Thursday, January 27, 2011

Good morning Tokyo!

Aaah, sunshine and apple tea on the balcony. After missing home yesterday (Australia Day), today I am reminded just why I am here. A few things I enjoy about this marvellous city:

-- everyday things are pastel colours (pink trains, lavender mini-vans, powder blue cafe-stools and mint-green tiling on buildings)
-- the sense of discovery and freedom when wandering aimlessly down a new street
-- fresh hotate & maguro sushi @ cheap kaiten joints... (♥hello 300 yen lunch!♥)
-- nomihoudai and karaoke with friends
-- observing and being a part of the growing art scene... tokyo has some uber-talents!
-- coffee, cake and drawing at a cute cafe on a lazy sunday afternoon
-- s-t-a-t-i-o-n-e-r-y. nuff said. ♥
-- slowly but surely re-activating my long-faded Japanese language skills. (it's true, if you don't use it.. you lose it!)
-- meeting amazing like-minded people who share my love of cutie-pie radness.

..and many...many more.
I also feel extremely lucky to be working for an amazing company back home who allow me to work remotely from here... they make me feel pretty spesh!

Happy Thursday everyone xx

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Chuck a plugger for me, mate!

Happy Australia Day everybody! I woke up this morning feeling extremely patriotic, and began the day listening to some Farnham and flicking through photos of last year's Australia day - a fun-filled slip-n-slide bbq beer fest, surrounded by good friends and sunshine. I am surprising myself here, as I feel a stronger sense of 'missing home' on this day than I did on Christmas day. I've always said Christmas day is my favourite day of the year, and it still is... but for some reason not being home for Australia Day is stinging more than it should. Perhaps it's because tomorrow I hit the 2 month mark. Doesn't sound like long I know, but so much has happened in that short amount of time that it feels like a year sometimes, and that isn't always a bad thing...

I did a bit of googling and discovered this place, but I haven't decided if I'm going to be up for the 2-train trip after work tonight. It's not quite the same without my pals around me... (what a nigel... I'm really not meaning to sound like a big ol' sad sack here... I'm mostly happy here in Tokyo honest!) In my defense, 'burn for you' (see Farnham link above) is still playing in the background....!

In memory of a great day last year, here are a few snaps:  my good friend Krystle and her babe Brad enjoying the spoils of a you-beaut fun-in-the-sun sesh, and a shot of moi after going nuts with temp tats!

Australia... I burn for you! Sing it Farnham! xx

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Neighbourhood stroll through cutesville...

For 2 months I've turned right everyday when leaving my house. The station is that way, the shops, everything. But today I thought... "what happens if I turn left..? It's not like I'm not an ambi-turner or something..." It's this kind of subversive thinking that gets a cat into such curious situations that may or may not kill him...

But the cat will live to tell another curious tale, as 10 minutes into my aimless wander I found myself in the middle of some of the quaintest little streets featuring some of the cutest little houses I ever did see.

Absolutely delightful. Enjoy! xx

Chocolate beer & a cafe people-cat!

This people-cat is possibly the best thing I've ever seen. Exadgeration...? Only slightly.

All this excitement followed by the discovery of chocolate beer! Disclaimer: If you love beer, or chocolate, then this product is not for you. However if you are all about novelty Japanese items, then buy this IMMEDIATELY. 


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Just Another Night... new illustration!

Inspired by neon lights, 11.05pm and 'I'm not the one' by the black keys.


Friday, January 14, 2011

I Heart Tokyo Fashion!

One of the pages I check religiously, apart from hello sandwich, facebook and hotmail, is - the girls that put this together are amazing. They're always out capturing the cutest shibuya gyaru or most badass harajuku hip cat around. It's so entertaining and super inspiring for my illustrations. I get so motivated to create a new work after looking through the pages and pages of unique outfits. You can become a fan on their facebook page too, they always post the best shots there as well.

Speaking of such marvellous things, I found the cutest shoes in a store by shimokita station (north exit) the other day. Leopard print flats with candy-pink patent leather detail ~ at just Y2000, they were a must. As my friends and I always say when shopping "I'd be LOSING money if I didn't buy them." (yes, we like to dillude ourselves when getting swipe happy with the cardo).

