Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘tokyo’

this, dear readers, is heaven...

this, dear readers, is heaven…

I’ll confess: I have a weakness. Some folks lose their head over Italian handbags or beautiful shoes. But for me, it’s a well-turned pen. One that writes cleanly, smoothly across the cream colored expanse of a new sheet of Crane’s Regent Blue Triple Hairline.  Disposable fountain pens? Sure – I’ll try anything once, even though I’m a confirmed Parker 51 girl. How about a .001 midnight blue roller ball? No hesitation. Each and every office supply store in Tokyo has something to offer me.

wandering the streets, looking for inspiration...

wandering the streets, looking for inspiration…

Every time I visit Tokyo, I feel like Dorothy hitting the Emerald City — Japan is a country that celebrates its postal culture, and that translates into Technicolor for a girl like me. Everywhere I looked, there seemed to be another homage to that “T” shaped logo, another item sporting a smiling postal logo or a contest to mail the most packages. Incredible.

at Tokyo Station...

at Tokyo Station…

That’s why a trip to the Tokyo Communications Museum (“Tei Park”) is always so much fun. Located in Tokyo’s Otemachi neighborhood, Tei Park is a hands-on, interactive museum focusing on different aspects of daily communication: television, telephones, and (of course!) the postal system. What’s not to love?

friends from around the world...

friends from around the world…

My favorite part? The fact that they always have some sort of decorated envelope or mail art show happening (no joke). And then there’s the fact that you can dress up in postal worker uniforms and snap your photo via webcam, print it out, and mail it at the counter! (seriously.) You can “ride” postal motorcycles while racing through the streets of Tokyo (a simulation) and look through the awe-inspiring library of postage stamps. Guess what? You haven’t even hit the gift shop downstairs!

do you think anyone would notice if...

do you think anyone would notice if…

I always find myself at Tei Park on a weekday; it’s one of the benefits of being on vacation, and the museum is always empty. (This makes it easier to snap illicit photos…) I have no doubt that Tei Park is full on the weekends with school kids and stamp collectors; however, I’m always thankful to have the place to myself when I visit.

BFFs...

BFFs…

(a word to the wise: when you visit the museum, you’ll purchase your entry ticket at a vending machine outside and hand it to the lovely staff at the front desk, as you enter the building.)

Back to the trip: alas, my time in Tokyo was coming to an end; just a day or two left. I found myself at a Daiso in Harajuku, and guess what?! More postal love to be had…

rabbits? mailboxes? together in one package?!

rabbits? mailboxes? together in one package?!

For me, the end of any vacation trip is always filled with two conflicting feelings: an infinite sadness that I’ll be leaving the place where so many new adventures have taken place and the I can hardly wait feeling of sleeping in my own bed.

it's true: narita has a postal counter on the fourth floor...

it’s true: narita has a postal counter on the fourth floor…

Tokyo never lets me down, ever; there’s always something to be discovered, a new place to fall in love with, a way to remind myself that this is a city unlike any other place on earth. It is a vast metropolis that inspires, frustrates, delights, and humbles. True: it’s not for everyone. But with your eyes and heart wide open to endless possibilities, Tokyo is the one city on earth that can show you what the future has in store.

–JH

PS: for those who’d like to know more about the history of the Japan Post logo, The Japan Times published a story in yesterday’s paper — read and enjoy!

Read Full Post »

this is about the size and space of my studio in SF!

this is about the size and space of my studio in SF…

Hello RLD readers!

I’ve returned from my stationery safari in the far-away wilds of Tokyo, and am happy to report that pen, paper, and ink are alive and well. On this particular trip, I was able to spend time at some of my favorite usual haunts, (Seikaido, Yuzawaya, Tokyu Hands) as well as visit some new hideouts (Yamada Stationery, 36 Sublo).

...although the seats aren't as comfortable.

…although the seats aren’t as comfortable.

Let’s face it: flying economy class isn’t as glamorous as flying first class. However, on this flight, I managed to have a middle seat all to myself, so I could spread out and work on projects for the entirety of the 11 hour flight – that felt pretty first class!

ahh, shinjuku...

ahh, shinjuku…

Once you get through the hustle and bustle of Narita customs and all, it takes awhile to get into Tokyo proper (about an hour and a half.) By the time I made it to Shinjuku, the evening lights of the neighborhood were going strong. Under the main train tracks, Yakitori and ramen stalls were in full swing; everything smelled delicious and wonderful and exactly as I remembered it.

so beautiful! so round!

so beautiful! so round!

But a girl’s gotta stay awake those first few hours in town, no matter how badly she wants to go to sleep! (this is the best way, trust me…) So it was off to a handful of within-walking-distance train stations, to look for “eki stamps” (駅のスタンプ) – large sized rubber stamps which reside at Tokyo Metro stations.

don't forget! bring your own ink pad...

don’t forget! bring your own ink pad…

Like a scavenger hunt for people like us, these rubber stamps are often hidden out of the way near a ticket booth or the exit gates. You can stamp in specially designed Tokyo Metro collector books or (if you’re like me) you bring along sheets of paper which later become postcards which you send to your friends! Here’s a tip: I always have an ink pad with me, because the “public” ink pads are usually pretty dried up.

i couldn't resist the rabbit...

i couldn’t resist the rabbit…

More walking, picking up a snack from the convenience store and heading back to the hotel. I was noticing a lot more sticker slapping this trip: all types and kinds of stickers by global graffiti artists appeared on the sides of vending machines, tunneled walkways, posts and poles.

this looks like a dream-state board game, in which all the rules are made up as one goes along...

this looks like a dream-state board game, in which all the rules are made up as one goes along…

And as always: beautifully arranged items, on display in alcoves and alleys. These are labels from saké bottles…

I made it back to the hotel and immediately fell asleep, dreaming of all the bento lunches and ink pens I was sure to discover during the next few days.

