Monday, March 31, 2014

March in Tokyo, 2014

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Hello Sandwiches!


I found these little retro Japanese papers at a pop up paper shop at Gallery Cadocco in Nishiogi gallery yesterday. The sign said ¥100 per piece so I selected about six. Then the lovely shop staff told my friend and I that if you select ten the price will be ¥500! I can't tell you how much fun it was rummaging through a little tin of these papers with my friend laughing and saying 'kawaii' a million times as we searched for the perfect ones to add to our baskets. In the end I decided to get 20. Hah.

One of them reads:

Shohi's Sandwich Parlour is now ready
To serve near and snappy,
Beer on Drought drawn je-ust right,
Straights, High-balls in tempting weight and height.
None but the best quality
In style and fashion of the most originality
- Is the policy we strictly follow,
Day, night and on to the Morrow.
Home You satisfied with pleasane Hics,
Back you'll with friends for more kicks.

- John Barleycorn

I really love this! And it also reads Sandwich in katakana like my blog. But the kerning is hilarious. It's something like 'Sando' and then 'wich'. My friend spotted this one for me! ありがとうしみずちゃん!

Don't you love the retro designs and fonts, though? I want to photo copy these and make all sorts of craft from the papers I create using them. Some handmade envelopes, wrapping papers, letter sets...

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March is Mimosa time in Tokyo. I'm allergic to Wattle in Australia, and probably to Mimosa, too, but how could you resist having these in your home? Pompom flowers are the best.

I spent an afternoon in my favourite (or second favourite? gosh, they're all great here!) bookshop and stocked up on some design books as a pick-me-up.

And at an event recently I was able to meet with the CEO of Japan's famous Candy Bouquet brand, and make my very own bouquet.

And, receiving fruit from a friend. Somehow I think this is just one of the loveliest of things.

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I spent an afternoon with a new friend and we picked up so many free papers. Goodness, graphic design in this country is impeccable.

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With my Japanese company, I was able to collaborate with Journal Standard Furniture. We hosted a few Journal Standard x Martha Stewart Crafts x Hello Sandwich stencil workshops last week. It really doesn't feel like 'work'. There are more pics over here. Look! Look!

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Another day in the office. Well, this time at a PLAZA buyers event. My *job* for the day was to demonstrate how to use the punches at this fun-filled table. Everyone from PLAZA is pretty darn cute, I must say.

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Rainy days in Nishiogi. My friend said this was 'ハローサンドウィッチぽい!' (Hello Sandwich-ish) Hah!

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I'm not usually one to take photos like this, but I couldn't resist for lovely David!


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The view from Hikarie always takes my breath away.

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Lunch vouchers from my company! I'm soooo into speckled as a pattern right now.

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I'd only met the gorgeous accessory designer Only Yun Yun twice at my exhibition at Commune Gallery, but both times she was wearing this incredible pompom necklace and I always commented on just how much I loved it. A week or so back, in my local Shimokita supermarket I heard a 'Sandwich-san!' and when I turned around I found Sakurako-chan standing there wearing amazing knitted leggings (knitted by her Mama!) holding this necklace out to me. "I give this to you!', she said! Then she proceded to help me read the back of some food packets. I almost cried! What an incredible act of kindness.

Since then, two other beautiful moments with strangers have taken place. Yesterday, in Nishiogi, a guy who worked at the cafe I had lunch at, got chatting with me and gave me a bottle of Brooklyn Lager as a present to take home!

And today, I got chatting to an obaachan who asked me directions, and she ended up telling me I was a 'すばらし人!  (a great person). She knew me only for a couple of minutes, but still, I appreciated it.

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Relaxing nights. I wrote an article about moving from Sydney to Tokyo for the latest 'Home' edition of Kinfolk. Please check it if you have time.

My 'One Line A Day' diary which I am horrendous at updating, my 'New Japanese Words' mini note (which, embarrassingly features a section at the back of all of the English words I don't know, thanks James!) and lots of other things I set off ambitiously to read before falling fast asleep.

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A little Mimosa painting for my friend Hiki-chan!

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Hiki-chan's amazing shop Uguisu!

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Gallery visits in Ginza with DA,B!

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Streamer coffee and my Hasselblad.

