| Food | Annindoufu

 photo Worshipbluesannindoufu2_zps1cae8eba.jpg

I am not usually a pudding person (I regularly swap the sweet stuff for a bit of cheese and port) yet here I am dabbling in and enjoying some Japanese dessert mixes once again. My recent experiment involved annindoufu which to me is like a soft almond flavoured milk jelly (no tofu involved). 

I bought this particular mix from Rice Wine in Soho and it was sufficiently tasty enough for me to attempt making my own from scratch next time. This recipe looks good: Link Here

USEFUL LINKS | Rice Wine Shop London 

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| Compilations | Night Cities I

For Hiro seeing a city by day in natural light is an incomplete story without seeing it also by night in artificial light. 

So quietly, steadily and persistently as we've blogged about our adventures over the years, Hiro has captured the features of each   place that we've slept in, by the glow of night. 

Here are a few of our favourites:

Louvre Palace, Paris. The original post can be found HERE
Shibu Onsen, Japan. The original post can be found HERE.

London from the Shard. The original post can be found HERE
Matera, Italy. The original post can be found HERE

It takes a lot of practice and patience to take the kind of night shots we like. The sort that may not be professionally perfect but distill the mood of the place for our memories. Hiro says that a tripod helps - though he has been known to use my shoulder to steady his camera on occasion. Countless hours I've watched Hiro huff and mumble to himself whilst messing with shutter speeds and ISO levels during which time I've nursed countless sneaky tipples and taken in the night air of so many beautiful places.

USEFUL LINKS | All our Night Light Adventures 
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| Photo Diary | Curiosity Shopping in Nikko

What do you call this style of shop? You know, those gloriously chockablock with stuff shops that hold things not quite antique, nearly always vintage and quite often just random. Curiousity shop? What about junk shop? But that seems so offhand especially when you find shops like these....

I owe my life to this little dude: read about it HERE

On our little adventure up and down Japan, we discovered that Nikko has a treasure-trove of well, treasure troves. I don't think I have ever regretting not buying everything in sight as much as I do when looking back over these photos. I have no idea how I would have brought any of it back, let alone where I would have kept it all if I did. Baggage allowances and small flats are such an obstacle for collect-a-lots like me!

USEFUL LINKS | Why I owe my life to a manga 

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| Hiro Says | Meant To Be

A while back on a beach in Zanzibar, Soji found a perfect urchin shell.

It had a hole on one side. I thought it would make a good luminaire.

The hole makes a perfect cable entry.

I like how it glows like a lantern.  I like the warmth it emits and how use of artificial light can invert the intricate details and natural order of the shadows. 

Thanks to Dave and Craig at Mike Stoane Lighting for the parts.

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| Streets | RUN

"Big is better I think, especially in a era when the mass communication from corporate advertisements are so massive everywhere." RUN

Button back sheer panel top from COS. Trousers from Seleted Femme. Trainers from Converse.

RUN is a street artist who's work has decorated our daily paths in East London for years and years. Originally from Italy, based in London, well travelled, his work is always original. 

USEFUL LINKS | RUN Website | RUNs interview with street art london |
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| Ideas | Chiffon Shirt

I tend to take a chiffon shirt with me on adventures. Creaseproof, quick-drying, light, layer-able and easy to wear they never let me down.

This one was given to me by my sister - so I have no idea where it was bought (snipped labels).  It did well in Japan especially when I had to live out of a back pack for a few days!

Are you a chiffon shirt fan?

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| Recurring Themes | Stalls I

Remember how we previously mentioned that we'd be exploring our own photo archives in search of recurring themes that we have compulsively but less consciously been capturing? Well, we've realised that we BOTH are regularly distracted by market stalls wherever we end up!

Character-pipe stall in Akayu, Japan.
African and Carribbean food stall in Ridley Road Market, London.
General goods stall in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Snack stall in Mumbai, India.
There is something about these humble temporary make-shift structures that just calls to us. Perhaps it is the clash of colours and the way the wares are all rammed and crammed into a little space that appeals to us. Of course this is exactly what they are designed to do! Yet,  we admire them because they are owned by everyday people who are trying to make a living in this world of huge big malls and supermarkets. Everyday fighting.

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| Everyday People | Running Jumping Stone Town

It is currently quite hot in London. It's at times and climes like this that I wish we lived closer to the sea. I would run into the water clothes and all and relish the coolness of it. It makes me think of one evening in Stone Town when we watched in worrisome wonder as a group of young lads hurled themselves into the returning tide.

This exhilarating game involved each boy taking a long run up to the end of the sea wall from where he would leap into the air, contort his body into an outlandish pose before colliding into the sea below.

Eventually we realised that the boys needed to get their landings spot on as a metre the wrong way would be disastrous.  Beneath the waters hide large jagged rocks and when one boy stood on these, we saw that the water level just skimmed his knees. We watched with baited breath till one by one the boys entertained us with their dangerous game. 

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| What I Wore | Unflattering

Said a friend to I: "Those loose clothes of yours don't do anything for your figure"

Said I to my friend: "I like them"
Said a friend to I: "They are so unsexy"
Said I to my friend: "But I feel good in them"
Said a friend to I: "I say if you've got it, flaunt it".
Said a friend to I: "Why?"

Then my mind wandered as the smell of jerk chicken wafted through the air and thankfully the rest of the conversation faded. 

Being comfortable is important to me. I am mostly comfortable in my own skin and so like to feel comfortable in my own clothes too. Tight and prone to awkwardly migrating clothing sometimes make me feel quite fidgety and distract me in the most inconvenient of ways.

