Long Distance Call

This was my Skype date last Sunday – my cool 94-year-old granddad.

He enjoys truffle fries, stays updated with current affairs, and he remembers our Taiwanese relatives' telephone numbers by heart. I am not too sure how he does it when I forget my wallet every other day (I literally had to have it chained to my bag). At 94, he often surprises me with his fervor to try out new things. It was a side of him which I grew up not knowing. Or maybe it was a part of him that opened up with age, to embrace life in style. Just a few weeks ago, he took the MRT train for the first time. And obviously here he is, skyping like a pro (and maybe struggling a little to understand my horrible dialect).

When I asked about my grandma, he coolly replied that things doesn't change with her illness and told me not to worry and to enjoy myself.

Looking back, my granddad was always open to us traveling. Perhaps it is because he understands the importance of leaving home to explore new lands, having left Taiwan with my great-grandfather when he was young, traveling and working in Indonesia before eventually settling down in Singapore. I wish he kept his Volkswagen van so I can boast about being ferried in one, but I will always have fond memories of him cycling behind my school bus everyday just so I wouldn't cry on my way to kindergarten. And also how he used to make us kites and even taught my brother and I how to make our own out of homemade glue, paper and rattan canes. ☺

These flashes of childhood memories gleamed over the blank frames in between, from when I was growing up till now. I am definitely guilty of prioritizing other things over spending time with my grandparents. It is so easy to take their presence for granted because they almost never demand for your time. I guess for that reason we should even more so make the effort to be in their company and bask in the years of life experiences that they are able to offer. I might then share the secret to remembering my wallet and looking effortlessly cool at 94 years of age.  ☺

Tokyo : Kichijoji

Because it is only right to finish what you have started (not to mention it is bad enough that I am only posting these pictures one year after my trip). So this is Kichijoji.

Unlike Nakameguro (as featured in my previous post), Kichijoji is huge. It is approximately an hour away from Harajuku/Shibuya area. Most people would end up in that area on their pilgrimage to Ghibli studio. On one side of Kichijoji you would find huge malls and department stores, cross over from the train station to the police station and walk right into the small streets to find small quaint stores selling stuff ranging from home wares, fashion to paper goods. 

I do not have many pictures of this place as I was just walking around and taking in chill-out atmosphere of Kichijoji most of the time while I explored a new part of Kichijoji I've never been. When I first visited three years ago my only aim was to visit the super cute Hara Donuts shop (which you might want to check out), at the other end of Kichijoji. 

A couple of nice shop fronts....

I love this picture of schoolgirls huddling together and walking in a group, it reminded me of convent school days when the only world that existed was the one under our little umbrellas.

Inokashira Park

It started drizzling again the moment I reached Inokashira Park which (uhm) dampened the mood just slightly. I mean, I was looking forward to rolling in the grass and flattening all the flowers in the same patch while at it. After about a minute, I decided that I didn't mind the rain. I love how the tiny rain droplets felt when they landed on my skin. They reminded me that I was present at that very moment, as I shared the joy of three friends struggling with the oars of their little boat and the faint scent of fresh greenery that filled the park. It didn't matter anymore.

At this point, you might be wondering if I am making up most of what I have written, especially what I have felt/ thought. Well I might have, or might have not but I am definitely writing from memory. Looking back at these pictures allows me to experience all the feelings and associations captured at that moment all over again.

Mahika Mano

The true agenda in visiting Kichijoji this round was to visit Mahika Mano Hammock Cafe and Gallery. It was pretty hard to get to this cafe as it was hidden in one of the really small streets, a short walk away from the park. So glad I made it eventually and I didn't even have to queue to get in. 

The hammock cafe actually doubles as a showroom for Hammock 2000. This means that you could actually purchase the hammock that you're sitting on while having your tea if you really like it!  For that reason, however, no photography in the cafe is allowed.

