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Zakka style exterior

The term ‘zakka’ in Japanese literally means ‘miscellaneous goods’ and, post-war, it came to refer to everyday utensils and home accessories.  But more recently zakka has come to mean a design style, particularly for interiors, and a way of thinking about the ordinary things we use every day.

Unicorn Gundam robot at DiverCity, Odaiba, Tokyo

Odaiba, or just Daiba for short, is an area to the south of central Tokyo built on several artificial islands and reclaimed land in Tokyo Bay.  With its open spaces, wide walkways and modern infrastructure, it’s a great place for shopping, entertainments and relaxation.  Welcome to part one of my Odaiba blog!


Mix up Japanese teacups and plates in traditional and modern styles

Are you the sort of person that likes to be told what to do?  Me neither!

At this time of year there are a lot of articles around, in interior design magazines and blogs, telling you everything from what colours are ‘in’, which decade you’re supposed to be reviving and that those expensive tiles you got for your kitchen last year are no longer in style.


Glass of Japanese craft beer

Sake is the national drink of Japan which, in spite of its clear appearance and strong alcoholic taste, is made by a brewing process not distilled as a spirit.  So it seems that brewing beer was a natural step for the Japanese.


Japanese furoshiki wrapping cloths

This useful square of fabric is becoming more talked about outside of Japan as an alternative to disposable wrapping paper.  But can we really use it here in the West?


Food stall at Ikeburuo Living Loop Festival

In my previous blog about Ikebukuro, I mainly concentrated on shops, restaurants and the sprawling station area.  However, there is still more to discover in Ikebukuro including festivals, music, arts and a big Manga and Anime culture.


Autumn leaves in Japan

Autumn in Japan brings the colourful foliage of the Japanese maple and ginkgo trees which are common in the mountains, parks and lining the city streets. 


List of roles that a small business owner takes on

One of the hardest roles for me is to be a salesman.  I am not particularly extroverted or like blowing my own trumpet so I have found selling to be quite a difficult task when I’ve been asked to do it in the past. 


Minami Ikebukuro Park

Ikebukuro is a busy commercial area to the north of central Tokyo.  It has great shops and restaurants and a large, convenient train station where you can connect to many of the main JR and Metro subway lines including the JR Yamanote line and the Maranouchi and Yurakucho Metro lines.


List of roles that a small business owner takes on

The role of the Buyer in a retail business is to decide what items are stocked and, of course, since it is my shop and I am the only member of the team, that is my role!


New Hatsukoi delivery from Japan

When you have a small business with limited resources you often end up running the whole show yourself.


Renga Zaka side streets of Nakano, Tokyo

Nakano is a vibrant area of Tokyo just a few minutes west out of Shinjuku Station on the Chuo Rapid line.

It is famous as a centre for ‘otaku’ culture and most travel guides focus on this aspect and on Nakano Broadway, a covered mall close to the station.  However, you can discover another side of Nakano which is less well known by tourists.


Inokashira Park at Kichijoji, Tokyo, Japan

Kichijoji is a lovely suburb, away from the bustle and commerce of central Tokyo.  It combines a cool, artsy atmosphere with pretty side streets and a small town feel. 


Your items are wrapped in tissue with Hatsukoi stickers

These days we're all concerned with how much we consume and how much we waste so I wanted to say something about Hatsukoi's packaging.


Fabric Town flag in Nippori, Tokyo

This is the first of an occasional series where I will tell you about my favourite places in Tokyo.  I'll start with Nippori in the East of the city.


Cafe style in your own home

It’s fun to meet friends and chat over coffee but why sit in a crowded coffee shop, with crumbs on the table and slow service? 


Japanese curry in oval bowl

Did you even know Japanese curry exists?  Of course, curry originates in India but it was brought to Japan by the British in the late 19th century.


'Tenmoku' Arita ware traditional Japanese tea cup

The design and manufacture of ceramics is one of the oldest art forms in Japan and Japanese ceramics are known around the world for their beauty and quality.


Leila in Nippori, Tokyo (Fabric Town)

I started my online shop Hatsukoi.co.uk because I love Japanese culture and design. 


Cup mended using the kintsugi technique

Can something broken be more beautiful than it was originally?  The ancient Japanese art of kintsugi says that this is definitely a possibility!


Fashionable Japanese kids wearing face masks

What do you think about the idea of wearing a face mask to prevent illness or even as a fashion accessory?


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