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Every time I think of Japan, my heart warms, even though I've never been there. We lived nearby, yet with M, we followed the 'live, but repeat' mantra, exploring destinations like Singapore, Hong Kong, Penang Island, etc., but never Land of the Rising Sun. Japan, however, holds a special place on our dream list, ranking in our top five, inspired by 'The Bucket List' movie.
I've traveled to Japan many times in one of my life's favorite movies, 'Lost in Translation'. This 2003 romantic comedy-drama, written and directed by Sofia Coppola delves into themes of alienation and disconnection. So, I invite you to explore the self-growth with Tokyo's "disoriented"!
Japan fascinates with its cherry blossoms and every spring M and I visit their garden in the center of Vilnius. I remember when we lived in Malaysia, we always bought Japanese peaches at the Japanese Isetan, which could barely fit in the palm of your hand - heavy, massive, and nutritious. Yammy! I also admired the watermelons sold here, which were in the shape of ❤!
Muji was one of my favorite shops for "varietique". I discovered it while living in Milan, where my best friends were two talented Japanese hairdressers, Koichi and Shinichi, who opened the first minimalist salon called Cut in Milan. Shinichi always did my hair, which gave me the courage to become a "local Italian" little by little. Muji's minimalism with the slogan "Less Is More" inspired me to change myself and the way I live.
Isetan Lot 10 The Japan Concept Store in Kuala Lumpur was a special spot for me. It's not just a shopping mall. My favorite Mastermind t-shirt came from there, and it's still a wardrobe staple. It's more than shopping; it's about trying new things. I first tasted fresh mochi ice cream made by Japanese sumo wrestlers there. The food, crafted by top Japanese chefs, left a lasting impression on my taste buds. Isetan Lot 10 is where my love for food truly began. The variety of tastes, colors, and shapes in Asian cuisine surprised me every weekend. By the way, one of my favorite sushi restaurants is the Japanese NOBU located in Kuala Lumpur's Twin Towers.
From the Japanese theme, I'd like to highlight a fantastic creative workshop I attended with Japanese designer Shingo Tokihiro. This memorable event occurred in Kuala Lumpur at a Performance Academy, and the impact is etched in my memory as if it happened yesterday.
Shingo shared his unique journey, mentioning that although he studied in Paris, the European design approach didn't align with his vision. Returning to his essence, he created impressive works and embroidered masterpieces that traveled across various countries over the years. His emphasis on sound during the creative process stood out, the idea that sound influences one's walk.
This several-hour workshop wasn't just an event; it was a transformative experience that enriched my life and the lives of the students in an invaluable way. The echoes of that workshop continue to resonate in my thoughts.
When it comes to clothing, Uniqlo is a must in my top five fashion brands. I love their quality basics: T-shirts, cashmere sweaters, and jeans. The price-quality ratio is perfect! Plus, I'm a fan of their collaborations, like the limited edition collection with the German minimalism queen Jil Sander.
During our time in Asia, M had a deep affection for his Onitsuka Tiger sneakers. He wore them over the years until they had holes in the soles, and it was finally time to say goodbye. I admire the essence of this brand—seventy years later, their philosophy remains unchanged: sports are the best way to unite people and unite society.
He continues to wear a Japanese handmade salad scarf, treasuring it much like a child cherishes a beloved toy... haha...
While living in Asia, I stumbled upon SuperDry, a British brand with a strong infusion of Japanese culture. The creators embarked on a "brainstorming" journey to Japan, and the result was a unique concept that, in a positive sense, swept the Japanese off their feet. It became an instant sensation, capturing their love and quickly transforming into a major trend.
As a fashion professional, I earned $250 for a one-hour consultation on Japanese brands in Malaysia with a market research company, what an insightful and rewarding experience!
Last but not least, I was thrilled to discover the Domestika course on the introduction to Japanese sashiko embroidery, titled "Introduction to Japanese Sashiko Stitching". Without hesitation, I made the purchase and plan to delve into it shortly. Sashiko, tracing its roots back to 17th-century Japan, is presented as a timeless fashion trend. During an era when resources were limited, people embraced sashiko embroidery as a method to creatively and meditatively enhance the fabric's durability, reflecting a modest way of life. The course is expertly taught by maker and sashiko teacher Atsushi Fatatsuya. I highly recommend investing in this course to broaden your creative horizons and embark on a journey of learning something new.
Japan, though distant, has quietly shaped my journey. Even without being there, Japan has become part of my creative story. Recently, a Domestika course on Japanese sashiko embroidery deepened this connection. Each stitch is a modest thread in this cultural journey, making Japan a quiet but constant source of inspiration.