The food was not exceptionally fantastic but that's okay because you'd be too comfortable to even get up and ask them to change it. The cake and drinks were served on a low coffee table in front of your allocated hammock. Which also means you shouldn't get too carried away with swinging from the hammock unless you want your tea cups and plates to be sent to the other tables. What I really liked about the cafe aside from their comfortable swinging seats are the tiny windows that they have. The little boxes that look out across the street made me feel like I was in a different world – one where chairs are no longer relevant and getting out of hammock is out of the question. At that instance, all was right with the world. 

And it always is when you are on vacation in Tokyo. ☺

 

Tokyo : Nakameguro

I'm here to pay tribute to nostalgia, with a list of places in Tokyo which I have visited last April and really liked. I'm also doing this up for my close friends who are heading over to Tokyo really really soon. ☺ So let's start with one of my favorite areas in Tokyo – Nakameguro

Upon arriving at Nakameguro station, you will be stepping foot into one of the quaintest areas of Tokyo where time slows down to the steady flow of the Meguro river. Walk along the river and you'll find yourself on a narrow street lined with niche shops, restaurants and cafes. On each side of the river bank, neat rows of trees bendover to reach one another, while the playful breeze skip from branch to branch, sending secrets rippling across the river with every fallen leaf.

I make it a point to come back to this place whenever I am in Tokyo. This place is a favourite because it holds a lot of special memories for me – the only 21 deg celsius day I experienced two Summers ago (a huge dip from the usual 30ish), my first sakura viewing, first craft workshop which I have attended in Tokyo (with Mogu Takahashi) and my first outing with my brilliantly amazing friend Saki. It is interesting how I find myself back in same place but it feels so different every time.

Cafe Drole

One of my favorite places to drop in for a cup of coffee, some cookies and a slice of cake. Their friendly staff will also inform you if they have any seasonal specials – sakura cake was pretty special and refreshing.

I had to skip the cafe this time because I had a more important task at hand – which was to hunt for the next place in this list.

Chano-Ma Cafe

I was specially instructed to look for Chano-Ma and have lunch here on the behalf of Y who couldn't come along with me on the trip. The eggplant omelette sidedish was a symphony of flavors in my mouth, everything was really healthy and tasty. The atmosphere was splendid as well, huge windows which let the afternoon rays in and daybeds that stretched lazily by the side of the cafe. I found out that the cafe is made to be child-friendly for cool mommies to hang out and have lunch with their little kids. What a thoughtful concept!

I felt really pampered when I was there, even though it was slightly awkward to have someone remove your shoes for you. The caramel parfait was divine as well, I almost didn't want to leave but I had a date by the river.  ☺

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You could just sit here and stare out of the windows for hours, watch the shadows shift around the room, people watch or hangout with a book. And soon... it was time for me to meet my dear friend, Stacy (you will see her in one of the pictures below)!

Nill Style Cafe

I remember walking past Nill Style Cafe thinking that it was somebody's house. Unfortunately the cafe is now closed but still a good spot for photo taking – Stacy and I attempted with self-timer camera on our phones and it was hilarious.

We decided to wander around the area to see if we can find interesting shops/cafe that we have not been to as it was not our first time here. We did find some really interesting shops which I honestly can't remember without photographic evidence. But here are some that I do - 

Malmo Art Bird Books 

My きれい~ friend in her luminous fringe phase. 

My きれい~ friend in her luminous fringe phase. 

Possibly the most laid back cafe in Japan, and extra extra points on the cool vibes. The owner basically just left us alone in the cafe the entire time. It was nice to just chill out to the great music, and to be surrounded by shelves of design books that we can help ourselves to. We suspect that this place transforms into a really cool spot in the night. 

Ok Donut/ Soaks

Wherever we go, we are always on the lookout for places to have nice desserts and good coffee. We ended up at Soaks which shares the space with Ok Donuts. We said Ok to both chiffon cakes and "japanese-style" donuts for dinner because who can really say no to them. They have really interesting flavors for the donuts - ginger, tomato, gobo, lotus roots, ashitaba ... just to name a few. These donuts are made of whole wheat grains and they do not contain trans-fat (yipee). The texture is unlike the typical krispy kreme donuts, if you have tried Hara Donuts you'd know what I mean. 