OMG! OMG! OMG!

OMG! OMG! OMG!

(of course! I passed a cat café the next morning – you too can have a pet for a few hours…)

Upcoming: strolling through Jinbocho (used book town), mail art at Tokyo’s postal museum, and riffling through vintage envelopes at 36 Sublo – stay tuned!

–JH

to read more about Japanese rubber stamp/hanko culture, take a look at Densha de Japan‘s write up…

Read Full Post »

a delicious stack of mail, outgoing...

a delicious stack of mail, outgoing…

I love using those “Celebrate!” postage stamps. I mean, there are so many DIFFERENT things to celebrate at this time of year that it’s hard to choose just one. For example, RLD readers could take a moment to revel in the beauty of this rubber stamp carousel:

IMG_2248 copy

(given to me by Mom ‘n Dad, who always find the PERFECT presents; it was used at a post office counter in upstate NY…)

Or perhaps bask in the satisfaction of a day well spent at the studio! Completing this group of “outgoing” postcards and such, it felt great to see them gathered together, waiting to be placed in a blue box…

satisfaction guaranteed!

satisfaction guaranteed!

Rubber stamp kits like the one below are always cause for merriment. Sometimes I like to relax by hand-setting rubber stamp type:

IMG_2980 copy

I think the old school, 1950’s look of the lettering (when printed) is a good fit for a lot of the work that I put together…

my flux-y alter ego...

my flux-y alter ego…

Needless to say, I could paint the town red every single hour of the day — eating cake, drinking champagne, and pressing rubber stamps to paper. For now, I’ll just say a hearty “thank you!” to everyone who sent a little something my way for this past week’s birthday. The postal concoctions which grace my PO box are always cause for celebration!

–JH

PS: next week’s write up will come to RLD readers via Tokyo — what Aries person in their right mind would miss a chance to whoop it up in an exotic, stationery filled locale? Not I!!!

Read Full Post »

Although I’ve been back in SF for a couple weeks now, I can’t stop thinking about the highlights of my trip. Tokyo is a city that constantly inspires — around every corner is a different shop to be discovered, someone to meet, another neighborhood to explore. Unlike any other city I’ve traveled in, Tokyo has a certain aura around it — call it synchronicity, or fate, or what have you. I always end up falling into things (art shows, openings, mail art shenanigans) in a way that never seems to happen anywhere else.

you are here!

you are here!

So when I first read about the store SCOS (short for “small circle of stationery”) in Tokyo’s Hongo neighborhood, I knew I’d visit one day, although it took me one or two trips to actually make it to the store. Down a long road, past a McDonald’s and a police station, and then turn left (got lost the first time I tried to find it…). Half a block down a tiny side street, a bright yellow bucket cheerfully props up a chalkboard sign sporting a drawing of an envelope. You must be in the right place.

boxes of pens!

boxes of pens!

As you walk through the sliding glass door, you cannot help but be charmed and overwhelmed to the point of swoony-ness. Turn, close the door behind you (don’t want that air conditioning to escape!), and you are now sealed inside a forest of stationery delights. There is a riot of color which cannot be tamed. Paper goodies are jam-packed on shelves, hidden away underneath boxes, placed on every available horizontal surface.

stripes and dots...what's not to love?

stripes and dots...what's not to love?

SCOS has a great variety of items, mostly of the European (German) variety. This gent is a fave:

this man wants to hold your pen...

he wants to hold your pen...

This summer, I’ve been on a search for Italian airmail envelopes – sort of hard-to-find, as it turns out. An Italy-bound friend went hunting for me, but didn’t have any luck. However, SCOS pulled through!

I want to take you ALL home...

I want to take you ALL home...

Of course I couldn’t leave empty handed. Between the airmail envelopes and then some disposable fountain pens and don’t forget that decorative Czech tape…well, I just had to have it all. Store manager Eiji Teramura wrapped up my purchases in a funny German bag used for carrying bread, topping the whole thing off with a vintage ticket that had the SCOS logo (a rabbit in a vest!) on it. Exclaiming over the general adorable-ness of it all, I asked if it would be alright to take some photos. Eiji graciously agreed.

inside SCOS, from the back of the store...

inside SCOS, from the back of the store...

This is the sort of store that “people like us” want to linger in forever; you wish that you could roll out a little cot at the end of the work day and sleep surrounded by rolls of packing tape and pencil cases. Since the staff might be weirded out by that, I’ll have to be satisfied with yearly trips to visit. I’m thinking about it like this: it will be like visiting a beloved relative who lives far, far away — a treat that is savored and looked forward to, with lots of letters and postcards exchanged in between visits.

I'll have two of these, and one of those, and oh -- how about a handful of...

I'll have two of these, and one of those, and oh -- how about a handful of...

That’s all of my stories for today; I have a few more Tokyo things/stores to tell you about; then we’ll return to our regularly scheduled programming — I promise!

–JH

PS: many many MANY thanks to those of you who have been writing/emailing in and telling me that you’re enjoying the RLD blog! It’s great to know that folks are following along and equally passionate about all things postal. YAY for all of you!

Read Full Post »