The shop is called Oriental Traffic, and their business card has the cutest little illustration of ballet shoes on it! It's great because they not only have a huge range of completely adorable shoes, they stock larger sizes too. When I say larger sizes, I'm talking about Australian 7 to 9. If you're a 7 in Australia your feet are considered pretty small. But here, feet are super tiny so a 7 is moving toward large! I'm an 8 which I think is the most common size in Australia because they are always the first to fly off the shelves! If you're above a size 7 in Japan your choice is going to be greatly reduced. If you're above an 8 you can pretty much forget buying shoes here but online shopping will be your saviour!

If anyone else knows of any cute, cheap shoe shops around Tokyo that stock sizes above australian 7 (same as US sizing I think) be sure to post them in the comments!

I'm off to Ueno Zoo today with my darling friend Phoebe who flies home to Hong Kong for good next week. She's been living in Tokyo nearly 5 years but has decided it's time to move on. She has been an amazing friend to me here and I'm going to miss her dearly. But, I also can't wait to visit her in Hong Kong for a shopping trip! So, I told her to choose somewhere fun for today and she chose the zoo, which I'm pretty excited about. High on my list of animals to observe - sloths and snow owls!

mata ne xx

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Kichijoji, we finally meet!

I've been planning for far too long to check out Kichijoji, and still I hadn't got there (last week I posted I was on my way there, but some last minute work came up and I didn't make it!) So this afternoon I set off, camera in hand, for some kichi-style funtimes. It is just as awesome as I imagined, and one afternoon is not nearly enough, I plan to get back there as soon as I can!

I was lucky enough to score some bargain lavender heels for a giggling 980 yen! (That's around AU$12) so that really made my afternoon. I love shoes and I love bargains - when the universe allows these things to combine and find me... it's like a super happy party in my mind and heart and I silently rejoice for several hours.

Please enjoy some snaps from my afternoon wandering. The first few are taken in Shimokita not far from my house, the others in Kichi! xx

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Bittersweet Morning

Well today I woke to 2 pieces of news, one good and one bad. The good news was in the form of an email from redbubble to let me know I'd sold $170.00 worth of art prints overnight. My biggest online sale to date. Unfortunately, this joy was shortlived, as I also found out that Queensland (where I'm from in Australia) is drowning. There is severe flash flooding all over and it won't stop raining. There is talk of evacuating the houses directly along the river as it is expected to rise overnight. I can't help but feel a little helpless over here on this beautifully sunny (but chilly) Tokyo morning, so I've been keeping up-to-date with it all via facebook, phone calls and aussie news sites.

Here's a shot I found on while trawling for info (the situation is making international news!), I love this shot because it shows the true aussie spirit, which is something positive that always shines over a disaster like this one. His name's Rodney - what a legend!

One of the posters I sold features a girl standing in the rain... eerily fitting.

My thoughts are with everyone back home, stay dry and stay safe. xx

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Failure, my friend.

Hiya~ I've got a new bit of art to share with you all! As cliche as it sounds, most of my art just sort of flows out of randomness and takes shape as I work, and I rarely start with too much of a solid plan. This piece however, came together after quite a bit of careful planning and rough sketching of what I wanted it to look like - for me, a new way of working. I think the main reason being I had this line in my head that I once wrote as part of some lyrics for an unfinished song "Stitch my failure all together, sew new wings and fly forever." I always liked the use of 'all together' rather than 'altogether', for some reason I think it does change the meaning ever so slightly. (Virgo much?)

The line has been running through my head again lately, because... well... I dropped the ball. Big time. I made a pretty stupid mistake. No one was hurt and no real harm was done, however it was certainly one of those moments where you repeatedly kick yourself afterwards. Definitely in my top 3 'what the eff was I thinking (or not thinking)' moments. Let me tell you, my behind is more than a little bruised from the proverbial self-kickings. Needless to say I've been berating myself (as you do when you balls up a perfectly good plan) with the 'how and why' of it all. In hindsight it all seems burningly obvious, which makes it a slap that keeps on slappin'. I won't go into details because my back is sore from cringing, and those who know me well already know what went down. I've chalked it up to my mind being filled with so much other information that it squished out a little common sense. I've talked about this theory before.

So, that brings me back to my new artwork. "Fly With Me".

It was very much inspired by a need to release a little guilt, the anger at myself for my error in judgement. But I do believe that if not for our failures, our successes would be empty and somewhat meaningless. In fact, with no extreme to compare it to, there would be no such thing as success, we wouldn't even need a word to describe such a situation for it would just be everyday life. What a mundane existance that would be.

