Stumbled upon the Japanese Culinary Center in NY during my walks from Grand Central to classes at the Japan Society. It looks really interesting. A quote from their website gives a pretty good overview:
“Your One Stop Shop to the Flavors of Japan… to bring an extensive collection of culinary items from the world of Japanese cuisine to New York City.”
View of the Center from their gallery on japaneseculinarycenter.com
Their list of offers covers the gamut of Japanese Life’s Sweet Essential #1 – Food.
- Japanese Professional Knives
- Ceramic Ware and Pottery
- Kitchen Utensils
- Japanese Foods & Ingredients
- Kitchen Disposable Items
- Uniforms for Restaurant Use
- Custom Made Professional Tools
- Cooking Books
- Sake Tasting Seminars (oh yes!)
- Cooking Classes (sign me up)
I have to give them very low marks for their website, it really is dreadful. But having walked past their extraordinary window displays for the past few months I am going to let that slide. So I’ve signed up for their emails in the hopes to checkout their upcoming sake tastings and cooking classes. Will keep you posted.
First of 3 packages arrived today.
Couldn’t wait. Had to play dress up! (＾▽＾)
As a little treat to myself, I splurged this week. Purchased Baby the Stars Shine Bright new spring print. It has a, ahem, rather questionable title – Cherish My Juicy Cherry. Don’t get me started! The name has plenty of commentary across the online community. The crew at Tokyo Rebel, NYC’s Lolita bastion, put it the most polite, “This print series from Baby proves both that the company has a sense of humor about their series titles and that they still do make straight sweet Lolita prints in traditional sweet colorways.”
Once I got over the name, I fell head-over-heels for the print. I am a bit old school when it comes to lolita styles, which might have to do with, oh I don’t know, the fact that I am not the youngest follower of the fashion. My real passion though is for over-the-top sweet lolita. Clearly I don’t believe the fashion has an age limit, or I wouldn’t wear it, but I have been hesitant to strut a full on OTT look. This print could change that.
Hurry postman, hurry, and bring the goodies home to me:
P.S. This will be my first time ever wearing a blue print. Could have very easily gone for the pink version… but why not live a little.
Game of Twister anyone?
We were in a brainstorm session on a project yesterday. Everyone was given a sheet of these labels to vote on the best ideas. But I couldn’t stop thinking, “Mini Twister, how cool.”
There are 3 websites that I frequent regularly to find cute Japanese fabric. The first is Super Buzzy, the second is Fabric Tales, and the third Emi Craft in Japan on Etsy. They all have a very good selection of prints that span from cute animals, to sweets, to fairy tales. And all these shops carry fabric prints that you will not find in your local JoAnn Fabrics collection.
Last month I came across a fabric called Rabbit Tea Party in a black and gray colorway on Emi Craft. A few clicks, quick checkout with PayPal, and before long it arrived in the post. It has since stayed tucked away in queue behind several other projects being finished up. [While I love that inspiration strikes and projects amass, I should know by now that it is so much better if I focus on one thing at a time. Anyway…]
The challenge with this fabric will be how best to maximize it. It is a precious 2 yards. I am not sure if it is possible, but ideally I want to make a one piece dress. Now for the inspiration – a favorite Japanese brand, that I would gobble up if it wasn’t for their oh so petite Asian sizing, Emily Temple Cute.
After browsing Marui One’s online catalog of ETC dresses, came across not only the dress styling I want to mirror but a somewhat similar fabric as well. Stripes and macaroons clearly go well together.
Since I have so little wiggle room for mistakes due to the amount of fabric, this project is going to take some time. First step will be to find a few patterns that will get the closest shape, then onto a muslin draft, adjust the pattern, and then go for it.
But first things first… got to make it through the work week.
Amazing to think that such a pop culture icon will be up for sale next month at Sotheby’s!
At the park today I couldn’t help but notice an uncanny similarity (￣▽￣)
I was in Kinokuniya recently and picked up a spring mook (cross between a magazine and book and, like great American cereal boxes, can often contain a lovely promotion item). It included a large cat face tote bag and a smaller cat face purse. Over the past couple of years I’ve seen the brand’s designs pop up in several of the Japanese publications I peruse. Now owning 2 pieces I am really taken with Ahcahcum-Muchacha.
What I know of the brand is that it was founded by Masako Shinya. The children’s line I believe is Muchacha and the women’s line is Ahcahcum. In college I had a bit of a thing for making collages. And her creations totally take me back to those days. A little bit retro, a little bit art, a little bit cute, a little bit freaky – a whole lot of cool.
