RETURNING TO JAPAN | A LOOK BACK AT TOKYO 2015

A few weeks ago I posted this throwback collage on Instagram. 



It was 2 years since my husband and I visited Japan and we have been obsessed ever since. (I was actually obsessed since about the age of 14, it just took a while to push that obsession into actual travel plans and corral someone else to be as enthused as I was!)


At the end of last year, we were deciding where to travel to in 2017 for a new adventure. A few ideas were on the table, New Zealand, San Francisco and New York, Seoul, Vietnam... But there was one question that we kept coming back to: will anything be as good as Japan?! 



We decided to bite the bullet and return to the land of the rising sun. Our flights are booked and in October we'll be spending two and a half weeks in our favourite place. 


I thought this would be a good time to get myself into check and actually organise what we did last time. I never really got around to it and now that we are returning, I regret it so much! I plan to make photo-albums from our 2015 trip and use this blog as a place to document what we do, where we go and what we love this year. 

Because who knows, we might even return for a third trip! 


When we went

May, 2015. It was very humid and we experienced a couple of thunderstorms(huge-terrifying-middle-of-the-night-events)that broke the humidity for a few hours tops. This time, we are going in Autumn, mainly because I saw a picture of Kyoto in full autumnal glory but also to try and explore a little more without sweating buckets. 


Where we stayed

After quite a bit of research, we settled for Shibuya and found a little air bnb in between Harajuku and Shibuya. It was an ideal base and location, with a supermarket and tube stop just around the corner. Along with places to eat, drink and explore on the doorstep. The flat was rented out already when we looked for our 2017 trip, so we found an alternate in the same location. As we are staying for longer in Kyoto this time around (during the middle of our stay) we also have a second air bnb apartment in Tokyo, closer to Shinjuku.



Favourite parts

1. The crazy hustle and bustle of Shibuya

2. The gaming district, Akihabara

3. Every single shrine

4. All the different trains (I realise how much of a geek that makes me seem and I don't even care - they were really cool!)

5. Kawaii cuteness on every corner

6. Loft Store - the sheer array of washi, stamps, paper and pens was a stationery dream

7. Being utterly lost in translation. For some people I know this is scary but I just love immersing myself in a new culture and Japan was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. 





Missed opportunities / Ideas for 2017

1. Art museums... any museums! The Tokyo Kite Museum, SCAI The Bathhouse, Mori Art Museum, ADMT Advertising Museum and the MOMAT are all on the list for October

2. Seeing the city from a view. I have a real fear of heights and literally ran away whilst in the queue for the Tokyo sky tree. This time I'm determined to go up to the top and experience the city from above 

3. Shinjuku Gardens. We allocated to see this on a Monday - the gardens close all day on Mondays!

4. The stationery heaven that is Itoya!

5. Relax a little. I suffer from serious FOMO when I travel, which menas I often burn myself out quickly and sometimes find it hard to just be still and in the moment. This time around I really want to soak up being in Japan. Take it slower, easier and not worry so much about what might be around the next corner. This will also coincide nicely with number 6...

6. Go out. Out out. Drinking out. Karaoke out. Ahhh!




Last time we visited, we also had a few days in Kyoto, and will be spending a bit more time in the old city this Autumn. 
I will dedicate another blog post to all things Kyoto in the next few weeks. 

If you have ever been to Tokyo, please leave advice and tips below!

GET MESSY 2017 | HABIT | WEEK 21

We are in between seasons again for get messy. As usual though, I like to keep up my creative habit and create independently during these moments. 

This weekend I was in London for work and visiting friends. I used the train down as an opportunity to create some art journal pages. Felt tips and a magazine - what more could you need?!








Before we embark on the next season is a perfect time to sign up to the get messy art journal programme !!

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Get Messy Art Journal is an art journaling program/community. We are a group of like minded art journalers who have come together under this art form to learn, share, practice our skills and push past our creative limits with hopes to inspire. Our community values consistent creating, encouragement and support and trying new things. We would love to have you join us as a member of Get Messy Art Journal. Join Get Messy now! " 

THE 100 DAY PROJECT 2017 | HALF WAY

The 100 day project for 2017 has reached it's half way point!



For this year, my project has been 100 days of trying to draw. 

I am trying very hard to push myself out of my comfort zone (abstract pattern, animals, nature) and focus on things that are difficult (people, cars, houses).

Animals, mountains and almost 2D objects - easier subjects for me

People and 3D objects - harder subjects for me

So far, I am happy with my progress and not yet bored; although sometimes lacking in ideas of what to draw, please comment with any suggestions below!

GET MESSY HABIT | WEEK 20

Season of contrast is over! 

Here is a collage to represent my get messy habit - I contributed, participated and shared art each week for this season of contrast. 


I will spend these next two weeks going back through tutorials and prompts that I missed during the season.


