Sunday, February 27, 2011

You made us this way...

I'm very excited to be working with the marvellous Takara Gallery (Japan) again, on a new t-shirt design for their online store. They've stocked some of my designs in the past which I mentioned here. Below is a peak at the latest design... I can't wait to see it printed, the folks at Takara Gallery are true screen printing pros and I'm completely chuffed to be working with them.

After the initial screen print design, I wanted to keep playing around a little so decided to rework it with some fabric and paper textures for the print version... enjoy! xx

The shirts will be available from Takara Gallery very soon, and the print versions are available through my online store. Happy days~! Tiff xx

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Some fun in Harajuku...

Besides the grumpy business man on the street in Shinjuku (CHILL man.. you bumped into ME!) today was a very nice day indeed. It began with some design work (fun design work though... event poster!) then continued with a coffee & panini lunch set (600Yen... WIN!) at my new favourite breakfast spot - Segafredo in Shimokitazawa. Great food, delish coffee and most importantly, an awesome people watching spot!

Then I made my way to Harajuku where I checked out Design Festa Gallery - so much awesome work going on there, very inspiring place.

An alley next to the Gallery

Gallery façade... (yes, I always look for an opportunity to use the word façade)

I'm in the process of gathering some work (and mustering the courage!) to exhibit there soon.. they rent space out per week and even per day in some areas! Check out some of the inspiration I stumbled across...

The cute deers illustration above is by TOHGOH (see website in pink on cute handmade meishi!)

This awesome postcard illustration is by EKiMAEDO-Ri

After the gallery, I did a spot of shopping at Momo Wonder Rocket, and scored this awesome lace cape for just 1900yen! And a cute aqua chain-heart ring for just 100yen. Ah, I love Harajuku!

Also found this gorgeous little shop called Marble Sud ...decorated with vintage deer ornaments!

Super cute interior, and check out their sweet little meishi!

I finished the afternoon with a visit to the lovely Chie of Watanabe Hair. She really is "the best hairdresser in Tokyo" (Harper's BAZAAR), and super friendly too. Thanks Chie I love my new 'do.
Tiff xx

Monday, February 21, 2011

Curry by the beach: Zushi day trip!

I've been meaning to do a 'day trip' out of Tokyo on one of my days off or some time now, so when my lovely friend invited me to Zushi to eat curry at her friend's cafe I didn't have to think twice.

Zushi is a cute little beachy town about an hour or so from Shibuya (jump on the Toyoko line and change at Yokohama). It was an overcast day but it was easy to imagine the huge crowds that would descend on this sleepy little town come summer. It has everything you need for a little escape from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo - the ocean, fresh air, loads of cute cafes and bars and, as I was delighted to discover, some really really good curry.

Since arriving in Japan I've been on a mission to find a really good Indian curry here. I've tried many places and never quite found what I was looking for until Curry-san at Cinema Amigo proved there is definitely good curry to be had around these parts!

Here are some snaps from this little seaside adventure. Enjoy!

Curry-san's delicious curry plate, and all for just  ¥1200!

Note the mirrorball!

Ocean gazing...


Cabbage flowers in someone's pretty little garden!

Can't wait to head back to Zushi in summer for some sunset lychee-sours by the ocean!
Tiff xx

My Boom!

The other day I had a student tell me that her 'boom' was photography. I'd heard this cute Japanese expression before so luckily I knew what she meant. In English, 'my boom' roughly translates to 'I'm a fan of'... usually about something you've been getting into lately. Maybe even a better way to describe it would be 'my current obsession'. This has to be one of my favourite Japanese phrases right now, and it inspired my latest little tidbit of art. I was also inspired by the adorable fashion accessories such as the oversized bows girls wear in their hair here. I often try to play around with this look but always feel like a bit of a try-hard. Japanese girls look supaaa kawaii in that kind of getup though.

I think the happy-fresh-soft colours came about from the song I was inspired by at the time ~ 'Rainbow' by Oh Land. Such a cute song ♥

This latest illustration sesh was a 2am finish... which is usually the case when I get that creative spark. It creeps up around 10 or 11pm and makes sure I'm good and tired the next day. But late night with a cup of tea is definitely the best time for ideas...

Tiff xx

PS - If you'd like to get your mittens on a print of the above (or any other) illustration, you can do so at my redbubble store! ♫

Friday, February 18, 2011

Blossoms by day, snow by night!

