Sunday, 14 April 2013

outtakes #2!

Harajuku Fashion Walk organizer Kumamiki outside design festa gallery, where half the interviews took place.

Monstergirls HQ in Osaka, he goes around Europe, esp. Germany sourcing cute things from abroad. 

Eico Hanamura at her studio in studio, probably my favorite artist for this book, her fashion sense is fantastic!

Cute road barriers. This outside my house, Geoff took a bunch for the book all over town. 

Paro over the ages. Display at Dr Shibata"s lab at Tsukuba Science city. 

Naito Rune show at Parco gallery in Shibuya. 

John Hathaway's studio in Akihabara. 

 maids and their culinary disasters

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Kokeshi Book

OK, before this blog gets flooded with Kawaii book plugs, I have also been working on this project; check it out. I will post again when the book is out (v. soon, the design is finished)!

Kokeshi project (still under construction)

Monday, 8 April 2013


Got it! Looks beautiful!...the rainbow effect on the side is a really nice touch!  

Design by Pony, a design office in London. 


Hello Kitty VS Baby, the Stars Shine Bright (left) and the Hello Kitty room at Jeju (Korea)


 Post Pet's glider inspired by Nausicaa (it actually flies)


Mayoko is a kitchen genius. 

John Hathaway. 


 CandyCandy's Yumiko Igarashi.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013 #2

The book is available in the UK on now, its at number 2 for fashion books already. thank you ~~ xxx m(_ _)m

Monday, 1 April 2013

Out takes!

Some iphone photos from our shoots, enjoy!

 This a flight from Tokyo to Taiwan on the Hello Kitty plane. The meals were Kitty-ish (plane food is usually disgusting anyways, so might as well make it cute). I wonder how the businessmen feel about getting on this thing though.


 Policeman kokeshi at Naruko Onsen -- one of the best places I've been to in Japan, and fantastic hot
springs! I have now continued shooting kokeshi all over Tohoku in Fukushima, Miyagi, Yamagata, Aomori  and Akita.

This is in a tofu shop in Naruko with mango tofu pudding etc. Yet another reason Naruko is so dreamy!

The gobsmackingly (and the annoyingly age defying) cute Junko Mizuno in San Fran. She is one of my favourite artists and loved her to-the-point responses. Initally I was a bit worried the book will end up a bit too fluffy but there was a great balance between respondees who were all for kawaii in all its guises, and others who were more cynical.

Kyoto Manga Museum: Next time I have a huge shoot in the Kansai region, and need to chill out after, I am holing up here for two days. Their collection is mind boggling and arranged chronologically, so it was a lot of fun to see how many series I read when I growing up. They have a great lawn you can lie on, and it is also a great place for a date, lots of couples there enjoying a lazy day. The responses to this interview were really fantastic as well.

Of course we had to shoot Puroland. If you like Sanrio characters, you have to go.  Got given these lovely looking donuts but they were so dry. My god. Kept them for our shoot with Rin Rin the next day.

We had a crafts section in our book, as a lot of people into cute culture are crafters as well and I think this is somewhat international, people like twinkie chan come to mind.
It is common for Japanese crafters to get vintage kimonos and rearrange them into toys, collages or whatnot as the kimono scraps are quite cheap and are made of exquisite materials. Got this fantastic mobile made of vintage kimono pieces, each mobile was made of 100s of smaller parts, with really minute stitching.

Used the mobile in this shoot with our lovely MUA Risa Hoshino, with her model Takako. She is on the MUJI ads and is more of a mainstream model than a kawaii model, but we wanted to do a retro shoot and she was quite perfect. I have worked with Risa a few times for our books and the results are always stunning.

We needed an opener for the food section, so Risa's muse Natasha was our girl for the shoot. Although you cant tell in this photo, she is actually very pretty. However, by the time we had finished with her, she was closer to atrocious than adorable. Circa 2005, it was all the rage in Shibuya for GALs to wear Rilakkumma onsies. Gals at the time were still really into toasting themselves to a crisp in the solarium, wearing make-up that made them look like drag queens whilst displaying horrendous public manners. Typically, they spend the whole day smoking cigarettes and scarfing parfaits. Anyways this is our toast to the Shibuya gal.