The chiffon cake was soft and moist. According to my dear friend the Chiffon ケ−キ Expert, listen for the 'tssshhhh' sound when you cut through the cake with your fork. If you hear it, it's a MATCH! The evening ended with us in a pile of mush as we cooed over the playful puppy who was playing peekaboo from the sofa behind us, on top of good conversations and dancing taste buds. I'm just really glad to have Stacy's company (miss you!!), it was so much fun to be here with her this time. ♡♡♡

As always, it was pretty tough to say goodbye to this lovely neighborhood but I am looking forward to revisit, to be charmed by the place all over again. 

All You Need Is

John Lennon on Love:

“You’ve got to work on it. It is a precious gift, and it’s a plant, and you’ve got to look after it and water it and you can't just sit on your backside and think, oh well, we're in love so that's alright. But that's the secret. It's all true folks. All you need is love."

Just wanted to share this illustrated interview of John Lennon & Yoko which I felt was really well done. The illustration style seemed to have captured the slightly awkward, subdued tones of this interview. You can easily pick up the chemistry between John Lennon & Yoko Ono, it's like they share the same mind it's so amazing. ☺

This video really got me thinking about love and the idea of sharing it with someone else. There have been so many instances where my views about love had been challenged. What I think/ thought was love proved to be otherwise. Somedays, I feel like I know nothing about it and I might have given up altogether trying to define it. Only for the reason that, in love there is no because – if you find yourself having to justify love, it is probably lacking.

"If you love somebody, you can’t be with them enough — there’s no such thing. You don't want to be apart." – John Lennon & Yoko Ono

I still am a believer of love, happiness and forevers. ☺ 

Cosmos

I'm smiling as I am writing this and I can't find a reason to stop smiling. Two weeks ago I received an order request on my Etsy for Breakfast with Carol Ann Duffy tea towel to be dispatched immediately. It was my first order coming from the UK. I was thrilled, but at the same time, curious as to this urgent request for a tea towel. I wondered if the poem holds the same amount of sentimentality to my customer as it has to me. I packed the parcel and sent it out the next morning with a handwritten note, in which I took some time to share my story behind this artwork and how special this poem is to me.

Three days ago I recieved a message in my inbox and found another reason that would make me smile whenever I read this poem

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My heart was suddenly a bundle of sleepy British shorthair kittens. Everything felt so warm and fuzzy. It meant a great deal to receive this message;  to know that there are people who can relate to my works and have a part of their stories to share. This kind gesture from Ian and his wife is possibly the second best thing that happened apart from getting to hand the tea towel to the amazing Carol Ann Duffy in person (click for picture!!!!). 

It is an affirmation to the conviction I hold in what I do, to learn that this is not happenstance but a result of what I have strived for. ☺  I am really looking forward to having time to work on new stuff for Wood&Lead. It has been a little tough finding time but I have to keep going! I will. ☺

 

Oh Maira

I love staying home on a Friday Night knowing that people are out there living it up and painting the town red (and later with their dinner) because this just means that I have a lot more Alone time to myself that I do not need to share with other people who are Alone.

For me, there is a strange charm about Friday nights; the slow unwrapping of the weekend, like a precious flower, or an onion. Perhaps it is the faint static that hangs in the stillness of the air, with time unhurried. Or, the languid drawl of the night as it announces the end of a long week. You suddenly find yourself with all the time in the world to lose yourself to daydreaming, and to catch up on internet's awesomeness. What a luxury. The only thing that is really missing right now is a huge tub of ice cream. Who cares about the culminated bad calories that you have already indulged in to get past the week.

As always, I am here for a reason. Besides to mask my existentialism issues by romanticising Friday nights alone, I really want to share this video which features Maira Kalman, an established illustrator/author. I've always been in love with her works and I admit that I love her more after learning that she loves books more than I do. In this video, she explores her identity in art, and how she uses her drawings to tell stories that belong to people/strangers, which, in turn helps her to find a relationship with the world. The video is uplifting and absolutely relatable. I think what is empowering about her message is that she is telling us to look at the things that form a huge part of our lives and being creative enough to make them part of our identities. This will then help us understand our sense of purpose in this world. She is a classic example of an amazing human being.