Seems I spoke too soon last post, as on Valentine's day we were given the most wonderful gift anyone could have hoped for... beautiful fluffy white snow in Tokyo.. that actually stayed for over an entire day!
It was glorious. I had just spent the day teaching out near Ontakesan station and was heading home a little weary. As I was leaving Shimokita station I got the loveliest surprise - large snowflakes began to fall around me! I couldn't believe how big they were, as I'd only ever seen tiny ones here, often barely distinguishable from rain. After arriving home with a big grin on my face (and taking the long way home when everyone else was hurrying to get out of the snow!) I just assumed that in a few hours time things would be back to normal and we'd see no trace of that lovely moment. However later while cruising facebook, a friend who lives nearby posted a photo of a freshly-made 雪だるま (snowman!)... I ran to my window, parted the blinds, and saw a sight that almost brought a tear to my eye! Everything covered in an enchanting white gloss.. trees and park benches glistening in the moonlight! The photos don't do it any justice, but hopefully they help recreate some of the magic of the moment!

Leaving Shimokitazawa station

and the view from my little balcony...

While I can't help but hope it snows again before the end of Winter, I am also very much looking forward to cherry blossom season (it will be my first!). I'm excited for picnics in the park and frolicking around in the blooms, making daisy chains with the fallen petals... On the very same day as the glorious snow above, I saw some sweet little ume (plum) blossoms out near Ontakesan station. A tell-tale sign that spring is on the way....

Blossoms by day, snow by night... it doesn't get much better than that. xx

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A hint of snow in Tokyo!

A hintIt doesn't snow every winter in Tokyo, so I feel so lucky to have witnessed such a delightful event! On Wednesday morning I awoke with a strange urge to look out the window... in doing so I was rewarded with the beautifully peaceful sight of soft snowflakes falling gently onto the street below. Absolutely gorgeous. It wasn't enough to stay on the ground, but just seeing snow fall was enough to make my day. By Friday we had an entire day of snowfall and by late Friday afternoon small piles of soft white delight were starting to form on the trees and surrounds.

As a recent newcomer to the wonder of snow (it never snows in Queensland, Australia), I can't begin to tell you how exciting this was. While most Japanese people were hurrying home from the station to escape the cold, I took a detour and strolled joyfully around the neighbourhood, taking in as many pretty snow-covered scenes as my memory could handle. I took some photos but they never quite do it justice, nothing beats seeing the flakes fall softly around you in absolute silence... and the marvellous blue hue that is cast over everything... it has since rained a little and melted the small tufts of white deliciousness, but I'll never forget this lovely moment in my Tokyo adventure.

~~Tiff xo~~

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Chocolate Potato & Apricot Booze

One of the MANY things I enjoy about this country is the variety (you know, it's the spice of life and all that) of strange, cute, wonderous, awesome products available. Most of the time, I just stare in awe at such products on the shelf for a few minutes, smile to myself, possibly take a quick sneaky photo and carry on with my day. But lately my curiousity has been taken up a notch... perhaps I'm starting to settle in (become slightly immunue) and therefore need more and more to get my fix. Now, I've taken to....wait for it.... buying and sampling said products. Crazy I know. Some are so delightful my face turns into a snow owl and screeches adoration from my 50cm wide balcony... and others turn out to be more disappointing than the childhood realisation you won't ever actually be able to sit on a cloud.

Allow me to share a few of my recent Japanese product adventures, followed by a brief rating of each, as though I have some kind of authority to do so...

Crunky: A delicious, creamy milk chocolate filled with miniature rice-bubble baubles, best consumed wit friends while getting crunk. (wit is not a typo yo) 4/5

Apricot Licquer: A slightly thick, syrupy apricot delight, mild enough to consume straight from the carton when alone. Should company arrive, add to glass over ice for them, and continue drinking straight from carton. 4/5

Nivea Peach-Berry Happy Time Sweet Happy body lotion with feel good sensation: no more explanation required. 5/5

Rich Cut Chocolate Potato Chips: elicited much excitement upon first sighting, followed by epic disappointment post-taste. Overly salty and sugary, my t-buds didn't know which sensation to focus on and became confused, disoriented, and began to shut down. 1/5. (1 point for super-crunch crispness factor).

Maxim Strawberry Latte: 4 delightful sachets of pinky girly fragrant bliss. If the cute packaging and sweet aroma don't instantly make your day, then the absolutely divine flavour of this whimsical treat will surely please even the most discerning instant-sachet connoisseur. Best to get someone who is not you to hide remaining 3 sachets to avoid chaining. 5/5


Tiff xo
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