Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Hello Kitty x Eva

Covered 40 subjects (10 more to go!)  and busy transcribing tapes and writing now. I need a holiday,...perhaps on this wonderful plane!! Thanks Eva Air <333

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Takuya Angel

Takuya Angel is probably the most iconic designer of the Harajuku look, his fashion ranges from pop to cybergoth to corsets and the production quality is impeccable. His outfits have been exhibited in museums all over the world, including the Victoria & Albert.  Shot a box full of his beautiful gear @ the studio! Pic: kera! magazine model Kurebayashi and law student/ drummer Yamaronta playing pacman...for 3 hours...toooooo cute

Wednesday, 20 June 2012


Nameneko, the gang of 4 delinquent kitties, frequently seen on yankee motorbikes, playing in a band, and smoking in the toilet was an early 80s phenomenon, resulting in sales of over 5 million dollars worth of nameneko related goods, and is still the number one selling animal products company in Japan. Met with designer Satoru Tsuda, who is possibly the coolest person in the world.

6%DOKIDOKI girls

Shot the dizzyingly saccharine, rainbow colored, hallucinatory Harajuku institution that is 6%DOKIDOKI and their foxy shop girls.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Kazari sushi

Kazarisushi is sushi made up of a bunch of parts that are arranged strategically so that they form patterns when rolled futomaki style. The snail is made up of rolls, pyramid shaped rice columns, egg and so on. The colors are produced with seaweed, dried pickled plum and other sushi ingredients so it tastes quite good, actually. It is something of a craze at the moment, along with truly amazing bento designs (Kyara-ben).


Finally moving into Harajuku, the mecca of Kawaii culture. The book will feature some of the more interesting labels, innovative ideas and fashion that borders on art. 

Japanese school girls are something of a pop culture icon in Japan, and abroad (kill bill, various manga such as Sailor Moon, films like Battle Royal, etc)  and Conomi are a seifuku (school uniform) fashion label, that celebrates the  cult of joshiko. More than aware of their consumer and purchasing power, school girls in Japan are the ultimate symbol of youth. Conomi make unofficial, preppy school uniforms for students who go to schools that don't require school uniforms, or for weekend wear. If you are in France, go check them out at Japan Expo in July. 

Thursday, 14 June 2012


San-x are responsible for some of the most iconic kawaii characters. Tarepanda was their first hit, followed by a countless slew of adorable (mostly animal) characters. At the moment, their main character is RILAKKUMA, the nonchalant, dopey, floppy bear. I am considering starting golf, just so we can use the Rilakkuma golf balls. Completely turned their company showcase upside down.  Thank you san-x and we apologise for turning your place into bear chaos!!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012


Swimmer are one of the most popular product designers at the moment, kawaii cookie cutters, cell phone cases, cups, plates, baseball caps, sneakers, dusters, etc. etc. etc. if I listed everything, it would be the length of a phone book. Their panda cakes are off the hook!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Pet Works

Went to Petworks, a design lab that is probably most known for making sony's Postpet; software that has animals such as the now ubiquitous pink, furry bear, Momo take your email and put it in the post (if you live in Japan, Momo is seriously everywhere on products).   This was back in 1997, there was nothing like it, and people went nuts for Momo (nowadays, Momo and friends are learning to tweet though). The company also makes dolls, and Nausicaa inspired glider planes.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Eico Hanamura

Went to the sleepy seaside Shizuoka town, Ajiro to visit seminal manga artist Eico Hanamura at her studio. She began in 1958, and is hugely influential figure in creating the kawaii look.  Much loved in the fashion industry for her gorgeous 60s outfits, her images look as fresh as ever.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Macoto Takahashi

Macoto Takahashi is a highly influential shojo-ga ka (girls illustrator), and one of the pioneers of the sparkly, doe-eyed look that is employed in much contemporary shojo manga. It is unbelievable that a 78 year old man creates these fancy, lovely, lacy, dreamy portraits of coquettish girls sitting in flower fields, in front of castles and lakes filled with swans. He will be celebrating 60 years as the king of excruciatingly pretty shojo-ga next year. His exhibition was inundated with Ginza ladies waiting to get his signature...I must add that he (as a person) is absolutely adorable!

Friday, 8 June 2012

Asakusa shoot

Back with team Risa, MUA ninjette who we collab with for all the fashion spreads in our books...our shoots have become a yearly tradition. This time is we took foxy model Takako back to the Showa era with and spoilt her with retro toys. Tooooo cute! Thank you guys!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Yosuke Ueno

I found Yosuke Ueno's work on Juztapoz a while back, and fell in love with his gorgeous characters, and his elegant use of color. Had great shoot in Yoyogi park -- you can really tell his personality from looking at his work, actually! Check it out: http://www.spaceegg77.com/
Great guy and a very fun shoot.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Fish Cakes

Food design and aesthetics has always been a integral part of Japanese food, especially kaiseki ryori. This is what happens when you mix this sensibility with all things cute. We will have an ENTIRE section in the book devoted to ridiculously cute food and the people who make/ serve them.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Kyoto Manga Museum

Went to the fabulous Kyoto Manga Museum for the Kyoto Magic show, a collaboration between artists Junichi Nakahara and Macoto Takahashi, and Kyoto fashion designers sousou and verona. Deputy Director Toshio Kosaka was extremely informative, and the museum is definitely worth a visit -- an incredible selection of titles plus a great lawn to chill out on.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Florentijn Hofman

Ran into the inimitable work of the brilliant Florentijn Hofman on top of the Tadao Ando designed Hyogo Museum today. Hofman needs no introduction to the people of Osaka -- his gorgeous rubber duck has made two appearances in the canals of Kansai for the Osaka Canvas Project.
I feel that a lot of inflatable art seems to be more about artist megalomania than anything else, (and ends up looking like a cheap bouncy castle at a redneck county fair) but Hofman really brings a new dimension to his work by challenging the notion of public space and how we perceive it. I was fortunate to be working on the Canvas project, and was able to see his work and the people's reaction to it -- it was a huge success.  Another interesting aspect of his work is that it travels, but the design of the duck is subtly different according to the country. The duck in Osaka is perfectly kawaii, even though I presume the specs are the same. Check out his work:www.florentijnhofman.nl

Friday, 1 June 2012

Attending a brilliant Kobe University symposium on manga culture, pic: Ian Condry from MIT.

From the conference outline: The aim of this conference, titled “Manga Worlds”, is creating a platform where a variety of discourses and theories on manga and anime cultures can meet for an opportunity to deepen academic discussion. The conference will encompass talks by world-renowned scholars and professionals working not only in established disciplines such as sociology, anthropology, aesthetics and Japanology but also within subculture, visual culture and manga / comics studies.
Today, the debate on the globalization of manga / anime culture is increasing, as is the demand for academic research, such as Japanology. As part of this trend, we often see the tendency to regard the phenomenon as an expansion of homogeneous subculture derived from Japanese culture. But is this true? It seems that what is really happening around the world might be a multi-layered development of popular culture in each region, a phenomenon called “glocalization”. We need to reevaluate the assumptions concerning the relation between manga / anime culture and “Japaneseness.”