This is Caro from Sweet streets, an agency that reps kawaii artists. Got in touch with her about an interview with one of her artists, Shojono Tomo (below). Tomo's interview was so funny and sarcastic, I nearly fell off my chair asking her questions.

Fafi is one of my favourite graff artists. We didnt end up using her in the book but it was a nice shoot anyways.

This is Mori Chak's pad in Akihabara. It was so pimp.
Surprisingly, a lot of my shoots with creative people (artists, designers) are in Akihabara, as opposed to say, Omotesando or Nishi Azabu or one of those places where the galleries and artists agencies are concentrated. Spent too much time in Akihabara of late, I have shot enough waddling, sweating otaku to last me a lifetime.

Kumamiki. One of the people who lives and breathes kawaii.

The day I got back from New York, living in a brown brick building in Brooklyn next to a very grotty train station,  I went straight from the airport to this. Having spent most of my time cooking, doing yoga, watching docos and chilling in NYC, I felt like I had fallen down Alice's hole. After a few days in Tokyo stuff like this looks all very normal though.
This is at design festa, and is basically an arts craft event with lots of amateur artists, although if you come looking for crafts youll probably have more luck finding good stuff. It has a bit of a flea market vibe.

A combination of two of my favourite things, snowboarding, and cats that dress up like early 90s delinquents. Despite global warming Japan is continuing to dump obscene amounts of snow, if only I had this board this season. Sigh.

This is the nameneko HQ. The desinger, Satoru Tsuda is so cool and such a character. Check the decotora truck with his yankee kitties on his desk. If you arent familiar with yankees, check out Kamikaze girls, one of my favourite recent (as in, after the 50s) films.

Yes, we had to shoot a school girl.

We didnt use this photo of the panda cake at the swimmer cafe in Daikanyama in the book, but I ate it anyways.

I did the interview for Macoto Takahashi at a fancy gallery in Ginza.
I had to stop the interview about 20 times so he could sign books and art for his adoring fans, ranging from teens to old women who were fawning,  stuttering and gushing in delight.

Once upon a time, when I was in my late teens, and had blue/ aqua/ red hair and a face full of metal and was more obsessed with Harajuku culture (particularly cyber and decora fashion) on a personal level, FRUiTS was something like a bible to me. The whole Japan=cool image and the resulting cultural capital is a lot to do with fashion and I feel that FRUiTS was one of the main reason a. that street fashion ever got to the level of creativity that it did, and b. anyone outside of Harajuku knew about it. The formula is so simple but so successful, and while of course, everything is going online nowadays, and I really respect bloggers like Susie Bubble who really are brilliant journalists, there is something so great about paper publications. There is a kind of cache to print, and for regular street fashion lovers to have a platform, to be published in is a really huge impetus to try more and more outlandish and creative ideas.

I spent a month in Osaka 2011 working for Osaka Canvas, stayed at the Black Chamber Art complex  dormitory and Florentijn Hoffman's duck was out on the canals while I was there ( I wasnt working with him, but he is part of the event, every year!) People were absolutely obsessed. The shockingly bright color of the duck really contrasted well with the somewhat drab industrial landscape of Osaka. His work is really, really fantastic.

Kawaii is not only for young girls in Japan. Went to a kazarisushi class, with a bunch of housewives and the reaction to the final sushi slice was quite hilarious. I make these all the time now. Surprisingly simple to make but with huge wow factor, all the ingredients are things like rice seasoning, so they taste basically like how rolls should taste.

Our cover model Kurebayashi. ADORABLE! Is this girl real?  I really did think who to use for the cover and she really is perfect. She is a kawaii icon, but still very street level and involved in Harajuku culture, an artist and and very, very cute, moves great with no direction, a million facial expressions and a pixie like visage. In head to toe Takuya Angel.

Thank you!

So,....the contributor copies have gone out, and the response has been really great. Lots of mails and blog posts and tweets, etc. Amazingly, the book is at #1 on for Fashion > commercial, #1 for Pop culture> fashion and #17 for overall overseas books, and # 19 on for fashion due to orders, although it isn't available yet, and I really thank everyone for their support and will be busy writing thank you notes this week. All this is happening and I haven't even seen the book yet. Yes.... True story. All 80 contributors have their copies before the author! Thanks again everyone, I presume I will do a few book related events this year, plus another book coming out soon as well from my numerous recent sojourns to Tohoku.