 

"How do you know who you are? There are many parts to who you are, so there isn’t one static place. And then, the other part of that is that things keep changing." – Maria Kalman

It is funny, because I have been thinking a lot about my art lately and this video appeared in a timely fashion. While storytelling has always been the main focus behind my artworks, there seems to be a lack of a deeper connection between what I do and what it is originally intended for. I haven't been able to figure this out for a long while but now that I do, I am thankful that the pieces to this puzzle are slowly finding their way to me and this really excites me to take on an entirely new approach to my works. There is still so so so much more that I need to learn which is so daunting yet exciting at the same time.

Another gem on the internet, Pizza Feminism – feminism served fresh and toasty. It really fills you up after a week worth of listening to mind-numbing sexist jokes/comments that are being slipped into daily conversations. 

Sooo we are into March and that scares me a little. For now, I'll leave springing into action for tomorrow while I watch a movie and wait for flu medication to kick in. Happy Weekend everyone. ☺

A Very Small Exhibition

As we ventured up to the second floor of Shaw Towers and navigated through the labyrinth of shops, we found ourselves in the woods in the middle of the mall. Pushing past the glass door with a beautifully hand-scripted welcome sign, we were first greeted by a scent of the leafy greens and Joanne's smile which brightened up the space.

Very Small Exhibition is a monthly curation project where Joanne and her friends take turns to fill the space with fresh concepts and experimental installations, to provide a place where people can enjoy as a form of respite. For the month of February, it has been transformed into a retail space where Joanne provides a customized hand-scripting service for Saint Valentine's Day.

It also has everything that I love – plants, flowers, glass bottles and colorful confetti! Needless to say, I got myself a message-in-a-bottle and had Joanne hand-script a line from one of my favourite poems You are Oceanic by Tapiwa Mugabe. I loved the idea of having part of the ocean in my bottle. Maybe someday the time will come when I can let this message return to the ocean and let the waves carry it to someone else who needs it more then me. ☺

I first met Joanne at The 3rd Space Christmas Pop-Up store last year and I'm glad to have found a friend in this lovely kindred soul. What I really love about her works is in the beauty of transforming words into pieces of artworks. Her passion for her art really rubs off in our conversations when Joanne shared how she took the leap to start The Letter J Supply in pursue of creating for a greater purpose. It is something that resonated strongly with me and it really made me think hard about my craft. 

For a Very Small Exhibition, there were actually Lots To Marvel At. So much so that I spent close to two hours every time I visit. The greatest success of this exhibition is that you leave with more than the bottle of flowers in your hand, or the scent of fresh greenery in your hair. You step out with a smile on your face and a new experience that cannot be found elsewhere. Here are some amazing pictures from the exhibition, captured mostly by Evie, my tiny friend with amazing photography skills. ☺

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Have a lovely weekend everyone! ☺

Gnome Day

Every year, Gnome Day falls on a particular day in November. This special occasion sometimes extends to the other days of the year depending on the auroral activities in the sky. Or at every sighting of an ice cream cart.

Last year, we celebrated it in a form of a cosy garden party held at Da Paolo Rochester Park with some of my closest girlfriends. The set up for lunch was really simple, and I'm glad it turned out just the way I wanted. ☺

Of course, it was not without the help of my amazing friends. [Y and Evie, who painstakingly travelled around town the day before to look for the plant which I have specially requested for. Jo, who made sure I got the cake that I wanted and spending her Friday night in making the fresh plant wreath rim decor for the cake together. Lynette and Yaya's attempt to save my tablecloth crisis. And Khay for squeezing in time in between functions just to be there.] We had a lot of fun setting up the table together, and I'm glad I did it with my best friends. Sometimes it is really hard to imagine how much my friends love me from the things they do for me. Time to use it to my best advantage.

I'm just kidding, I love you guys too much!

Y bought me a pretty bouquet for the table ♡

Y bought me a pretty bouquet for the table ♡

Hand-lettered placards that I made for the guests

Hand-lettered placards that I made for the guests

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Food was pretty decent, something to be expected from the Da Paolo chain. The service, however, was way beyond terrible on that day for a place that caters to hospitality events. We didn't take too many pictures of the food as everyone was pretty famished – the half-eaten green pea soup as evidence. 