So thankyou, failure. But please leave it a little longer between visits next time, if you may be so kind.

Tiff xx

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Cocoa Jumbo Collage Fest!

Ace of Base is cranked, my fingers are covered in glue and my tea is stone cold. I blame Japan, and it's endless supply of art & craft niknaks, feeding my obsession and draining my yen. But it's an oh-so-fun way to starve!

Here's a little seal playing in akiba, he really loves it there. He has an obsession with novelty USB sticks so he's lovin' life.... he's like... like a seal in a USB store! Crazy!

Today I'm off to Kichijoji to explore, I still haven't been there yet and I hear it's totally neato. Will let you know what I discover!



Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Good things come in efficiently-delivered packages!

OK. So the Japanese postal service, like just about everything else here in Japan, is extremely efficient. Pros: When they say a package will be delivered between 9am - 12noon, it usually arrives on the dot of 9am. Cons: My room is on the third floor, so when I hear that doorbell ring, I have to RUN (no exadgeration) down 2 flights of stairs in order to reach the front door before they decide it's 'undeliverable' and leave! Luckily, on all occasions I've (just) made it and signed and received my package ~ phew~!

This morning I received a lovely little package from my mum back home in Australia, containing a book titled 'a life in frocks' by Kelly Doust - my mother knows me well! Not only is it about a woman's love of beautiful dresses, but it's also filled with wonderfully whimsical watercolour illustrations by the talented Zoe Sadoskierski. I've just finished reading Russell Brand's second booky wook (highly recommended!) so this will be a nice change of pace. I love having a book on the go, even though I don't often find much time to read it! also sent me some packages this morning ~ thanks amazon! Well I paid for them of course, but at least they were thoughtful enough to deliver them so promptly - I only placed the order late last night - there's that extreme Japanese efficiency again! ;)

The packages from are design books by MdN with goody-filled CDs attached (big thanks to hello sandwich for the intro!). I will be sure to share more creations as I experiment with them all! For now, here are a few little bits of play using elements from some of my existing illustrations [never say never and tokyo daydream #2] combined with a few of the MdN paper and tape bits.

And here's a peak inside the books ~~ cho kawaiiiii ne~!

mata ne!

Tiff xx

Monday, January 3, 2011

DIY postcards... my new obsession

Hiya~ it's official, I should not be allowed anywhere near ITOYA ever again. At least not if I want to eat and pay my rent. ITOYA is the most amazingly delightful, trinkety, smorgasboard selection of stationery and DIY goods that you could ever hope to get your crafty little mittens on!

After seeing so many gorgeous 'happy new year' postcards lately (a tradition here in Japan), many of them hand-made, I was super inspired to start making my own postcards for friends and family back home. But not just new year's greetings, also general everyday 'how you been' type postcards featuring a little bit of original art.

I was then reading my favourite blog hello sandwich and absolutely fell in love with her digitally collaged nangenjo (new year's postcard) designs.

Completely obsessed with the idea of DIY postcards, I have started collaging like crazy using patterned paper, bits of flyers and cute print outs, deco mt tape, stickers, and little hand drawn illustrations. Fun fun fun~!

Here's some of the loot from today's ITOYA frenzy...

I'll be sure to post some finished designs soon!

Tiff xx

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year, New Inspiration!

Greetings all on this fine day - the very first day actually, of 2011. The sun is shining and the streets are quiet. I can hear the hushed hum of silence... a few doors creaking and bin lids closing as people contemplate emerging from their party-induced comas... (and instead opt for a movie, a blanket and some ice-cream inside!).

Most of my Japanese friends have gone back to their hometowns to ring in the new year with family (as is tradition here), so today will be a quiet one - re-organising and getting things in order for the coming year and with one month down on my little Tokyo adventure, I'm looking excitedly toward the next few months in anticipation of new projects and experiences.

Here's a little peak at my final project for 2010 - a poster design for a party in Shibuya, Tokyo. I must say, this poster was a lot of fun to create! After a few requests for prints of the original design (without text) I decided to tweak it a little and create a print version too.

Well, I'm off to partake in the afore mentioned NY's day activity of movie and ice cream! Some Will Ferrell & Haagen Daz ~ perfect way to ring in the new year I think!

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