19.5.15

| Life | Silence is Golden


I grew up being told that "silence is golden" and, I must admit that I never really understood why or how or what gold has to do with quietness. However, we've left our blog silent for days during which time, something truly golden has happened in our life. After 39 weeks of "carrying on as normal", avoiding so many of my favourite foods, a strange nagging feeling and an unexpected induced labour, our son was born at 4.27am on May 16th.

Happiness cannot begin to describe how we feel at the moment! Our blog will be resting in a golden silence for a little while longer while the three of us begin our newest adventure together.

Thank you to everyone who has been emailing and messaging to check up on. We really, really appreciate your kindness and thoughts right now and will reply to you all as soon as we can.

Be back soon with more stories and adventures now from 3 of us. (We don't intend to turn this into a baby blog!)
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13.5.15

| Abandoned | Perishing Hotel


Finding ourselves in places where we ought not to be has become a habit over the years. However, it is not a habit that we can ever feel completely at ease with and we never fail to feel that edge of unease pressing against us. 

These photos were taken in a recently abandoned hotel in Japan. 






















Starved of human care, this hotel perishes in pieces. It never ceases to fascinate us how it is always the paintwork that is first to surrender and fall away. I suppose it is the dampness that takes over when we leave that runs amok peeling the paint and lifting the tiles.

Everything has a story. And stories are much like sand in that they are susceptible to instant and constant change. This is something that seems so relevant when walking through corridors that once echoed with the sounds of a hundred guests but now lays decaying and silent. 

The need to be respectful also prevents us from divulging the exact locations of our explorations.


For The Curious | See More of Our Adventures in Abandoned Places HERE 


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12.5.15

| Recipe | Refreshing Kaisou Salad


Another food that I enjoy on hot days is a Japanese seaweed salad. It is beautiful to look at, full of flavour and deliciously refreshing -especially on hot/humid days.

Nutritionally, seaweed provides all 56 elements essential for human health and is particularly good for digestive health and even weight control.  

This Kaisou Salad  recipe is zingy and lively with a touch of sweetness and a citrus burst that cuts through heavy flavours, oilier foods and sluggish feelings.









Seeking out a variety of seaweed in UK is not an easy quest to embark on, so I am glad that the folks at Clearspring have done all that missioning for us and packaged together a colourful combination of wakame, tengusa and tsunomata for our convenience. You can buy this online HERE




Japanese are not massively indulgent with spices especially when it comes to chilies. Shichimi is about as close as we get to chili powder so if you like your heat, then this stuff is baby food for you! Shichimi will probably earn more of a giggle than a score on the Scoville Scale as it is mild and more aromatic than pungent or heat inducing. I use a sprinkle of yuzu-shichimi (pictured) for this salad because it adds a little spiciness and a gorgeous fragrant aroma of yuzu that really lifts the dish for summer.

|Ingredients|

5grams Clearspring Japanese Sea Vegetable Salad
1/2 Cucumber
Sushi vinegar to taste
Yuzu-shichimi or regular shichimi to taste

|Method|

1. Soak the seaweed in water till it grows into soft leaves.

2. Take a veg slicer to your cucumber making a slivers of cucumber.

3. Mix together the rehydrated seaweed and cucumber and add a couple of tablespoons of sushi vinegar. The water from the cucumber will dilute it while the salad chills.

4. Sprinkle a bit of shichimi and store gently. Allow to chill and then serve as a lovely side dish.

STILL HUNGRY? | More Recipes from The WorshipBlues Kitchen 

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11.5.15

| Home | Bathroom Shelfies


We are not a "his" and "hers" type couple but when we moved into our apartment, we discovered that the bathroom had a cheap little IKEA cabinet and as it was not big enough for the both of us, we went out and got another. We ended up with matching cabinets!

Mine: 

Comme de Garcons Avignon - because sometimes I like to smell like an old church.
Cement Y ornament from An Artful Life
Byredo Sunday Cologne - because I also like to sometimes smell like an old gentleman on safari.
Annick Goutal Petit Cherie - because sometimes I feel like a girl.
Antique repurposed Victorian ink bottle.
Kaleido XS tray from HAY - to hold my hair things.
Tube wringer - the most coolest winding gadget thing EVER! Mentioned before HERE
Diptyque - Infused facial water 
Aesop - Tea Tree Leaf Facial Exfoliant.


His:

Cousu De Fil Blanc Thé Noir soap
Cement H ornament from An Artful Life
Comme de Garcons Kyoto - because he likes to smell of wooden temples in Kyoto.
Monocle Scent One Hinoki - because he likes to smell of hinoki.
Sante FX NEO eye drops - powerful mentholated refreshing eyedrops from Japan.
Comme de Garcons Wonderwood - because he likes to smell of wood.
Swiss Army Knife - a gift from his father when he was just a boy.

