Category Archives: Tokyo

Summer Celebrations

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I celebrated my birthday this month and I thought I would share some of the treasures I received, starting with this sweet Rilakkuma Re-Ment birthday cake from Tokyo. ❤

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I was also given a Clover mini iron which I’ve been coveting for years! I can’t wait to try it. This beautiful pincushion was handmade for me by a friend. ❤

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Adorable Miffy Kokeshi all the way from Tokyo. ❤

IMGP6259 IMGP6263Miffy is now living on my dresser along with my Game of Thrones Pop Vinyl Dany. ^_^ Totally obsessed with GoT at the moment!

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Delicious Umeshu plum wine from Tokyo. Very refreshing mixed with soda water & enjoyed with Matcha cookies. 

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Cuuuuuuuute ❤

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Poppy got some presents too, a cool Japanese alphabet jigsaw puzzle.

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Dinky Japanese shoes!

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I’m feeling lucky indeed. ❤

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November Sewing Projects

It’s been a while! I hope everyone had a great Halloween! We did. ^_^

This photo was taken at 33 weeks. I’m now 36 weeks (going on 37 weeks) pregnant.

I taught my last sewing workshop this month and I’m now officially on maternity leave! Time seems to have flown past this year and my due date is almost here.

I’m getting ready to put my feet up & relax, but over the past month I’ve been enjoying having time to myself to spend in my studio surrounded by fabric & lace. ♥ As well as making things for baby I’ve been preparing for the Christmas Craft Fairs I’m trading at this season. First up is the Made-It Market Christmas Special this weekend! I’ll have a table there for the 4th year running. Here’s a peak at some of the things I’ve been making for the event.

Wristband Pin Cushions made from Japanese silk and vintage buttons. ♥ I have one of these I made last year and it’s so useful for dressmaking – both for fittings and working on a mannequin. I also wear it when I’m teaching, it’s really handy!

Fabric purses – handy for stashing everything from sewing supplies or camera batteries to make up or toiletries.

My kewpie hair bows sold like hotcakes at BlytheCon UK so I made another batch. ^_^

I’ve also been working on a new range of baby clothing inspired by my bump! ♥ I’ve had loads of fun working with Japanese fabric & lace, and adding details like buttons, bows, appliqué, contrast linings and top stitching. The only problem is that so far I want to keep them all!

Black Kitty Dress

Gorgeous Japanese fabric & cotton lace. ♥

Strawberries & Cream ♥

I really love this glittery goldfish fabric, bought on a hot sunny day in Tokyo!

I’m having great fun  making these, I’m hoping to launch a little collection of ‘Look Street Baby’ dresses some time next year. ♥

I’m really looking forward to the Made-It Market! I’ll have lots more baby dresses, bags, purses and hair accessories for sale too. Hope to see you there! I’ll be sharing a table with the talented PinkAppleJam and Bento Smile and their kawaii craft creations & illustrations so our table is bound to be bright & easy to spot! Don’t worry if you can’t make it, any goodies I bring home will be listed in my Etsy shop next week. xx

Package from Japan

I always look forward to receiving packages from my brother in Japan. This summer he’s also been to China & Nepal and he has been picking up cute baby stuff for us on his travels!

Package full of goodies! The lollies are actually soaps and they made the whole package smell amazing. ^_^

I asked Aleister to look out for cute Totoro baby clothes in Tokyo. Of course he found these adorable Totoro hat, bib & booties, and a very cute Neko bus hat! (=^_^=)

Incredibly cute dragon boots from China for my Year of the Dragon baby. ^_^ I love the bells on the toes!

Crazy pink cat shoes from Nepal! These are hand felted and really beautifully made!

Chinese Fu Dog plushie. ^_^ He’s incredibly cute with metallic gold paws & ears!

Grave of the Fireflies drops (T_T)

Gorgeous Japanese silk pin cushion, I love it. ^_^ Thanks Aleister!