The pictures in this post were taken mostly by P (thank you!!) and a few from my own camera. ☺

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MY CAKE !!!!! Red Velvet from my friend's bakery Cake Spade (please try their cupcakes too) I love how simple and organic it is, and the cream layer was nicely done.

[Behind the scene] This is what goes on during our gatherings most of the time, I'm most guilty of it hehe – 

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Awkward turtle

Awkward turtle

A few more short of full attendance - Lynette, Yahui, Jo, Pandora, Khay, me & Yuxuan.

A few more short of full attendance - Lynette, Yahui, Jo, Pandora, Khay, me & Yuxuan.

Spot the awkward pinky

Spot the awkward pinky

What turned out to be a really short lunch was made extra special by having my close friends all together. The ones whom I have grown up with since we were crazy girls in blue pinafores gallivanting around town, drinking too much bubble tea and trying to squeeze into neoprint machines. Some of whom I have survived multiple school assignment deadlines with. As well as the ones I've bonded over coffee/sushi sessions and while sitting in bookstores folding paper and typing on typewriters. Even though not everyone could make it to lunch, please know that all of you are special to me and thank you for being my extra sparkly beacons of light (you know who you are!). Regardless of the duration of our friendship, each and everyone of you mean soooo much to me. I had a really great birthday week with all my favorite people, brunch, coffee,  thoughtful gifts, miffy balloon, cupcakes, and a whole lot of sweetness. ☺

!!! HOLY CRAP !!!

Taking adventures during lunch time would be one of our favorite things to do on a weekday . This time we popped by Temporium for the "Google Translating Tokyoto" exhibition, presented by  Holycrap.sg. Now, this collective is an interesting one – Holycrap is made up of creative director Pann Lim, his wife Claire and two children Renn and Aira.

On our way up to the gallery space after lunch

On our way up to the gallery space after lunch

Got distracted by the cute Kewpie and ice cream sign from the cafe next door

Got distracted by the cute Kewpie and ice cream sign from the cafe next door

Temporium  on Dunlop Street

Temporium on Dunlop Street

Resident Temporium owl keeping watch

Resident Temporium owl keeping watch

Rubbish ??? Famzine??

Rubbish ??? Famzine??

Holy C -laire,  R -enn,  A -ira,  P -ann presents Rubbish Famzine

Holy C-laire, R-enn, A-ira, P-ann presents Rubbish Famzine

The big bosses behind the show

The big bosses behind the show

When we first stepped into the exhibition space we were told that the exhibits on the wall were placed at a height for kids to view and therefore, the adults have to bend a little in order to view the artworks at a closer range. No one seemed to mind, and we proceeded to explore the exhibition space in wide-eyed wonder. The afternoon sun decided to join in the fun, lifting everyone's mood and illuminating the exhibition space giving it a warm and cheerful vibe while the children's chatters can be heard echoing through the high ceiling.

The most enjoyable part of the exhibition was seeing things through Renn and Aira's artworks – for the same reason to why I enjoy working with children, their perspectives are typically unaltered and full of imagination. Plus these kids have an incredible sense of texture and colors! I also really liked Aira's collection of headless snapshots while on-the-go in Japan. ☺

We were really fortunate to get some time to speak with Pann as he took time to tell us the stories behind Renn and Aira's artworks, how some of the works were inspired by his collection of vinyls and he also shared with us their process of making artworks together as a family. When I asked about Renn's natural flair in picking colors, I was surprised that Pann was equally fascinated by it. It is amazing how everything feels so organic. What all these works actually translate into would be the parents' love for craft and their children.  ☺

I'm not too sure if it was intentional but the paper planes added a nice touch to the overall exhibition

I'm not too sure if it was intentional but the paper planes added a nice touch to the overall exhibition

PREACH

PREACH

A nice quiet moment shared by Daddy and his kids

A nice quiet moment shared by Daddy and his kids

I feel really happy (and admittedly envious) that both Pann and Claire are so supportive of their children's art and that they take great care in nurturing them and teaching them about life through the process of art-making. I personally feel that it is something very valuable but sadly lacking in Singapore's education system when the emphasis is all about success and academic excellence. I hope that this exhibition would inspire parents and parents-to-be.  It is not about beating the system, but making life with what you have and what you want it to be. ☺ 

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When I asked Aira what was her favourite thing to draw she told me she loves drawing girls. I shared with her that I used to draw a lot of mermaids when I was at her age and she seemed pretty tickled by that little nugget of information.