Speaking of shelfies, we are compiling our next round of inquisitive shelves with photos sent in from fellow bloggers and readers and hope to have this ready on Friday. Feel free to contact us if you want in!




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9.5.15

| Photo Diary | Epiphany in a Car Park


"Only you, would purposely visit a car park on holiday Yasumi!", said my boss to me, after listening to me babble on about our time in Porto.

After booking our accommodation, Hiro (who is obsessed maps) decided to look up the location of the hotel on Google Maps and came across a curious circular landmark on the aerial views. When we actually arrived in Porto, we discovered that the circular structure was in fact a beautifully Brutalist car park. Its imposing presence, prominent position and shape abruptly contrasts with its surroundings. Standing firm among the architectural chronology in buildings that flank it, it just beguiled us. It got our minds flirting with ideas of how it could be re-purposed. We begun to imagine it as a creative venue or even a stunning art gallery.


























Though it is only a car park and an unlikely setting for any sort of epiphany, it made us realise that by challenging ourselves with a different view point, we offer ourselves an alternative visual and contemplative perspective. Here the glass-less windows frame sweeping views across Porto. Exposed to the touch of the wind we felt more connected to the flow of the city. Even the shadows played their part in our experience by directing our eyes across the curves and lines of the structure leaving quite an extraordinary feeling.

So our advice to other curious minds is to twist your tourist maps and try looking at the places you visit from a less obvious (and less sign posted) vantage point. You will be rewarded with an eye-opening experience.


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8.5.15

| Shop | Douguya


Douguya is a purveyor of antique furniture and lifestyle goods, based in Tokyo. They caught our eye with the beautiful photos on their homepage slider. Lovely photos that show a real sensitivity and appreciation of light, shadow and colour. 

Photo Credit: Douguya 

Photo Credit: Douguya 

Photo Credit: Douguya 

Photo Credit: Douguya 


'Douguya' means secondhand or curio shop in Japanese. Quite a humble and understated name for a shop with a unique pursuit. Douguya specialises in furntiture and goods that date from the Meiji Era (1868 -1912) up to the outbreak of WWII. Furthermore, all items that make it into their showroom and webshop are exceptional in that they were handmade by skilled craftsmen and just cannot be replicated today despite all of our modern technological advancements.

Do take a look at their website and their webshop. It is in Japanese but the pictures have universal appeal.


USEFUL LINKS | Douguya's Website (in Japanese) Address | 2-19-8, Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo


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7.5.15

| Recipe | Tofu Salad + Olive Oil Citrus Dressing


I recently reworked my tomato salad and relished it from my balcony perch one sunny lunchtime. It is such a simple dish to prepare and great if you are working from home because it is revitalising and quick to make.

The coming together of a good olive oil and Japanese citrus soy sauce is a real east meets west delectable flavour that is perfect for warmer weather.


Fork from Iittala + Bowl from Muji + Jug from Reiko Kaneko

Fork from Iittala + Bowl from Muji + Jug from Reiko Kaneko

|Ingredients|

1/2 block per person of chilled soft tofu
Tomatoes, washed sliced into rounds and cut in halves
Avocado - allow for a half per person.
A good sprinkle of toasted black sesame seeds
1 tablespoon(s) of ajipon 
1 or 2 teaspoon of olive oil  depending on your taste
1 teaspoon of sushi vinegar
a few drops of rayu (if you want a chili kick)or a little bit of wasabi.


|Method|

1. Drain the tofu and wrap it in some kitchen roll and put it back in the fridge for 10 minutes to take out some of the moisture.

2. Cut the tofu in half length ways and then into large squares and put them into a dish. 

3. Slice tomatoes and place in a bowl.


4. Peel and slice avocado and add to the bowl.

5. Mix together the ajipon, olive oil, sushi vinegar, black sesame and rayu or wasabi in a small jug. Taste and add more of what you fancy.

6. Pour the dressing over tofu, tomato and avocado and enjoy.



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6.5.15

| Stationery | All in a Week


Last week was National Stationery Week here in UK. Serendipitously, a whole heap of fab stationery treats came my way. What extraordinary timing!


 photo Worshipblues Maste Tape 1_zpsruwjgg3e.jpg


From a long time reader in Japan I received a generous handful of gorgeous Masté Washi Tape. I am a bit of a washi tape fiend and put the tapes to use in decorating items, journals, notebooks, parcels and letters. Masté tapes are made in Japan by Marks Inc.

