Saturday, October 31, 2009


So as i ease back into my Sydney life (albeit with uncertain job future) I'll attempt to recap some of the trip. If you ever find yourself in Tokyo make sure you go to Shimokitazawa. It's not far from Shibuya. We went on a Sunday, most things opening 10.30 or 11am. Why was it worth it? Well because it was different... lots of little laneways with little shops selling lots of little things. Handmade bits, cool homewares, gifts and zakka.
What is Zakka?

Zakka (from the Japanese 'zak-ka'(雑貨)or 'many things'). The term refers to everything and anything that improves your home, life and outlook. It is often based on household items from the West that are regarded as kitsch in their countries of origin. The interest in Nordic design or Scandinavian design, both contemporary and past, is also part of this zakka movement. Zakka can also be contemporary handicraft.

Zakka has also been described as "the art of seeing the savvy in the ordinary and mundane". It also touches issues of self-expression and spirituality. "Cute, corny and kitschy is not enough. To qualify as a zakka, a product must be attractive, sensitive, and laden with subtext." - wikipedia

HHmmm... I Love this discovery of Zakka! Finally what i make and do makes sense!

The cafes we found were gorgeous.. but 'found' probably is the operative word. They are well documented in gorgeous little books - but you will need a japanese friend if you don't read the language... thankfully i had some (friends) .. and to them i was grateful for seeking out peaceful little retreats.. that often had eclectic decor amongst dark wood interiors...

THEN... we struck the jackpot and visited the A to Z Cafe (in Omotesando, near Harajuku). It was a joint project between Yoshimoto Nara and a design firm. For me it was just bliss! Seated on mis matched retro furniture, flanked by worn wooden walls i was busy checking out the art.. while the wait staff said no to photography - the middle of the cafe featured an almost garden shed structure.. which showed Yoshitomo Nara's desk, drawings and works in progress. Some of the tables were also adorned with his work..
I sipped an ice coffee while we shared chestnut ice cream and a Japanese sweet. (The sweet is the chewy consistency of turkish delight, round, soft and slightly powdery on the outside like a cherubs bottom!) It comes with a sort of brown sugar syrup you can pour over it.. depending on how much pavement pounding you still need to do..

1 comment:

Irit said...

Looks like you had fun. I really enjoyed seeing your photos from Japan.

I have a little comment: The artist you referred to is actually named Yoshitomo Nara.


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