Japan, June 2017
I've recently arrived home from a trip to Japan more inspired than I have been in ages. The trip was insane, Japan is insane. Everything from the cuisine to the night life to the traditional bath houses to walking for 7 and a half hours from one side of Kyoto to the next, made me want to return and settle there for a while one day. Being able to just walk and observe the transition from one crazy street full of neon lights and billboards with sexy men and women on them, then to turn a corner to find yourself walking under beautiful greenery, with the sweetest art galleries and design stores tucked into the ridiculously intriguing architecture was probably the best experience I've had whilst travelling ever.
Kyoto is the best, serene and just straight up beautiful. Osaka has beautiful shopping, every store you go into you want to stay in forever. . . the fit outs along with the products are so so pleasing. Also the modern art museum in Osaka is next level. Nagoya was kind of strange, but went to some very suburban, very traditional bath houses with great tiling on the interior. Kobe reminded me of Wellington because of the waterfront, also beautiful streets to walk along and again the shop interiors were inspiration to all. Tokyo you can't not adore, even with the business men who stink of alcohol, and force themselves onto the trains when it is obviously already at maximum capacity. The parks, the architecture, the shopping, the people, there is just so much going your eyes never want to close. Kamakura let us swim in the 30 degree heat. A cute beach town an hour out of Tokyo that provided us with cold water and a whole lot of the cutest shop signage.
We stayed in air bnbs for the entirety of the holiday and even this got me thinking about design and architecture more than I have in years, like properly thinking about floor plans and programming. The spaces we stayed in were on average about 10-12m2 for the three of us - so tiny. It's insane to think that people are living in these teeny spaces on an every day basis, I mean three weeks of them caused us enough tension, I can't imagine what it would be like as a permanent situation. The apartments had the basics, but the lack of bench space really got me thinking. With the ever growing population, small spaces are the architectural issue of the future and I'm very excited to do more research and come up with my own concepts for these teeny tiny abodes.
Japan can certainly pride themselves of the brilliance of their graphic designers, with the amount of free business cards and flyers I collected on my trip I am contemplating composing a beautiful 200 page hard cover book. But this is for a later post. . . I will do some scanning of my favourite pieces and show you just how great the design is, cause it really is.
Go to Japan, there is no way you will regret it.