Hi Everyone and welcome to my first official blog post! Normally Kel and Sarah control what is happening on the blog but I thought I would share with you some pictures taken on my most recent trip to Japan.
As some of you may know at the end of January I set out solo (yes without children and Paul) to Japan. It was my sixth visit but the first on my own. It was very, very quick, I was only in Tokyo for 4 days and it was solely for the purpose of fabric buying. I decided because I was all on my own that I should take some photos and let you see Tokyo through my eyes.
It was an interesting trip for a number of reasons, one being that I was completely unaware of how hard Japan had been hit by the GFC (yes, I have been living under a rock!). It was really sad to see because many of my favorite stores had closed down- 6 of the 7 actually. They weren’t the fabric stores that I visit but more the trendy/quirky shops that I like to go have a look at see all the cool things that are happening. Things are starting to re develop there now but it is happening slowly. To give you an idea of how things had changed the Muji in Parco had closed down (this is a big deal because Muji is everwhere and the one in Parco was great), one of the floors in Tokyu hands has been combined to make less levels, the plaza in Harajuku is gone, and many, many stores are empty. The walk from Shibuya to Harajuku is like a ghost town, so many shops have gone- more are opening now but I think it will be a few years before that area is in full swing again.
Also, one of the most obvious changes was the cutting back in presentation and display. Usually I am in awe of packaging and shop fit outs but businesses are obviously on a big budget cut back and everything looked the same. Normally when you purchase something in Japan- even the smallest cheapest product- it is wrapped and presented to you like it is gold! Now it is still carefully handled but just placed in a bag rather than the beautiful presentation. Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t mind at all but I just thought it was an interesting observation and proof to me of how the GFC has hit all types of industries in Japan.
One industry that didn’t seem to be effected at all (luckily for me!) was the textile and craft trade. There were still many beautiful fabrics to be bought and found. Below is a small selection of some of my favorites:

You will have to keep checking the blog, store and website for all the fantastic things we are going to make out of these fabrics!

The above photo was taken from my hotel room- stay tuned for a new blindwear tee inspired by Shibuya’s city sky line! For those of you who are interested I always stay at Shibuya Excel Tokyu is close to everything and not crazy expensive (it is not super cheap either but I am not one to stay in a backpackers- sorry I like my creature comforts ha ha)

The famous Shibuya crossing. This photo was taken at about 10am. The busiest time I think is from about 6pm-8pm, it can be quite overwhelming if you are not a crowd person.

I liked this little deer logo in Harajuku

Some of you may have heard me talk about the t-shirt store in Harajuku where you buy the t’s out of vending machines. It is owned by Uniqlo and all the tees are around 1500 yen (AUS $17 approx). I was in Japan when it first opened and there were line ups to get in, the novelty has worn off now but I still like it.

I have always liked this little shopping complex in between harajuku and shibuya. There are not many open spaces in Tokyo and that is why I always visit this spot.

A very strange cool character on display in the front window of the Camper store. There was a whole exhibition in the store with this artists work, for more info check out here.

The beginning of the walk down Takeshita-dori lane in Harajuku. This walk is where many tourists go to view Japanese retail at its most cliche. Worth doing but only once!

I love Japanese vending machines (and no I have never seen girls underwear in them!). They are everywhere and always have the best selection of drinks!

A cute billboard

I forgot to mention that I was visiting just before Valentines day and like all retail stores Japan loves any excuse to decorate! The above photo was the logo Tokyu hands was using on all their packaging and advertising. So folky, and detailed I had to take a photo!

What sort of mother would I be if I didn’t visit one of the best known kids stores in Tokyo! Naturally many purchases had to made.

So you know how I mentioned that 6 of the 7 stores that I loved had closed down, well this is the one that was left! It is called mint designs. They do all their own textile designs and for me they are classic with a bit of an edge. Every time I have visited Japan I buy something from them, so it has sort of become a ritual for me. I loved the cuckoo clock that they had made with their signature logo- a little girl holding scissors- slightly evil which I like.

Every time I visit Japan there is always something that is everywhere. This visit it was Michael Jackson- the music and the doco- there was even a chain of stores called ‘king of pop!’. The movie Where the wild things are had also just been released . Above is a display that was on the shop windows of ‘opening ceremony’. I would love to be in Japan for the launch of Alice in Wonderland, there would be some fantastic displays I’m sure.

Finally, I am slightly obsessed with the sweets in Japan. The presentation is always perfect and looks to good to eat! These crepe style sweets are everywhere and look so yum. I have never had one as they look a bit too full on for my taste buds, but I love the look of them.
So that wraps up my trip of Japan! It was fun but I do prefer travelling with somebody- I get lonely!! I missed my boys terribly so I was glad to come home…..
I hope you enjoyed my first ever blog post, I had a lot of fun writing it, I will do another one again soon. Take care Christina xx