most fun commission job ever!)
I headed off to Yokohama to hand deliver the craft works. When I arrived the mt team were sitting around a round table busily covering little polystyrene birds with mt tape as part of the installation. A few awkward bows on my behalf and I was pinching myself to think that here I was, chatting with the mt team and having the opportunity to show them artworks I've made with their product. gahhh! Before I moved to Tokyo I could have never imagined that I would be able to do this. When I presented my works two sweet girls from the design company kindly squealed 'kawaiiii', 'kawaiiii!'. Mission accomplished.
The set up looked like so much fun and I desperately didn't want to leave so I asked if I could help at all...before you knew it I was part of the bird taping team, chatting in (my terrible) Japanese and covering everything with masking tape. I stayed for five hours this way. Making a mt covered 'workshop' sign and decorating vases for the exhibition display. Just to be in the same room as the mt set up was pretty incredible for me.
There were boxes of mt tapes everywhere! The installation team were working hard to cover everything in mt tape.
They had made a little wheel display for the workshops with my portrait!
This is the area where I hosted my workshops.
The mt truck!
The mt team made these cute envelopes for the display!
About 9pm I left Yokohama with a smile ear to ear. One of those amazing days that I never thought I would get to experience, but so incredibly happy that somehow they asked me to be a part!
I can't wait to show you pics of the workshops and exhibitions in my next post!
This is a little sneak peek into ordinary daily Hello Sandwich Tokyo life. It's not much, but I absolutely love it. Sometimes I see my rubbish in my bin full with all the Japanese labels and it strikes me that I live here. When I was living in Sydney I used to spend a fortune at the Japanese supermarket so I could have 'Japanese shampoo' or 'Japanese kirei kirei' hand wash and now those things are normal everyday products but still so exciting for me. I'm not sure when this living-in-Tokyo-honeymoon is going to rub off but I'm going to keep enjoying it while I can, and if it's okay with you, I'll keep showing a few more snaps!
View from my bed. I once wore that shirt to an important meeting with my editor at VOGUE Living. I love that shirt. I always think that I should wear it more often.
I love how many little Tokyo cafes have a sweet little single stem of flowers in the teeniest if vases on each table. This cute cafe (which is in my new Tokyo guide out later this year) hand made little fabric bows on a stick in lemon and coral. gahhh so cute!
In my Kitazawa area we need to cut up and flatten our juice cartons for recycling, but as you know I have a thing for Japanese packaging so I cut my juice carton into this mini temporary vase. The mimoza at this time of year is so pretty! I've been given two bunches lately and I just love it. It reminds me of Australian wattle, only it's a mini-me Japanese sized version :)
These pretty little flowers were a gift from My Y on White Day.
I went to Kazumi-chans house (my Japanese craft idol) recently and she made a delicious かぼちゃとにんじん soup that I've been making ever since. It's basically onion, pumpkin, carrot sauteed with water, blended and finished off with some milk and consommé stock.
I love spending the time to walk home rather than take the subway. I wonder home stopping to take photos and discover new places. This shot was taken on the walk home from Shinjuku.
Salads and colourful spring bento boxes for lunch.
I'm still at the stage where I giggle a little when I see 'sea chicken' on tuna cans. Apparently you know when you're been in Japan for too long when you don't laugh at Japanese English. I will do my best until that day!
Spending time in front of the mirror plaiting my hair into different styles with scarves.
Digging out some earrings I bought from Australia is always fun.
Keeping warm with hot green tea from vending machines while waiting for trains at my local station.
The words you learn! ha ha.
It's been a long time since I've made onigiri. In Australia (embarrassingly) I had a triangle mold for my onigiri but I made this giant and kind of oddly long shaped one by hand. It has tuna and mayo inside. It's the gaijins safety version of onigiri. One day I'll be proud of myself if I can select the 梅 one in my local Lawson.
Exciting times in Shinjuku! My favourite craft shop is in this building! It's also in my new Tokyo guide!
I. will. never. get. sick. of. this. place.
Shibuya Hachiko crossing looking so pretty in the glistening rain with colourful umbrellas.
Looking down at Yoyogi-uehara.
There are some not so nice times too. Yesterday I watched on TV the tsunami warnings for much of the North coastline of Japan. Many towns were evacutaued but luckily this time the tsunamis were only very small. Later Tokyo was also shaken with a magnitude 6.1 quake off the coast of Chiba. I was just outside the supermarket at that time and heard everyones quake alarms go off and people froze and looked up at the shaking buildings. A few seconds later it was life as usual, I headed in to Ozeki and bought my groceries from a cheery shop assistant. Tokyo Life.