Look Street Spring Summer Collection 2012

Since my trip to Japan in July last year my brother Aleister & I have been working on our new clothing label, Look Street. My designs are inspired by Japanese fabrics which we sourced in Tokyo last summer. The name ‘Look Street’ comes from a street in Koenji, a district of Tokyo, which is full of gorgeous vintage clothes shops! After a lot of hard work our site is finally online, where you can browse and buy our designs for your very own. I’m so excited to finally be able to share my designs! ♥

This dress is possibly my favourite piece from our Spring/Summer 2012 collection. It is made from stunning cotton fabric from Japanese designer Kayo Horaguchi. The fabric features a delicate design with roses, birds, vintage sewing machines, mannequins, pocket watches, castles and ballerinas in teal on a black background. The dress is trimmed with beautiful Japanese cotton lace. It is also available in two other gorgeous Kayo Horaguchi prints, featuring carousel horses & rainbows, and tiny angel fish and sea foam flowers! It’s like stepping in to a grown up fairytale.

Of course the collection also includes some vintage inspired dresses! I fell in love with this Japanese playing card fabric and knew it would make awesome rockabilly style dresses. This design is also decorated with three black heart shaped vintage Lucite buttons on the front of the bodice. I found a precious untouched card of these vintage buttons at Judy’s Vintage Fair last year, I was saving them for something very special! ♥ This design is also available in two fabulous nautical prints, in red and navy. Ahoi Sailor! These are perfect for summer.

When we were in Tokyo in July, lots of summer matsuri (fire work festivals) were happening, and it was not uncommon to see couples walking the streets dressed in traditional summer Yukata.  A Yukata is a spring or summer Kimono, traditionally worn to spring cherry blossom viewing festivals. The fabric is light and breathable and features beautiful blossom prints. I thought they would be perfect for spring and summer dresses. We picked out this beautiful teal & gold fabric, as well as cherry blossom fabric in pink & white and pink & black.

I was so inspired by the beautiful traditional kimono silks I saw in Japan. The quality of the silk is so luxurious and the prints are absolutely beautiful. This violet evening gown features a vibrant flowers and red guzei bridges on a striking background of purple, violet and indigo clouds. Silk evening gowns are also available in orange and peach.

I am very excited to finally be able to share my designs & I hope you like them! You can see the full collection at lookstreet.net and you can also follow us on Twitter @heylookstreet and Like us on Facebook. I have some exciting designs planned for Autumn/Winter already. ^-^

Tokyo July 2011 Day 14 & 15: Tokyo Sky View & Farewell Koenji

Day 14 in Tokyo, Tuesday 26th July.

We were getting towards the end of our trip and one thing on our itinerary that we hadn’t had a chance to do yet was see the Tokyo sky view. We would have liked to see the view from the Mori Museum, but we were low on funds by this point. Thanks to this website and the free wi-fi at our guest house we found out that there is an observatory on the 45th floor of Tokyo Tochosha, The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, which is open free of charge to the public. The building is just a short distance from Shinjuku station. At 243 meters, it is the 2nd tallest building within the city. We got to enjoy a viewing of the city from 202 meters above ground.

It really was breathtaking.

Best smoking area in Tokyo: It has a view of Mount Fuji!

Yoyogi Koen really stands out in the middle of the cityscape.

There is a bar and a gift shop in the observatory too. What better to do when you’re 202 meters above ground than buy Hello Kitty junk?!

We stayed to watch the sunset. ^_^

In the evening we headed back to Koenji and I stumbled upon this little Sylvanian Families hair dresser in the street. I saw it on my first night in Tokyo and thought I might have imagined it!

We headed to one of our favourite Koenji bars, Godzilla-ya! It’s a tiny bar run by a cute lady who loves 1960s toys! She’s displayed her amazing collection of toys all around the bar.

In Godzilla-Ya we met an elderly Japanese ojiisan. He spoke little English, we spoke little Japanese, but we managed to communicate through the universal language of Nihonshu. He bought us many drinks and got us really drunk! It was a memorable evening.

Day 15, Wednesday 27th July, our final night in Tokyo!

Our final day in Tokyo was spent gift shopping & packing, with huge hangovers thanks to all the nihonshu the night before! In the evening we went out for sushi and beers in Koenji to say thank you & goodbye to our fantastic guides, hosts & translators, Aleister & Maya.

