Wednesday, July 30, 2014


          Two weeks ago, on a Sunday, I made my way to Tokyo Big Sight, Tokyo's international convention center located around Odaiba, to reinforce my denial of everything going on in my life to catch the last day of the Handmade in Japan Fes 2014.
         It was really a last minute discovery and decision. When did I hear about it? The witching hours between Friday and Saturday. From where? Those typically distracting Facebook ad. When was the last chance to buy advance tickets for it? "Saturday" =  immediately went down to the conbini ticket machine in my PJ's. 
          Kids, most of the times, the decisions you make at 4 in the morning are regrettable. This just happened to be a fluke. I got to the convention at noon on Sunday, quite resolute about 2 things: 1) I'll walk around for an hour or two and then head back and actually try to prepare myself for finals week (*retrospective chuckle*), and 2) I'm no state to splurge or accumulate luggage, so expressive admiration will be my only currency today. What ended up happening? After 4.5 hours, I made myself go home, and let's just say postcards, pins, and other knickknacks ADD UP. THEY ADD UP OKAY. But actually, despite the resources I exhausted attending the event, I feel that the hundreds of artists there, who earnestly (and probably anxiously) put out their crafts which they've clearly devoted so much into designing and making, gave me something valuable I have misplaced living too seriously day-to-day: i n s p i r a t i o n .
          In short, it was eye-awakening. A reminder of why I love Japanese people. They care so much about the arts, about the beauty of details. They are adorably humble about what is indeed greatness, and they are overwhelmingly appreciative when you tell (or show) them their work is special and meaningful to you. You can't put prices on exchanges like these. That's why I didn't feel any bit tired after almost 5 hours.
          Here are my selections from the event. In Part 2, I'll show you what I got. An anomaly in Japan, photography of all exhibitions/purchasable goods was actually allowed, although I still felt incredibly "guilty" for poking my lens everywhere. Japanese politeness has successfully pwned me there.

The Venue: 

Convention Vibes:

Don't forget that coffee also qualifies as handmade art. (Plus, I love this girl's look.) 
The artist told me they are stained glass inspired.
Guess which design I bought. 
Just casually knitting away. 
This man is very humble about his craft which I find soooo amazing.
I'm a big fan of scrap-metal work. 
Guess which animal I bought.
Live art.
More live art.
Her medium is actually stained glass.
I bought something from her too.
(Personal note: looks like my friend, K.)
Is it a good thing or a bad thing that I don't own an iPhone...
I was already so tempted to buy this entire collection.
Receiving styling advice.
Microbeads + Sewing = Painstaking
"Sometimes I'll get a client who wants something fixed/changed/added.
I can do it, but if you pierce the cloth too many times, the whole thing becomes ruined."
As cute as their work.
Top: everything onigiri-designed, including the pouch for holding 1 onigiri.
Bottom: I watched the artist make one live. It was magical.
Right: I admit I wasn't interested at first, but the artist, seeing my camera,
told me to take a picture and post it on my blog. That makes this memorable.
There were also workshops,
for kids and adults.