lørdag den 30. oktober 2010

Hiroshima and colorful origami for peace

On our Japan trip we have spend a few days Hiroshima. It is a city with a tragic past. In 1945 the USA dumped an Atomic bomb over the city killing hundred thousands of people. Being at the Peace memorial museum an learning about the tragic event and what it caused of pain and radioactive pollution on people afterwards and knowing that many countries still poses nuclear power and do atomic tests today,  made a huge impression on me. I saw these great colorful collages made by folded origami birds that children had made outside the museum. They are really great and inspiring.
This was how Hiroshima looked like after the A-bomb. 3 km2 of city burned away immediately after the A-bomb.

Lear to fold some Japanese origami here.

Children made these wonderful collages of folded origami birds for peace on earth.

torsdag den 28. oktober 2010

Japanese food heaven

The food here in Japan is so enjoyable. There is so much more to the Japanese kitchen than sushi. And the arrangement of the food is just great, small portions on a small plate and very aestetically served.

Great sushi! And it's cheap here. If you go to the places where the sushi is on a conveyer belt, it's even cheaper. You just grap the plate you like and afterwards they count your plates and you pay. 
Sukiyaki - beef, vegetables, mushrooms are cooked in a hot pot in a delicious sauce of soy sauce and sugar.
Busy kitchen at the small place Ayoa in Nagamaguro, Tokyo.

In Japan they have pictures of the food they serve, either photos or funny plastic models, outside the restaurant. It's easy to order even though you don't speak Japanese, you just point.
We eat a lot of ramen, noodles. This was a nice little place in Kyoto serving Soba, buckwheat noodles.

Nice dinner at Sosuke Ryokan.
Teppanyaki uses a hot grill to cook the food. Here it's shrimps and fish with cabbage and soy sauce on the side. 

A cool place in Hiroshima serving teryaki - sticks with grilled meet, vegetables, tofu etc.
Bento boxes for lunch.
As for the sweets the Japanees don't have candy like we know it in Europe, but they do have a lot of cakes packed in beautiful boxes.
Green tea sweets, plum sweet (like jelly) and ohhh we found jelly beans in Muji, a great shop with so much nice stuff and a cool, simple design language!

tirsdag den 26. oktober 2010

Train ride to Kanazawa, Art museum and tea ceremony

We have spent a few days in Kanazawa. We are travelling around by train, a very pleasant way to see the Japanese landscape. The fast train Shinkanzen takes us hundreds of kilometers in short time. In Kanazawa we visited 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art by SANAA arcitects. The art museum is based on a round circle layout with glass facade. It is a really beautiful museum and you should go there if you ever come to Japan.

Art installation by Olafur Eliasson in the park outside the museum.

Tea ceremony in Kerukuen garden, Kanazawa.
We had green matcha tea and a sweet Japanese kind of cake made from beans. It was served by a beautiful woman in kimono.

Shinkansen, really fast train. The women in pink are cleaners who is waiting for the train on the platform, ready to clean the train in a hurry.
When traveling on the train we buy a Bento box for lunch. They have a very big selection at the stations so we stock up before leaving or when changing trains. The lunch box is so well put together and full of healthy food.
Another snack on the go is rice balls wrapped in nori, seaweed. Inside fillings can be tuna, cucumber or fish. It a great healthy snack. 
There are drinks vending machines everywhere, on the streets, platforms, trains.  I like the cold green tea. It's not too sweet and it's very refreshing.

søndag den 24. oktober 2010

Japanese poster and paper inspiration

Walking around in the streets of the Japanese cities you find many nice and fun posters. Some are really old style and others more sleek. Also the way of packaging sweets, food, drinks, gifts is really beautiful and delicate. See some of my pics here.

Afternoon snack. I love Hello Kitty.
Sake labels.
Sweet cakes in boxes.

fredag den 22. oktober 2010

Old Japan

We have been in Takayama in the mountainside in Northern Japan for a few days. This city was so quiet and calm and the completely the opposite from Tokyo. We stayed at a great traditional Ryokan (which mean an old style Japanese inn) and we had some great food there. We went to see lots of temples, shrines and old houses, the atmosphere was very calm and beautiful.

The rooms at Sosuke Ryoakan, where we were staying.  
Beautiful mattress to lay on the tatami mat to make a bed. There was tea set  in a beautiful laquer box in every room. 
They had an old hearth, Irori in Japanese, at the place we were staying to make hot water for tea and to warm the living room.
Japanese breakfast and slippers for inside the house.

Yoshijima house

Typical Japanese garden.

mandag den 18. oktober 2010

More of Tokyo...

Tokyo is too crazy! Every Sunday young people dress up an head to Harajuku (a Tokyo neighbourhood). They dress up in a variety of styles and walk up and down the streets to get noticed. We went there and looked at people, it was really interesting. They have so many fascinating youth subcultures and styles: Gothic, Lolita, mori (Forest girl) to name a few - and Rockabillies, they were dressed up and danced all the moves to the Grease Soundtrack while singing and shaking the hips. Very funny to watch!

Tokyo is full of contrast! New vs. old, futuristic vs. traditionel... After watching the Harajuku girls we went to the Meiji Shrine near by, where we were lucky to see a wedding ceremony.

Manga advertising

Today went to Mori Art museum and saw a really nice show called "Sensing Nature" about the Japanese perception of nature. We saw this amazing installation there by the Japanese artist Tokujin Yoshioka. Feathers were blown around in a big white box, making the illusion of snow fall. It was very beautiful.

søndag den 17. oktober 2010

Japanese magazines and zines

Parco is a great department store in Shibuya which has Libro book store in the basement. They have a HUGE selection of books, manga comics and magazines here. It was so amazing - I have never ever experienced a greater selection like this one! I went crazy in there and bought loads of inspiring books and magazines to fill up my suitcase.

I bought Fruits (with streetpics of Harajuku girls), Spoon, NYLON Japan, ku:nel and some Japanese fashion and lifestyle magazines. They have magazines about everything here.
Nice book covers.
I got some really nice design books as well. I am looking forward to studying this one about girls zines and the making of them (though I don't understand the Japanese text). I want to make some zines when I get back. Read about a zine workshop here in tokyo, it looks great fun!

I found this nice zine called murmur. It is published by a Japanese fashion brand and it's theme is "To live beautiful and sweet" and it talks about eco-fashion and sustainable lifestyles. It's really nice!