The next morning we flew home! I had one last ice coffee drink at Narita Airport. Oh man, I really miss those Japanese drink vending machines!

Well, that’s it for my July Tokyo trip blog posts! I had the time of my life, I hope to visit Tokyo again soon.

Tokyo July 2011 Day 12: Yoyogi Koen on a Sunday

Day 12 in Tokyo, Sunday 24th July. I finally got the chance to hang out in Yoyogi Koen on a Sunday. Yoyogi Koen is one of the largest parks in Tokyo, located next to Harajuku station. On a Sunday it’s a popular hangout where people gather to play music, practice martial arts, dance & enjoy other hobbies. The bridge across the train tracks leading to Yoyogi Koen is also where teenagers dressed in extreme subcultural fashions come to hang out, pose and be photographed for fashion mags and blogs. I had the impression that this was more popular a few years ago and that the trend had died out a little as it had turned in to such a tourist attraction, but on the day I was there lots of kids were hanging out on the bridge posing for the cameras. A new generation of FRUiTS perhaps? It was great to see!

Note the really dinky lolita on the left! She must have been no more than 13 and was accompanied by her dad. So cute!

By the entrance to the park, groups of rockabillies show off their dance moves. This subculture has been around for twenty years now and these guys & girls are really impressive dancers, I watched them for ages.

Refreshing Watermelon Lollies ^_^

Giant torii gate leading to Meiji Jingū

Barrels of nihonshu are stored in the park while they age. The designs on the barrels are amazing.

Barrels of wine are also displayed here. Amazingly they are never tampered with or stolen. I can’t imagine the same things working here in the UK somehow. ^_~

Meiji Jingū, built in 1920.

After walking around the shrine we headed back to the entrance and got to see some more dancing, this time from the ‘Lebels’ – a greaser gang!

This tiny rockabilly was getting his hair done by the gang’s hairdresser.

Japan’s youngest rockabilly?

Cute spectators

The park is such a nice tranquil place to hang out.

Words of wisdom at Harajuku station

As we headed to Shimokirazawa for dinner, I took this shot of Shibuya scramble crossing in action.

We had dinner at a Shabu-shabu restaurant. On the table is a hob with a pot of boiling stock. You order raw meat and vegtables and cook them yourself by swishing them around in the pot (the name Shabu-shabu is derived from the “swish swish” sound of cooking the meat in the pot). It’s delicious & so healthy! We were wondering why it hadn’t made it’s way over to the UK, but we noticed when we got home that a Japanese restaurant in Cambridge is now serving Shabu-shabu so perhaps it will get popular here too. Oishii!

After dinner I had a bubble tea in this cute crepe cafe which was tacked on to the side of a huge arcade.

Perfect Tokyo Sunday!

Tokyo July 2011 Day 11: Koenji Matsuri

Day 11 in Tokyo, Saturday 23rd July. We spent the day looking around Koenji’s second hand and vintage shops. I picked up some vintage fabric and Kokeshi dolls. ^_^

BAD-NICE Rockabilly Hair Dressers

I love this drink (not just because it matches my shoes)!

Aleister’s friend Max works at a primary school in Koenji and he invited us to his school’s summer Matsuri. The Matsuri is a festival based around the shrine at the school. There were stalls selling food & souvenirs, games, dancing and a procession.

Both adults and children were wearing traditional summer yukata.

Oishii ‘Banana Choco’!

Goldfish scooping is a traditional game at Japanese summer festivals. You catch as many fish as you can with a paper scoop, until the scoop breaks. I saw lots of happy children taking home a bag with a goldfish in!

Delicious spiral potato! Deep fried and covered in BBQ seasoning.

We followed a procession through the street. Local men were carrying a Mikoshi – a portable Shinto Shrine.

Cute kids at their school shrine

Playing on the stage

The local women did a traditional Matsuri dance

Having a beer with Anpanman!

Max is so great with the kids. ^_^

This was one of my favourite days that we spent in Tokyo. The kids were all so sweet! It was a fun experience which we wouldn’t have found in a guidebook.

We finished off the night with a few jars of Nihonshu in Koenji.

Good times! There are a few extra photos in my Flickr album. ^_^