OM
- felt tips

A wonderful tutorial by Misty on using different scales in your journal. The OM sound being the biggest sound in the universe was something Misty mentioned in her video and it resonated with me. I have become more and more into yoga over the past few years and last week participated in this OM project by Yoga with Adriene - it just seemed right to put it here in my journal.


Give your brain a break 
- pen, oil pastel, acrylic paint & ink

This repeating layered pattern is something I keep coming back to again and again 


A mix of materials made up this page


Summer Vibes
- felt tips, acrylic paint & ink 

I created my girls by using Sasha's face printing tutorial. It was awesome and so much more effective than I thought! 


I loved creating a meditative jungle for this girl, it had a calming effect on me as I chose the appropriate colours and brushstrokes. 


Again with the repeating pattern marks. 



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Get Messy Art Journal is an art journaling program/community. We are a group of like minded art journalers who have come together under this art form to learn, share, practice our skills and push past our creative limits with hopes to inspire. Our community values consistent creating, encouragement and support and trying new things. This is an affiliate link to Get Messy Art Journal. This means that when you purchase a yearly membership using the link, I receive a small percentage. We would love to have you join us as a member of Get Messy Art Journal so Join Get Messy now! "

BLUESKY JOURNAL | A STRUGGLE WITH PERFECTION

2x years ago I won this beautiful journal from bluesky papers.


 It was through an instagram art challenge hosted by Courtney Burden, #makeyourmarkaug. 
There were a lot of different people participating in the project and I felt so lucky to be chosen as the winner!


It's hate to admit this.. but there is not one single page completed, not even a dab of ink or paint. 
I get frustrated with myself that I can't seem to get out of my head and into the pages.



I am searching for the perfect project. I am not wanting to ruin a beautiful gift that I worked really hard for. 
I am feeling un-deserving. It is easier to leave it blank.

I even had it engraved with my favourite "get out of you head!" quote for this very reason!


Any advice on how to get over this hump or what to use the journal for would be greatly appreciated.... 

I don't want to hold on to it empty for 2x more years!

GET MESSY 2017 | CONTRAST | WEEK 6

This is our last week of get messy's season of contrast. 
We (the get messy community) will now have a 2 week break before starting our new season. 

I always like to keep up my weekly creative habit though and am planning to dedicate the next two weeks to completing all of the tutorials I have missed / skipped during this season! 


Enough
- ink & acrylic



This double page spread answers itself. Is it enough? It is enough. Relating back to the amount of medium on the pages as well as some internal dialogue. 


Straight vs Swirl
- ink

Trying to express the contrast of straight, gridded lines and soft, natural ones. I used the same colours for each page and find that a spiral sketchbook helps with the separation of the two. 


I just loved this page on the right! 
It made me think of a "real" artist abstract sketch ;) 


Rain and Flowers
- ink & acrylic

I started this page by writing "You can't have a rainbow without some rain, flowers are the same". Then I got really into my painting and ended up covering the words in my layers of ink and acrylic.  

I meant to add the text back in, but quite liked it plain. Again with my issue of incorporation journalling into my art pages!


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Get Messy Art Journal is an art journaling program/community. We are a group of like minded art journalers who have come together under this art form to learn, share, practice our skills and push past our creative limits with hopes to inspire. Our community values consistent creating, encouragement and support and trying new things. This is an affiliate link to Get Messy Art Journal. This means that when you purchase a yearly membership using the link, I receive a small percentage. We would love to have you join us as a member of Get Messy Art Journal so Join Get Messy now! "

FILM NOTES | IRIS

Last weekend I watched a film that'd been on my watch-list for over a year; Iris. I had been waiting patiently for a perfect time to watch it, and that time was last Saturday. 


If you are not familiar with the wonder that is Iris Apfel, then let me introduce you! Iris is just amazing - a wunderkind and a true trailblazer. 
 


A women after my own heart. I love her playful and blunt nature. Her honest approach to clothes and the fashion industry. Her love and devotion to her husband, Carl (who turns 100 during the film).






Watching this film made me think of how I dressed when I was younger. Making me a bit sad for the freedom and creativity that i had back then, but have lost a bit now. 

I used to be very outlandish as a child and teen. I shopped exclusively at charity shops and discount stores. I wore piles and piles of bracelets, scarfs and used hair dye as another accessory. I was unafraid and bold - I knew what I liked and what I didn't. I cut jeans into skirts and dresses into tops, cardigans into jumpers and the list goes on... 

Watching this film has made me want to re-discover some of that girl who is still very much inside of me.. She just got caught up in all the sameness somewhere along the way. 

If you love documentaries, New York, fashion, elderly people, pattern or colour (or happily all of these things like myself!) then I couldn't recommend this any more to you. 


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You can see the rest of my film notes series here