When I asked Aira what was her favourite thing to draw she told me she loves drawing girls. I shared with her that I used to draw a lot of mermaids when I was at her age and she seemed pretty tickled by that little nugget of information.

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Here are some pictures of Rubbish Famzine Issue 1 –

Here are some pictures of Rubbish Famzine Issue 1 –

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I thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition, so much so that I went back the second time which was well-worth. So if you have some time today you definitely don't want to miss this beautiful project ! It's the last day of Holycrap exhibition and they will be opened till 8 pm. ☺

World

On the other side of the world,
you pass the moon to me, 
like a loving cup, 
or a quaich. 
I roll you the sun.

I go to bed,
as you're getting up
on the other side of the world.
You have scattered the stars
towards me here, like seeds

in the earth.
All through the night,
I have sent you
bunches, bouquets, of cloud
to the other side of the world;

so my love will be shade
where you are,
and yours,
as I turn in my sleep,
the bud of a star.

– Carol Ann Duffy

 

Where two oceans meet

Australia was never in the list of places that I'd like to travel to. Somehow, the beauty of its nature left me bewildered and charmed. I was so exhilarated when we reached the top of Leeuwin Lighthouse, after 300 steps that I completely forgot about my fear of heights. With acres and acres of green rolled out before me, there was just so much to take in. 

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happy survivors of my 110km/h driving

happy survivors of my 110km/h driving

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Cape Leeuwin is the point where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean, and the only place where you can see the Indian Ocean to your right and the Southern Ocean to your left. If you think about the distances these great oceans have covered and the stories they have carried from all over, it makes it pretty special to see how they collide to make magnificent waves.

Tokyo In A Flash

Some pictures captured on camera. As the trip was pretty hectic, there was rarely time for strolling and taking pictures. I got to explore a lot more of Shinjuku and Shibuya this time around but I wouldn't say that I really enjoy it. I should really get down to uploading my pictures taken in April as there is so much more to see. On an irrelephant note, I learnt how to ride a scooter yesterday and it was pretty fun. Happy Saturday everyone. ☺

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Tokyo Art Book Fair 2013

This blog has gathered  just enough cobwebs for Halloween! Yipee.

So the waves have finally brought me back to my sunny shores. Actually, since a week ago. My mysterious disappearance to Australia was the result of being sucked into a relentless temptation offered by a budget airline and a need for some quiet time.  I will be posting my photos from my trips bit by bit so there would be something to look at for the next few days.. weeks... months? 

 It is hard to believe that September came and gone just like that. 21st September was a day that I was counting down to since the 1st of July. When the day finally came, I did not know what to expect and almost relieved at the fact that I am present in Tokyo, at Tokyo Art Book Fair as an exhibitor.  By Grace I made it there, and I am sure glad I did. ☺

This year's fair was a massive one, we were one of the 300 over booths at Tokyo Art Book Fair held at a university with the most confusing name at Shinanomachi, Tokyo this year. The event was a huge eye-opener, it was really great meeting independent publishers from all over the world. However, there were a few challenges in being part of such a huge exhibition as well – in trying to stand out and having to set prices at a competitive rate. When I took a break from manning the booth and walked around, it was only then I realized how huge the compound was. I ended up only purchasing two zines on the first day myself. Both were by Taiwanese designers and extremely lovely. ☺

Seated at my tiny corner at the booth, it was interesting to observe the way people interacted with my designs and the display space. It was an incredible experience to see how your design extends beyond the physical material (in this case, the book) and to the environment in which is sitting in and vice versa. It gave me a lot of ideas on how my works can be improved to provide a more wholesome experience. I also thoroughly enjoyed talking to people who took interest in my works, to explain about the concept of my writings and designs even though not everyone who came by left with something in the end. It was a truly humbling experience to meet people who tell you that they appreciate what you do, and my heart stifles a chuckle whenever I see people smiling while flipping through my books. 