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Mami-chan and I bought new iMac's! YATTA! Can't wait to make a new Tokyo Guide and a new book on this little machine! Would anyone like a mini Kyoto guide? I found so many nice places I'd like to share when I was in Kyoto last. Let me know your thoughts, Sandwiches!

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I set off one afternoon recently to take a nice cheery photo for a friend. Luckily, the sakura were just starting to bloom! I'd been sick in bed until the early afternoon for three days at that time, so I went out armed with my 50mm lens and my white surgical mask.

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Just around the corner to my apartment it appeared to be dog-walking-hour. These chirpy obaachans and man were chatting about how they see each other at the same time and same place each day. As if not a worry in the world, they stopped to look and comment on some flowers.

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These ones here.

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I desperately wanted to play with that fake little Schnaupi that looked like a white version of MamaSando's puppy. Around the corner out popped another obaachan who picked up their conversation about the flowers and produced a photo of the same tree during last years spring.

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A few blocks away and pretty much the same situation unfolded. Again, I stopped to chat with more obaachans who were stopping looking at these buds almost in bloom. They assured me they'd be in bloom the following morning. I guess spring is one of those beautiful life messages. There's light and new beginnings at the end of all dark tunnels.

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DA,B! Thank you for these mini floral tissue packets! They are the cutest things ever! How sweet to have best friends like this who buy you cute tissues when you're sick!

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'Rain and Holiday Days: Quiet, slow and gentle music for ordinary day'. Have you ever seen a better name for a CD shop?

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Thank you, David, for letting me know I'm a Tsundoku person! Glad I'm not alone ;)

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This is the view today from Hello Sandwich HQ! I think I spent a good hour staring at it's beauty!

Other than that, I've been watching Kurosawa films, reading a generous portion of Quantum Physics books (Thanks, Mark!), getting used to my new Japanese keyboard (so easy to switch between languages!), making ohanami plans, and annoying MamaSando with gardening advice for my two new plants, Margaret and Francis.

Hope you're enjoying Spring or your favourite weather wherever you are.

Love Love
Hello Sandwich


  1. Hi Sandwich-san!♥ I'm Yuki, a uni student from April, and have been enjoying and inspired by your charming blog a lot! My lovely Australian friend told me about your 'kawaii' blog, and have been loving it since! I just wanted to say that not only does this blog give me peaceful feelings and heaps of inspirations, but also makes me feel that there is some kind of 絆(きずな) between Australia and Japan + reminds me of the little happiness in my daily life in Japan! So anyways, thank you!♥ And looking for your next post♥

  2. Hi ...thank you for the updates. Just to let you know that i already visited shimokitazawa n im loving it. Thank you for your lovely info on shimokitazawa. Please keep on updates us on japan.

  3. Definitely would love a new Tokyo and Kyoto guide Ebony, but I'm unsure that you'll have them ready for our little holiday visit in June! Can you work really really hard?! Thanks so much for the wonderful posts and images - they are certainly making me excited about our impending trip. (ps: I was lucky enough to hear you speak in Melbourne a couple of years ago at a Craft Victoria seminar - it was such a privilege to listen to your stories!).

  4. I love all the photographs and the stores you are recommending. I am going to Kyoto in 2 weeks and I would love a Kyoto guide! :)

  5. Looks like a lovely time to be in Tokyo :) I am planning to be in the Osaka/Kyoto area this fall and I would love to see a Kyoto guide from you! hopefully it includes how to run into sweet obaachans as well? haha

  6. These are fantastic photos *_*! It makes me miss Tokyo so much.

  7. I'm very much a Tsundoku person :)

  8. i would very much enjoy a kyoto guide as well as a tokyo guide as i am going to japan next november

  9. I love the name of the CD store and it's nice to know that Japan has a word for someone who piles books up and doesn't read them. So interesting :]

  10. would love a kyoto guide... although heading there in 2 weeks, so probably too soon. :)

  11. I would love both a Kyoto and Tokyo guide! I like your friend's Tokyo food write-ups too!

  12. I totally agree that graphic design, packaging design, etc, is impeccable in Japan! *__* And your job is just way too awesome. xD These photos are all wonderful. I've been following your blog for a while now and it really inspires me and makes me happy! :) Take care!