Friday, 19 July 2013

Stamp Collecting

'The postage stamp is a flimsy thing 
No thicker than a beetle's wing 
And yet it will roam the world for you 
Exactly where you tell it to' - EV Lucas

Postcard swapping has been a recent thing for me but what I love just as much as the postcard some are the lovely stamps I've received. They depict  so much of a country on a small piece of paper. Fortunately for me JP Post issue amazing stamps in different values regularly unlike the UK.

I've learnt and seen so much about each place costumes, currency, architecture, foods, animals as well as national heroes and landmarks. It's a little piece of the country and something to unique to that place as well. Here are some of have stamps I've received recently. I can certainly understand why people collect them.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Miysis Cat Cafe

One of the things I miss most in the UK is my lovely cat Wesley stripes. I constantly receive email updates from my mum describing Wesley as a domestic and public menace, dead birds dead mice even a live bird under her wardrobe (don’t even ask). He’s now apparently taken to digging up her vegetable patch and ruining the new curtains poor mum. I probably receive an email once a week with her threatening to ship him to Japan!
So what does a girl do which is missing her fav kitty like crazy? Visit a Cat Café of course. Many Japanese people cannot keep pets do to housing rules or due to the size of their homes. Cat cafes are a great way to enjoy the perks of having a cat without the responsibility. Thought this is burden I would gladly take on if it was possible and I was staying in Japan for longer than my intended 2 years. Monday I went to Café Miysis I first visited last year at Christmas as a treat to myself. I hadn't long been in Japan and being over here by myself and newly arrived I was alone for Christmas *cue violins*.  It was probably the best thing I could have done with the little time and money I had.
The first time I want as per usual I took the wrong station exit and got completely lost and it took me 3 times as long to get the place. I almost gave up, so glad I didn’t! The cafe is located near Kannai Station in Yokohama not too far from the Stadium on the 2nd floor of a inconspicuous building block. Once inside you’re in a feline fantasy, the cats are refer to as ‘staff’, which I love. The human staff don't have much English but I was warned about ‘エディル’or Ediru chief cat in charge. He’s a grouch and a biter so I was advised that it was best not to approach him. In fact there were warning posted all over the place.  With no English and my limited Japanese it was hard to get more information on the feline staff. As far as I tell some are rescue cats, some kittens are offspring of the staff. I could bored you to death with description or I could just bombard you with cute photos! (>_<)
The cafe is comfortable and spacious and well looked after as are and more importantly are the cats. There are plenty of toys, scratching post, bed etc. as well plenty of nooks and crannies for them to sleep. In fact it’s fun to go on a scavenger hunt and see how many you can find. I’m each visit there has been someone overlooked! There café provide a large library of cat related literature, manga, magazines and books that you can read particular if all the staff are on a break and they don’t want you attentions. I sometimes bring my kindle if this happen but fortunately have been subsequently join but someone who thinks my lap looks particularly comfortable.

Miysis is a little safe haven for when I’m low  and just a teensy weensy bit lonely and in need something fluffy to cuddle; my feline therapy. However, no matter how many cute kittens and cats stroked and cuddled I still miss my WesWes he is my one and only. Oh Wesley nothing compares to you!!!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Paper Passions II

I finally started working with the new paper I bought. I gotta say I'm really pleased with the things that I've made. It's safe to say I can't wait to send them out to friends and family. The yellow, blue, red and pink floral envelope is off to the lovely Papered Thoughts. I hope she enjoys my response to her mail tag, I will definitely have to include a mail tag in some of my future letters.

I've long enjoyed her feed on Instagram and actually took some inspiration from some of her posts for some of these envelopes. I'm as yet undecided about the others but there is somebody on Instagram I would love to send a long letter to. Hopefully she's in agreement and I write that this coming week!

But I'm well stocked to get some summer letters out.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Nakahara Junichi Exhibition

So I finally made it to the Nakahara Junichi exhibition at the SOGO Museum of Art in the SOGO Yokohama department store. It had been on my to do list for ages and I'm glad I did. I would have regretted it like the Francis Bacon. It rivalled the ‘All You Need is Love’ exhibition at Mori Art Museum. It's definitely one of my favourite things I've seen so far this year in times of art.

Let me start with the space, being in a department store I was wary of the size of the gallery. I didn't want to end up paying ¥1000 entry for just a room with a few sketches. However I was not to be disappointed the space was a good size and exhibition large and varied. It reminded me of a Klimt exhibition I saw in Budapest there were so sketches, magazines, address books, postcards, art work, notes, posters etc. great examples of Nakahara’s work spanning the decades. Everything being in Japanese (the only downside to the exhibition) I don’t know if there from the Nakahara estate or from private collections or from on loan from other galleries. I’m guessing a mixture of all three. But I couldn’t help but think how amazing to have an original, postcard or magazine featuring his work!

Whether you're into Japanese art and illustration, textiles, dolls, kawaii, fashion (Western or Japanese), the exhibition had something for everyone. Though I must admit and unsurprisingly there were few men at the exhibition.That was lots of black spanning the entire length of his career. I don't think I saw a single dress or sketch design I didn't like. It made me want to look into more about kimonos, yukata and fashion in general, mostly the progression from traditional Japanese clothing particularly during and after WW2. I'm not really much of a fashionista but the detail was just exquisite and just so pretty and lovely. It was also great to see not exactly East meets West but East AND West. There were no dresses trying to be kimonos and no kimonos trying to be dresses. He just very diverse and created works in two very different styles.
Needless to say I bought many postcards. I was tempted to buy the exhibition catalogue but as unsurprisingly it was in Japanese. I don't really have a problem with that as it's really for the pictures. But I would like to know names of pieces further information. All in all I had lots of fun and loved exhibition. However, I would only go back to the SOGO Museum of Art if there was something that I particularly wanted to see. Unlike the Kamakura Museum of Modern Art I would visit there just for the sake of it despite being smaller and the same price entry. It has the added bonus of its location and tranquillity. Yup I'm still missing my National Lottery fund galleries of London!

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Hi July

“To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart.” Phyllis Theroux

A new month and I managed to get out the first of my postcards and letters for July. Monday's post included, some lovely summer  postcards with the cute Hello Kitty stamps issued by JP Post last month. Also some Hobbit themed mail art for a new Instagram pen friend who is Lord of the Rings obsessed. It's so fortunate that I have an old copy of Empire magazine with a Hobbit Special. 

I also sent a belated birthday letter, mini handmade washi tape card and Japanese fan to friend back home. I really hope the fan survives the journey. Last is my vintage set of postcards that I featured before with a gorgeous set of stamps. I love the Ukiyo-e stamps. I hope that I can find them again, they go with the vintage postcards so well. Here's hoping everything arrives safely and quickly.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Paper Passions

I bought lots of beautiful paper last week in Kamakura not to mention postcards and stamps. I can't wait to use them all, specially the new envelopes I have planned. I have some letters I need to finish though. I can't believe that I showed restraint and bought only 5 sheets. I will see how the first set of envelopes go.  
I also bought some gorgeous paper dolls Ningyogami '人形紙' and bookmarks to go out to pen friends. I'm not really into swapping things I much prefer a long letter and getting to know a person, but it's nice to send  to send a little something with a letter. I will try my hand at origami with 100¥ paper and see how it goes if I can manage to perfect something good I may try with quality washi paper.