I made this top myself. The mask was bought in Tokyo.
Sandals are from Office (bought a few years ago). The culottes are from ASOS.

Cloth designed by Naomi Ito for Nani IRO Japan.
I do like dresses and skirts and even closer fitting forms of both when the mood takes me. Yet I also like loose-fitting garments that allow me a freedom of movement that I enjoy in my everyday life and the basic shapes and minimal design represent a form of honesty that I crave. I find it quite fascinating why some people are of the opinion that the latter are somehow less flattering/feminine. Is it a cultural difference of opinion perhaps? I wonder!

I suppose it is a culmination of these ideas that lead me to draft the pattern for and  this top. It was simple to sew and I like how it turned out.

The cloth is 100% cotton double gauze which is very soft, airy and so lovely in summer. The abstract mountain design is something that I fell for instantly. It is made in Japan and designed by Naomi Ito for Nani IRO.

P.S. This is the newest mask in my collection. I bought it in Tokyo but will talk about it properly soon!


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| Supreme Shoe Care | Shine on Your Shoes

When we turned the page on throw-awayism and made a conscious effort to curtail our buying of things without considering things such as where and how items were made, what they are made of the processes involved, we soon realised that well made things need to be cared for. This is best illustrated with shoes. Good leather shoes.

We both have leather shoes that we've bought after a lot of consideration before parting with our money. Perhaps it is because of this that we are willing to do our bit to make them last. However, finding suitable leather care items is not always easy these days. Thankfully, we came across Supreme Shoe Care an online shop that stock a comprehensive range of products to make keep our leather goods in top-top shape.

We were delighted when Supreme Shoe Care not only sent us some SELVYT products to try out for ourselves, but also gave us quite an education on maintaining our good shoes. And we must admit that we've spent quite a few hours since diligently polishing our shoes to a splendid shine.

Supreme Shoe Care only work with premium products and they stock a carefully considered range that care for specific leathers be it shoes, bags or even belts. One of these brands is SELVYT who have been suppliers to the military for over 100 years. Now that is some vote of confidence.

The kit that we were sent contained everything we could ever need to clean, treat, polish and then, (this is my favourite bit) buff our shoes. 

Shoes from Common Projects polished with SELVYT
The team at Supreme Shoe Care have been in the shoe and accessory business for many years and are a real source of knowledge when it comes to leather care. If you fancy sprucing up your shoes or even handbags, now's a good time as they have very kindly offered our readers a special discount.

It is also worth following Supreme Shoe Care's Twitter account as they are regularly available to dispense leather care advice. Give them a shout - they know their stuff!  

Polishing shoes is one of those humble yet satisfying things to do. A little bit of care and attention and then a big smile when you bring a gleam your trusty old shoes.

Sing a long folks....

"When there is a shine on your shoes,
There's a melody in your heart".

USEFUL LINKS |Supreme Shoe Care Website| Supreme Shoe Care Twitter

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| Books | Shadow Books

Motion Silhouette is a children's book created by artists Kajiwara Megumi and Niijima Tatsuhiko of KYOTA. The book holds pop-up silhouettes within its pages that encourages a playful interaction of shadow and light to enhance the story-telling experience. Such a beautiful concept. Each book is created by hand on request via their website.


Watching this video naturally brings Hiro to mind. He would like this. Then I think of my father-in-law and I think he would like this too! I shall of course be placing an order very soon. 

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| Words | Komorebi

Every language has its own bounteous beauty of expression as well as its limitations. There are singular words for things in some languages that seem to perfectly and succinctly express something that can only be defined using an entire sentence in another. I find this forever fascinating. 

My shadow chasing husband really likes the dappled effect of light and shadow that you see when the sun filters through the trees. In Japanese this spellbinding occurrence is called KOMOREBI.

Is there are word for this in your language?
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| Stationery | My Celluloid Pen Case

Celluloid captured my heart in Japan.

Beautiful, fragile yet resilient with way of toying with light that's verging on magical. Yet its story is brief and poignant. So much so, that the very mention of celluloid to people of my parents age and older will send them nostalgically down memory lane.

This is not just a pen case for my precious writing implements. It's a memento of Japan's manufacturing history and quite a bit more.

Celluloid is the world's very 1st thermoplastic. Unlike the petrochemical derived plastics of today it is made from a natural mixture of camphor, nitrocellulose and vegetable oils so it has always been a more earth friendly material. Camphor is a tree is native to and much loved in Japan ( Totoro lives in one).  With an abundant resource of required raw materials,Japan was at one point producing 40% of the world's celluloid products. In the aftermath of WWII, celluloid accounted for over 50% of Japan's total export and in many ways it contributed to the country's post-war rehabilitation. 

However, with the rise of cheaper mass produced plastics, the production of celluloid fell into decline and by 1996 the large scale production of Japanese made celluloid ended.

Today celluloid is manly used for ping-pong balls, spectacle frames, plectrums and accordion bodies. But there are a few craftsmen and small scale companies in Japan who are still devoting their skills to creating such lovely things as this pen case. Its design hasn't changed since the 1920's.

My pen case is precious to me. It protects the tools that I use everyday of my life. When I put it up to my window, I can see light dancing through its nuances. It looks like the skin of a koi. How fitting then that the koi symbolises perseverance and the overcoming of adversity.

>>>>> P.S. In answer to questions about similarities between lucite and Celluloid, I just wanted to say that the differences are many. Lucite is a thermoplastic and so a synthetic material where as celluloid is naturally derived. Lucite is rigid and shatterproof while Celluloid is flexible and reacts to high temperatures.

USEFUL LINKS | Yamada Stationery (Japanese Site)| Choosing Keeping UK  |

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