 

 

Over the 3 days, we had our fair share of surprises – friends (Saki, Silas, John & Lp) who showed up to give their support, as well as acquaintances who came by with coffee and chocolates, including the man from an antique shop in Shimo who loaned us display items for free. There was also a sweet Singaporean lady who dropped by our booth with her son to show her support when she realized that we are also Singaporeans. Not forgetting Bernice, Stacy and Josiah who helped us packed at the end of the fair and Josiah who carried my stuff up 5 levels to our apartment with his super strength after he learnt that our apartment elevator was not working. So thankful for these people. ☺

This trip was unlike any other trips to Tokyo, mainly because the intention was not for vacation. It is definitely a great experience and something I wouldn't mind doing again. As there is always a first for everything, I am beyond blessed to have this experience to call my own.

Here are some pictures that I have managed to capture amidst the crowd! Hope you guys will enjoy the post, it was not easy typing with both hands covering my ears to protect them from the boisterous roar of the thunderstorm. ☺ 

 

Entrance to Kyoto University of Art and Design, Tohoku University of Art and Design GAIEN CAMPUS   

Entrance to Kyoto University of Art and Design, Tohoku University of Art and Design GAIEN CAMPUS

 

Stamping workshop at one of the tents on lvl 1

Stamping workshop at one of the tents on lvl 1

Cute booth designed like a birdhouse

Cute booth designed like a birdhouse

Random by PY Leong X Wood&Lead

Random by PY Leong X Wood&Lead

Our tiny booth – I had to balance a merchandises on my head and it helped to draw some crowd.

Our tiny booth – I had to balance a merchandises on my head and it helped to draw some crowd.

Customers browsing through  Of Clouds & Parenthesis , a travelogue.

Customers browsing through Of Clouds & Parenthesis, a travelogue.

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LP who gave us a HUGE surprise by turning up with John without notice 

LP who gave us a HUGE surprise by turning up with John without notice 

Michelle, Wood&Lead customer who bought and modeled the tote *___*

Michelle, Wood&Lead customer who bought and modeled the tote *___*

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Click on the image above to watch the video which accurately captured the mood of the book fair. This video was taken and originally uploaded by my friend Stacy who runs a cool site with updates of her life in Tokyo. 

 

Also, Wood&Lead items sold at Tokyo Art Book Fair are now available for purchase, visit Wood&Lead Etsy store now ! ☺ 
  

 

ロコロコ

One of my very first observations made in London was how everyone had a book in hand while riding the tube from Heathrow airport. I felt like I have stumbled into a secret book club that doesn't only read wine labels or the kcal column of cereal boxes. It made me really happy for that reason, especially after many hours of traumatic transit experience. It was a welcoming change from seeing people with their eyes glued to their mobile life support devices that screens the latest episodes of their korean drama serials.

I don't remember when I started to like reading but I would say that my earliest influence would be my elder brother. He is the most intelligent person in my entire family and I would always try to read everything he did when I was young. For that reason, I read books about planets – there was this specific one on Saturn which I remember reading from time to time. Honestly, I can't remember anything I read now besides relating Saturn to the Beyonce meme 'if you like it you should put a ring on it'. I also read mythology, magic the gathering fan fiction (don't look at me like that) and even Shakespeare who totally lost me at 'where art thou'.

The library was one of my favorite places when I was young (10 year old-ish). Strangely, it is also the place I would go whenever I was sad. I love how quiet it is and how easily it is to get lost in stories that are not mine. The most enjoyable part of borrowing books would be scouring the shelves high and low for the one that catches my eye. I would spend a lot of time in search of the right book, indignant that the best stories are the ones that you really take time to carefully discover. And it always is that case.