I did however, leave my jacket and bag a little closer to the door that evening thanks to the NHK warnings of aftershocks. I also googled 'Tokyo quake alarm iphone apps' to see if there was anything other than the one I already have.
Back to Tokyo-cute, how adorable is this handmade menu in a canal side Nakameguro cafe!
Love hearts on tomato packaging. Never in Australia. But often in Japan.
It was the last day to hand in tax in Japan today. It was also my first time to hand in tax in Japan. The experience was so interesting. Select your area, line up here, line up there, fill in this form, take your form to that nice man who is waving so politely and bowing a lot who will 'ごあんないします' your PC spot, follow the instructions of the nice Japanese lady wearing the blue flammable jacket and fill in your form online, take your folder to the print corner and scan your little tag - and wow - your tax return prints out, finally check with another polite man and finally put in in a little post box style box marked with your suburb. Incredible really. And very Japanese.
By the way, did you know Tokyu Hands in Shibuya now has a cafe? I haven't been up yet but I spotted this sign on the way to...
THE NEW MASKING TAPE CORNER!!! It's amazing!!!
check out the floor and walls covered in tape! I was in heaven looking at all of the new mt tapes and then I heard 'Ebony-san?' and it was my friend who is a stationery buyer for Tokyu Hands who was working there at that time! She gave me her special staff ID card for using at the register and we had fun talking about crafts and workshops! Sometimes I find it too good to believe that I can bump into lovely people with to-die-for jobs in Tokyu Hands at Shibuya and in some incredible way they know my name! gah!
Tokyo life is not complete without mega beers at a new favourite bar in Shimokitazawa (again - I'll write about it in the guide) They make a delicious salad here with parmesan and coriander. I've been trying to DIY it at home too. shhh.
When I run out of coffee I make this hobos version of instant coffee.
The occasional night time trip to Lawsons. This time I was stocking up on tape nori. I bought four. The guy must of thought I was nuts! How on earth can anyone use more than 7 meters of tape nori in one night...well, if there is anyone, it's Hello Sandwich!
Of course I've been making lots of craft lately too - I'll update those photos soon :)
The new issue of Oz magazine is a zakka special! It's filled with cute zakka shops to visit in Tokyo and some DIY craft ideas. You can have a sneak peek of the issue here.
And I'm so excited because Hello Sandwich Craft Workshops at Shibaura House are mentioned in the issue too!
I hope you can come to some Tokyo workshops this year. The first Hello Sandwich workshop for 2012 is February 11th at Kusakanmuri and other upcoming workshop dates for both locations are:
If you're in Tokyo I hope you might be able to come along! Details to follow.
I am in this months Frankie magazine in the homebodies section! It's a little article about my teeny Tokyo apartment and daily life in Tokyo. I'm so excited to be in Frankie Magazine because I really love that magazine. When I moved to Tokyo I subscribed to it so I could get my Aussie fix. Thank you Frankies for including Sandwich in your mag. xoxo
Thank you so much to Boco-chan who photographed my portrait for me! Boco-chan also photographed our Kawaii Wrapping Materials Book! She is the best!
What do you do?
I am an Australian designer, artist, crafter and zine maker living in Tokyo. Before I moved to Tokyo I worked at VOGUE Living magazine for 11 years most recently in the position of Deputy Art Director. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make leaving my job as I loved it dearly, but Tokyo is such an incredible city and I’m so happy living here.
Describe the flat.
Hello Sandwich HQ is a teeny 38square meter apartment on the third and top floor of a small apartment building in Shimokitazawa, Tokyo. It’s South facing which in Tokyo means it’s super sunny. According to the Japanese real estate system it’s 2DK (two rooms plus a dining area and a kitchen area) which is quite standard for a Tokyo apartment. The thing I love most about this apartment is it’s location. It’s only 4 minutes on the train, or a ten minute bike ride to Shibuya where I like to hang out and go shopping.
How long have you been there?
We’ve been living here since I moved to Tokyo in June 2010. I picked the apartment from a Japanese real estate search website while I was living in Sydney. When I arrived it was so much smaller than I thought. I remember thinking it was like a Barbie dolls house (like many things in Tokyo that seem to have been shrunk). My tall guy friends can touch the ceilings and have to duck under doorways!
What’s the neighbourhood like?
