Tokyo by night

On my second day in Tokyo I got to experience the mandatory Shibuya crossing. It was on a Friday evening so there was a lot of people (probably average for Tokyo standards but massive for a Helsinkian). I think that's when it really sank in, "I'm really here!" I felt like such a globetrotter in this cool capital city that never sleeps. Did the kiwi cider I had just had have something to do with this sensation? Maybe a little. What really happened was that we were home by midnight because we didn't want to miss the last metro. Luckily you don't have to pull an all nighter to see the city in this different light. A few days later I found myself at the Shibuya crossing again. This time I took a few minutes to observe the stream of people walking by. Walking through a crowd like this and not panic was a big deal for me. I walked by so many of these small cozy restaurants. I really like the clean yet inviting design of their facades.  Cartoon billboards, me like! It's interesting how lanterns immediately make space seem more cozy.  I spent a lot of my time in Tokyo in…

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The Compartmentaliser

I'm the kind of person who really hates looking for things. This has made into an avid organiser. My space is not always clean (I'm not a big fan of vacuum cleaners) but my things are always organised. One side effect of this is that I have a weakness for what you could call organising tools, boxes, folders, pouches you name it. I probably have it worst for pouches, I mean, I have a pouch for my pouches! It's probably because I can make them myself and I always find new uses for them. When I was packing for Tokyo, I realised I could use a couple of pouches for smaller items that can easily get lost when unpacking a large suitcase. I also thought they could be useful for those deep bags with dark lining that seem to swallow small things like hair accessories. So I went through my fabric scraps and found pieces that matched my flea market bought zippers. My materials kind of limited the size of the pouches but I wanted to make the as pretty as possible. I thought about decorating them with embroidery but I wanted to try some new techniques. I ended up using tucking and…

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Fairy tale gardens

Yoyogi Park on a summer Sunday is full of locals and tourists having picnics and unexpected performances. When we sat down for a lunch break that hot june afternoon I felt like a local for a brief moment.  I don't know if it was the group of teenage girls dressed like sailor moon or the rockabilly dancers that got me so distracted that I forgot to take pictures. I did have my camera ready when we visited the Meiji Jingu shrine and the surrounding forrest. There was something incredibly majestic and serene about that forrest, even though there were almost as many people there as in Yoyogi park. The shrine itself was under renovation but we still managed to "crash" one wedding. We also visited the garden with the iris flowers that were in full bloom. I was captivated by the shere height and variety of the trees but here I got distracted by the ladies in the lovely kimonos.  When you're walking by serene ponds like this you forget that you're in the middle of a busy capital city. I don't think I've ever taken so many pictures of fish in my life as I did of carp on this…

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Stitch me another letter

Last time I was experimenting with embroidery I stitched my name on a piece of fabric. I really liked embroidering letters so when I wanted to try the chain stitch I thought I'd try different types of letters and ended up using my logo. It turned out to be a good practicing ground. It's easier to compare the different stitches and swatches when the motif is the same. Here are some of my latest embroidery experiments. One thing I need to do is find a stronger heat transfer pencil or maybe try other transfer transfer methods. I had to sit by the window in order to see these lines. For this sample i was embroidering the logo using the chain stitch. Maybe not the best stitch for letters in this size or maybe I should have made the chain stitches shorter. Another option would be to stitch something along the edges of the letters. For my next sample I used my bigger hoop and tried using several colours. I chose the three colours below because I thought they worked well together and then I just improvised my way forward. Because of my weak heat transfer pen I quickly outlined the letters. Next time I think I'll…

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Everyone is welcome

I recently bought a Museum Card as a birthday present to myself. With the card you can visit over 240 museums all over Finland and it's valid for a year. I think the card is a brilliant idea since museum entrance usually costs 10-15€. It's great to give as a gift and I think you end up visiting museums more often once you have the card. But let's not forget that for many people going to museums is just something they can't afford. That's why I like the UK's approach to museums, all national museums have free entry. So everyone has access and everyone is welcome! On our last day in Edinburgh, we visited the National Museum of Scotland before heading to the airport. I didn't know anything about the museum before we went so I was expecting it to be about the country's history. This national museum however had some surprises in store. Besides Scottish history there were artifacts from cultures all over the world, animals, minerals and a whole lot more. It's like the people who put this museum together decided to put a little bit of everything in it, just for the fun of it. They also have very friendly guides who tell you…

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The accidental wedding crasher

Ok, so I didn't actually crash any weddings per se, I just happened to be among the tourists outside the shrines when these weddings took place. I was so intrigued by the couples' wedding attire that I couldn't help taking some pictures, I really hope they don't mind! I would like to learn more about these garments so if you know about a good book or documentary on the subject, please let me know. I just love the pattern and colours of this kimono. Funny story, at some point this groom was waving some kind of device in the air as the wedding photographer was telling the family where to stand. I asked my friend what he was doing and while she was telling me that it was some kind of 360 degree camera, he made eye contact. He nodded in our direction and smiled like he was saying "I know you're talking about this cool gadget of mine" This couple seemed very relaxed when they were getting their picture taken. The other weddings parties we saw felt much more formal somehow. I really like the shape of this bride's headdress. Every bride and groom should have an umbrella carrier at their wedding! How odd…

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In a galaxy very very near

I have thing for fireworks. I love watching them and in the past few years I've been very keen on photographing them as well. This has not always been the case. There was a time when fireworks made me incredibly tense as the sound reminded me of bombs. It took a while but eventually I was able to go outside and enjoy the explosion of colours. As for photographing fireworks, it started with my previous camera that had a fireworks setting. I don't think I was using that setting properly but I loved the messy abstract images I got. Now that I've gotten better acquainted with my dslr I know I should use a tripod to get the proper shots. I however find that it is the random experimental images that speak to me. You know the ones, that look like someone put a laser in a blender or nebulas and galaxies far far away. I do plan to buy a tripod and then I'll try the more professional way of photographing fireworks. After I watched the fireworks marking the beginning of Finland's centenary anniversary and the euphoria of that experience had worn off, I started thinking how I'd just basically watched tens of thousands (maybe even hundreds…

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Of Monsters and Fries

After the first week in Tokyo I started to wonder where all the really over the top Kawaii people were. I was told that it's a common misconception, the over the top street style we often see in magazines and blogs are actually not as widespread as you would think. Sure, you'll see people with individual sense style and you'll find some uniquely dressed groups posing on Sunday afternoons in Harajuku but those "I look like I'm going to a costume party everyday" individuals seemed kind of rare. Maybe I was just not in the right place but maybe that's why I really wanted to visit the Kawaii Monster Café, I needed a proper dose of kawaii while in Tokyo. To call the place a theme restaurant is a bit of understatement. I would describe it as sugar overdose colour explosion extravaganza, if that makes any sense. It's not just the interior and the clothes of the staff that are colourful but the food too. Just when you think it can't get even more kawaii, it's time to sing for one of the customers (the place is very popular for birthdays) and that is done of course on a huge revolving cake meets merry-go-round. Most of the…

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