Perhaps it was the love of reading that inspired me to attempt writing. I'm currently working on my second zine now, which requires me to write A LOT. It is a challenge that I've set for myself. However my brain is quite incapable of multitasking. When I get absorbed in working on my drawings  I lose the ability to effectively string words together. I've been trying really hard, only to end up running the threads over and over every word I've penned because they sound so ridiculously clumsy. Whenever it gets really busy, I wish I can split myself into tiny blobs like LocoRoco (ロコロコ). I would be able  to write while liaising with suppliers, take endless trips to the printers', draw, design, fight off the Moja troops and bake a batch of macaroons while at it. Crazy, but I know it's going to be entirely worth it. I hope I will pull through this time.

Leaving you with the karaoke version to LocoRoco theme song here in case you need something to sing along to in the shower.

Rolling In The Deep

Here's something I've been working on (besides a better sense of humor), when I am not photoshopping faces on stalks of broccoli. I've been illustrating a lot, compiling my series of 'pun' drawings into a book/zine for the Tokyo Art Book Fair this year (!!!). It has been really interesting so far. I've done a lot of hand lettering and made a lot of patterns and these are some things that I didn't exactly think that I'd be doing. The following week would mark a huge milestone in this project. While I'm a little nervous, I'm really excited as well. I made a silly gif out of the buns featured on my zine cover. I wish I am able to relate to the one with a bag of baguette, holding a stalk of daisy, but I really feel like the one at the bottom doing the running while trying to balance everything at the same time. I have exactly a month. If the rolling pin is my only mode of transportation I'll roll my way to Tokyo. じゃね! I hope you guys enjoyed the gif better than my Adele reference.

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The G M P

It's 10 a.m. I'm up and writing.

That calls for a ribbon cutting ceremony!  

I'm not a Morning Person. When I am, I'm a G M P (yep you guessed it, Grumpy Morning Person). I believe I am lacking an enzyme in my body that allows me to be enthusiastic about life before 11 a.m.

It is a shame though, there are a lot of things I love about mornings. The soft sun rays breaking in through the windows, the dewy scent of grass and the slow undressing of day. Plus, that feeling that you have all the time in the world to check off that long to-do list of the day (woohoo!). I'm not even being sarcastic.

Mornings are usually the slowest part of a day. My brain processor speed drops by 300% and I move like a sloth reaching for banana (if they eat bananas). The first thing I do when I get out of bed is jump straight into the shower once I have managed to free myself from my blanket cocoon. Then I sit in front of the dressing table and stare into   n    o   t   h   i   n   g   n   e   s   s   for an entire 15 mins. It takes that long for me to register that my life starts after those 900 seconds. My excuse would be that I'm waiting for my hair to dry.

Of course, this is only done in the comfort of my own house, it's a different thing when I travel with friends though. I mean, I try to be as enthusiastic as I can. Or perhaps I'm just less grumpy in the mornings while on vacation mode.

I do envy people who are able to get up early everyday, it is a clear sign that they are obviously winning in life. You have no idea how many times my toothbrush literally flew out of my hand while I was brushing my teeth. Besides scrubbing my teeth I have to scrub my toothbrush (with someone else's hehehe just kidding) and then I have no energy or time for breakfast.

The only reason why I am here is because I couldn't sleep the entire night despite staying out till 4 a.m.. What an irony to fail at the one thing I do best. I have a sensitive/wonky body clock which doesn't quite like it when I try to live in an alternate time zone and it punishes me with sleeplessness. In an attempt to reset it, I am planning to stay up the entire day. And if it doesn't work, I might just have to move overseas... you know just felt the need to inform you guys of this future possibility..

By the time I finish writing this post it would be 11 am. I would then be able to start my day proper and get some design work done while pretending that I have had 8 hours of sleep! I've been really busy working on artworks for my zine projects, which I am really excited to share more about soon! I'm so glad that I had this time to write though. See, aren't mornings just amazing?

To end off this post, if you see me before 10 a.m., a flat white would be great (a glazed donut would be a bonus) and I apologize in advance for my resting bitch face

I was really curious to whether sloths eat bananas so I did a search. Apparently it seems like it all boils down preferences - sloth eats banana vs. no bananas. Oh btw, Good Morning! ☺