Not all decorative paper tapes are true 'washi' tapes. You see, the 'wa' in washi, means Japan so it has to have been made from Japanese paper to qualify. You can read more about that in a previous post HERE.

 photo Worshipblues Icon_zpsnd7xyjw5.jpg
Broken pencil points are an irksome and sad thing for me so I finally got myself some pencil caps to protect my sharp points! These are made in Korea by Iconic Design and I got them from UK-based shop Sticker Stack who also stock a mass of funky fun diary stickers. 

 photo Worshipblues Pilot Petite 2_zpssxb4lfcj.jpg
Pilot Japan's range of writing/drawing implements is mind-blowing! Though more and more items are finding their way to these shores, there are still so many products that have not made the journey or remain a bit of a joke when compared to their cost in Japan.  Apart from having an penchant in perpetuity for fountain pens, I also love fibre tips and Pilot Petit 2 are so cute. Little mini pens that are refillable (by special diddy cartridges) and come in many different luminous colours. Not to easy to find in UK (though Cult Pens do have them), I was delighted to receive these from another reader in Japan. Note! If you are a Pilot Sign fan - you would like these too.

 photo Worshipblues Haibara_zpsxzg7y51l.jpg

 photo Worshipblues Haibara 2_zps7mpfhifk.jpg

Also from Japan last week came this splendid writing set. I like writing letters, I like the whole ritual that goes with it. This accordion style pad is set out Japanese style and made with fine washi paper. In fact, Haibara (the maker) has been making washi for around 200 years and recently won the GOOD DESIGN AWARD with this product! The paper is perforated at each fold so it allows for long letters or short notes. The bird motif is one that we have previously spoken about in more detail on the blog SEE HERE

 photo Worshipblues kaweco 1_zpsqpbloab6.jpg
I also was blown away with the kindness of a reader and Stranger London customer from Germany who sent me this beautiful Kaweco Sport pen. How she knew that I had been secretly coveting it, remains a magical mystery. Also included in the parcel was a squeezy-type converter which means I can make use of all my little bottles of ink. 

Being the recipient of so many thoughtful and kind things at this moment in time has really lifted my spirits. Mainly because of the thought and effort behind everything. I have no idea what I have done to deserve such goodness but I remain deeply and eternally grateful!


Love Stationery? We've got more posts and pictures for you HERE


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4.5.15

| Thoughts | Rain


I miss the clear brollies that you get in Japan. They make rainy days a little brighter somehow. 

I like how they are so cheap and so readily available. I like how they are shared and move from one person to the next because people leave them in places like outside a train station for another person to use.  

I like watching the rain bounce, dribble and shimmer on my brolly. I could do that for hours.



































Why do most Londoners insist on black or dark coloured brollies? They cast such a dark gloominess over us.


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1.5.15

| Design | Task Lamps



New home has meant new desk space for me. The lamp that had stood by my desk illuminating my work has been given a new purpose in our living room and the shadow that it's left has begun to bother me so I set about looking for a replacement. I wanted a reliable, timeless luminous side-kick for years to come but when it comes to lighting, I leave things in Hiro's capable hands. 




You know what we are like! We are not fad or trend consumers so buying something with timeless appeal and longevity is a standard and a lot of thought goes into finally making a decision. Here are a few things that cross our mind:

- It must look good. Good now, next year and years from now. 

- Adjustability. Probably the most important criterion in choosing the right task lamp! So think of the purpose that you want the lamp to meet. For us, the lamp will need to meet my needs as a crafter as well as our regular office requirements. So the ability to adjust the height and manoeuvre the direction of the light source is vital. We don't want glare but want to be able to uplight our space or downlight the desk for more precise lighting depending on what we are doing. So I guess task lamps that have a tilting/rotating head or reflector work best.

- Size. We want a lamp to sit in proportion to our space and not impose itself and take up too much room. It is also worth considering the base of the lamp. Something sturdy, with a good weight but still compact is a good idea.

Durability. We want it to last decades!

- Design.  We take pride in buying something that was thought about carefully and we enjoy the design story of everyday objects. Things that possess aspects that let us see what the designer was thinking and what problem he was trying to solve.

- No fakes. We'll you know how we feel about this. We just cannot buy something that infringes on the creative intent and originality of other designers - no fakes, no replicas and no unauthorised repros!


Tolomeo Mini | Eames Aluminium Group Chair EA 117 in Black Leather


So, what did Hiro get me in the end? He decided that the Jieldé is too stiff and expensive and the Anglepoise is limited because it does not uplight. So, we have another Tolomeo in our home. 

This is the Tolomeo Mini. Designed by De Lucchi and Fassina in 1987 and manufactured by Artemide. It has a heavy base with a cantilevered arm and is adjustable and rotatable in all directions. Ticks all the boxes!


USEFUL LINKS | Vitra UK | Artemide


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