Shimokitazawa is a buzzy and creative neighbourhood frequented by students. It’s little side streets are dotted with vintage clothing stores, cute cafes, izakayas, and we have our own Muji here. It’s the kind of neighbouhood where you can get to names basis with the café staff, pick up a handmade present from a zakka shop, stock up on essentials at the supermarket, see a band at night and enjoy a few drinks at a cute six-seater bar. You could get by day to day life without ever leaving this neighbourhood.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Sydney. Before moving to Tokyo I lived in Darlinghurst and afterwards in Annandale.
How is your current location different?
Ooo - everything is so different. I think that’s part of the appeal for me. The streets near my apartment are teeny and windy and when I first moved here it took a few weeks to work out how to get home from the train station. At 5pm every day there is a bell which always brings a smile to my face, the supermarket stocks vegetables I’ve never even heard of, and there is always a new shop or street to discover. When I have free time I walk around or ride my mamachari (grandma style bike) around taking photographs of these details that are so unique to me.
How would you describe your decorating style?
I like to collect retro pieces from the 50’s and 60’s particularly those in coral, mint and lemon yellow colourways. I love collecting quirky pieces like my Goose lamp and I have a soft spot for ditsy florals, table cloths, crochet blankets and polka dot ceramics. Unfortunately when I moved to Tokyo I had to put all of my furniture in storage and I desperately miss my checkerboard pastel coloured tiled coffee table. I’ve always wanted one of the mini ice cream cone lamps that you see outside shops in Japan for my apartment. If you see one for sale can you let me know pretty please?
Where has most of your stuff come from? (secondhand, local markets, handmade?)
When I was living in Sydney almost all of my furniture came from second hand shops but in Japan it’s become a bit of a mix of old and new. In my Shimokitazawa mini-me apartment pieces from Muji and Nitori (Japanese Ikea) are mixed with local retro secondhand furniture shop finds.
What’s important to you in a living space?
First and foremost is light. For me it’s essential to have good natural light.
I would really love to have a little garden, and one day it’s a dream of mine to have a garden studio shed, but in Tokyo it’s impossible for me. At the moment, just living in Tokyo is incredible enough!
What’s your favourite item in the flat and what’s the story behind it?
My little Goose Lamp is my favourite item in my Tokyo apartment. I picked it up from a second hand furniture shop near my house. There is a restaurant right near my house which has the identical (but with a yellow beak) one outside their shop front. I wish mine had a friend…but I’m not one to steal!
What’s your favourite memory that’s taken place in the flat?
This February 17th I woke up to a white winter wonderland outside my window. It was amazing to see snow covering my balcony and all of the rooftops visible from my window. I got dressed as quickly as possible and rushed outside to take photos and listen to my footprints crunching the snow. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.
The scariest memory here was March 11 in the giant earthquake where my entire apartment shoot and things were broken everywhere. It was terrifying.
What goes on in the flat – do you work from home at all?
I work from home so after my morning coffee and reading my favourite blogs, my apartment becomes Hello Sandwich HQ. Here I make craft projects, photograph projects for my new book, write trend reports, design, update Hello Sandwich and work on various other design projects.
How about entertaining, are you able to get many friends in? (describe some of the parties/events you’ve been able to have)
Some of the first guest to arrive in my apartment was a team of BNN book editors and a photographer who came to photograph me for their Girls Zine book. It was the morning they were due to arrive and I suddenly realized I didn’t have slippers for each of them to wear in the apartment. I felt very un-Japanese and spent the start of the meeting apologizing to them with a very awkward bowing action.
I’ve since bought about 8 pairs of slippers for a Christmas party I had last year. For our Christmas party I transformed our study desks into a makeshift large dining table by joining them together and covering them with a giant table cloth. I didn’t have enough chairs for the 8 guests who came so some guests ended up sitting on the edge of the bed. Ah – Tokyo life!
It’s my dream to have a nabe party…a popular style party in Japan as the months get cooler where everyone sits under a kotatsu (heated coffee table with blanket attached) and eats nabe.
Since moving to Japan, what have you learnt about the art of living in small spaces from the locals?
The good thing about Japan is, because of the limited space, they have devised so many great storage solutions, boxes and compartments all which are beautifully designed in a quintessentially Japanese style. I’ve had to buy some pretty clever storage solution furniture such as stackable boxes from an online shop. The 100 yen shop has been a great help with sorting all of my craft things.
I imagine storage is an issue – have you come up with clever space savers or just gone minimal in your possessions?
Sadly, neither. I’ve just got pretty good at tetras! I can slot boxes of craft goodies into my cupboard faster than you can imagine.
What is ‘home’ to you?
Home for me is Sydney, where my family and best friends are. It's like the Qantas ad ‘I still call Australia homeeee’.
(Thank you to Kiera for posting the images on Instagram)