The rabbit print items in particular are my favorite. On the brand’s blog I found the photos of the group making tote bags with random bits and pieces. Such a great concept. Merging fashion design with craft and collage. Totally has me inspired to try my hand at it.
What do you think?
Credits: (Collage 1) Rabbit print dress & bag sourced here; (Collage 2) Rabbit necklace sourced here; all other images are from ahcahcum-muchacha.com.
Arrived in St. Louis last night, just in time to see the sun setting on the Gateway Arch. Off to lots and lots and lots of meetings for the next few days. Working hard to earn some of Life’s Sweet Essential #4 – Money.
Friday was the conclusion to the Japanese language – part 1 lessons I have been attending at Japan Society. To learn something, really learn it, I like to throw myself in fully. Short of moving to Japan, I am actively finding as many ways possible to absorb the content.
So much of a country’s culture is poured into their language. To truly grasp the context one needs to also see the language in action. What shaped the dialect, what historical occurrences defined common sayings, what foreign influences were adapted along the way?
My ever patient and encouraging boyfriend was game to partake in what I am calling a J-Weekend. A 3-day quest to tap into all things Japanese.
After pulling together a Tokyo-worthy Otome-Kei coordinate, we were off. Friday began with a shopping spree at Mitsuwa, in New Jersey. First stop was Sanseido Bookstore. Picked up the Spring edition of Gothic & Lolita Bible. The shopgirl was so sweet, with my purchase she gave me an extra copy of the GLB poster they received! Next up was Mars where I picked out a thank you card for Aizawa-sensei. On to Minamoto Kitchoan to get a gift of seasonal wagashi as a thank you present for Sensei. And no trip to Mitsuwa is complete without picking up a cart full of yummy Japanese groceries. Grabbed a pre-packaged bento for a quick meal before class.
Made it back home with just enough time to put the groceries away, switch out my dress for jeans (still pulled off an Otome esthetic), grab my school bag, and make it to the train. Class was so lively. By week ten we all were much more relaxed with each other and so there was quite a bit of giggling going on. Especially as one classmate, when asked to use our newly learned verbs, was uncovered to have had quite a lot of beer to drink lately. Which is a great segue into the final stop for the day.
After class, many of us adjourned to Riki, a local izakaya (typical salarymen restaurant/drinking establishment). What better way to learn more about the language then to enjoy Life’s Sweet Essential #1 – Food. We had our own screened room with traditional seating which was great as it allowed us to be a bit rowdy. For some bizarre reason the girls sat at one table and the boys the other.?.? It was great to finally get to relax and learn more about everyone outside of school. Something we have promised to do again in May. Several pitchers of beer and many glasses of sake later we parted ways.
A much more relaxed pace was planned for Saturday. We had a lovely sashimi style lunch made from the Mitsuwa trip loot. I pulled together a NY take on Sweet Lolita (black + cute) for a night out at the movies. We saw Sakuran, staring Anna Tsuchiya! The story is a period piece and not terribly original. But the director’s adaptation of the manga was an incredible kaleidoscope of colors. The set was absolutely astonishing. I will say that it is a long way to go to see a movie from 2006 though when you live in the burbs – but I had a blast getting all dressed up anyway. After the show, the folks at Japan Society were handing out adorable bookmarks with an illustration from the manga.
After gallivanting around for the majority of the weekend, a nice casual day in was planned for Easter Sunday. Spent most of the morning finishing up a little project to convert 2 hippie-esq, floor length, summer dresses I picked up on discount into a casual Lolita skirt/petticoat. Lolita is not exactly mainstream culture in Japan I realize – but an area of the culture I am infatuated with just the same.
I chopped both dresses across the bottom where the volume was the fullest. With some fabric I had in my stash I added a pair of built-in bloomers. Totally digging this concept as I am not the biggest fan of elastic, so whenever I can reduce some of it from the equation, all the better. A bit of gathering at the waist and all 3 pieces were ready to be attached to the waistband, which was also a recycled shirred halter top from one of the dresses. And voila, a super light weight skirt or petticoat for the summer months.
Started work on a hair corsage as well. Can’t wait to finish it. Picked up the crown applique in the Fashion District awhile back and have been dying to use it in a project. Stay tuned to see the finished piece.
And so there you have it – my jam packed J-Weekend.
Now what am I going to do next weekend?
Credits: (Friday Collage) The photo of the wagashi is from Minamoto Kitchoan’s website; the photo of Aizawa-sensei came from Japan Society’s website; (Saturday Collage) the photo of Anna in Sakuran is a wallpaper from nautiljon.com.
A photographic celebration of Hanami – 3 April 2012.