Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Beautiful growing ache...

Both Baum-kuchen and the girls... are growing little faster than my mind can keep up with. 

Satchi has been constantly running into walls lately and I had a little chat with her teacher at pre-school the other day and she told me that it's pretty normal when kids are having growth sprout, they are not as aware of their proximity to their surroundings as they usually can be. 

Baum-kuchen... also is going through some growing ache. We are still operating within the same parameter and scale... but I am slowly starting to feel the outside proximity of how far I can extend myself in completing day-to-day tasks. 

It's exciting to watch both the girls and our brand grow... but at the same time growth often comes with an uncomfortable aches. 

I've been working through the aches with Baum-kuchen by imagining how we can get few inches taller without losing who we are about. I don't really feel that a huge leap of growth is us. I believe in a slow organic steps forward. 

I am not sure what it really means yet but it's really important for me to be present so I can witness all parts of their growth!

both baum-kuchen and theg

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Behind the scene... 1.61 Soft Goods

We are so lucky to be able to continue collaborating with Diana and Wes of 1.61 Soft Goods. Knowing how things are made and where is a really important factor of artifacts to us. Because I feel that... if our customer knows how the item is designed and made... with so much love and care..., it will be used and loved longer. 

So I asked Diana and Wes if I could hang out at their studio for a while and watch them make some of the leather items that are currently carried at Baum-kuchen. (We once visited their studio when we had a meeting - with Satchi and Coco!) I have a lot of video footage from the visit that will be incorporated into the future Baum-kuchen clips but here are some of my favorites still images. Each item we carry from 1.61 Soft Goods is made here in this space... one at a time with their hands. Their studio (that also functions as their living quarter) is full of creative energy. Everything from tools to their tea cup is organized based on functionalities and their line of work. Watching them work in their well-oiled space is like watching a beautifully synchronized dance... moving from one station to another to complete their work-in-progress project. I love and adore their genuine personalities (as an individual and as a sweet couple) and their never ending desire to create. 

Last few photos show our new collaboration "Origami basket" and its process. We have been working on this for nearly half year... making prototype after prototype. So I can't be more excited to share them soon! They are perfectly sized to carry your lunch, your Traveler's Notebook or Roterfaden (or together!!)..., knitting tools... shipping supplies... or anything else your heart desires in and out of the house/shop/studio. If you are interested in the basket, shoot me an email ( so I can let you know when it gets launched at our shop! 

I left their studio feeling so excited. 
Happy Tuesday:) 

p.s. I also just found out their name "1.61" comes from the golden ratio... and their focus on finding beauty in proportion. Perfect, right? 

Satchi runs.

On Sunday, Satchi run her very first 1K run. Honestly... I had no idea what to expect. Could she run the whole 1K?? Would she feel overwhelmed by other big kids (the same run was open to kids up to 12 years old). Well... we didn't have to worry about anything because she was ready to run. She stepped out to the front of line as the race was announced to begin, launched like a little rocket and never looked back. Coco and I watched Satchi (and Frido who run hard to keep up with her) at mid-point of the race and she had the BIGGEST smile on her... running. 

As a parent... nothing makes me happier than seeing our little ones grow healthy and strong... 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Spontaneous Inspirational Investment

Yesterday I had to report to jury duty in downtown LA. I know it's a part of responsibility as a citizen here but it can be a bit of interference to everyday routines... to drop everything off and be at the courthouse for an entire day or longer.  I was thankful that my reporting day fell on the day that I was usually in the studio/shop instead of the days with the girls so my little family did not get affected so much by this unexpected occasion. But I did have to close the shop for an entire day... 

Instead of feeling totally disappointed that I didn't get to work in the studio... I used the day to explore and see how the day organically evolved. Starting the morning with a Metro ride (Gold Line gets you from Pasadena to LA downtown in 30 minutes!) with my beloved Superior Labor Shoulder Bag... loaded with a laptop, Roterfaden, Traveler's Notebook, 2 books and bunch more essentials. I loved morning light making a beautiful silhouette of travelers at Union Station. I spent big chunk of the morning reading my favorite design classic by my design hero Naoto Fukasawa. During lunch break, I spontaneously walked to Grand Central Market which changed SO MUCH in few years since I visited last. There was an incredibly young creative energy in the market. Being in the market full of energy...alone eating delicious sandwich from Valeria's totally brought my traveling solo memory. I daydreamed my time in Paris alone for a few days in 2008. I got back to the courthouse with a cup of Kombucha Tea from Better Booth (with their cutest booth ever!)

I spent the rest of my afternoon working and happily responding to emails... in the courthouse's waiting room. When the day was over (and I did not get called for actual jury service... phew), I took my train home and had so much stories to share with Frido and the girls. 

The entire day, I was able to share bits and pieces of my experience through Instagram. It felt like our virtual friends were traveling with me.... giving me suggestions about where to go and what to do or sharing their past experience at the same location. How awesome the internet is, right? 

So I am thinking that maybe I could take a spontaneous Inspirational Investment day when I can take you to the tour of the LA neighborhood... Wouldn't it be fun?? Just a thought for future ideas! 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Talk about love...

The other day Frido and I were asked about our relationship as a couple... more specifically as Art Center alumni couple. (You can read the interview here if you are interested:

It was interesting to think about how we have made things work for nearly a decade... coming from completely different cultures. I do think that our glue to the relationship is the mutual passion for design and our obsession to make and create. Even right now... as I type this at 9:30pm, we are both working on our current projects after our girls went to sleep. We usually do that until 10pm or so and wind down over a drink or cup of tea for the last bit of time together as day ends. It's just how we have always run our lives... 

I also truly appreciate how he never boxed me in any type of category. As I take so many roles in life..., as a wife, a mother, a business owner, as a person who grew up in Japan, as a traveler..., he kept me free from labeling who I am.  That has been such an incredible gift to continue pushing whom I am becoming... 

Thank you Frido! and happy Valentine's Life:) 

first picture by Max Wanger in 2009
second picture by Courtney of Erin Hearts Court in 2013
3rd picture with self timer... in 2014. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Personal style guide

Do you have a style guide for your wardrobe and look/feel?? 

Recently I started to think about it after feeling like I have too many clothes I don't wear in my closet. Also Coco is now 20 months... with so much more independence than she used to a year ago... I have been aware of my feeling and the need to find myself as a singular person again. Usually when I have something in mind, I dedicate a spread on my Traveler's Notebook kraft refill (TN014) to collect thoughts and inspiration over time. 

I think I have been working on this spread over 3-4 months... 

As I thought and wondered about how I wanted to present myself to the world, I came across this beautiful quote by Audrey Ducas on A Cup of Jo and I thought it was powerful.

"A woman is at her most beautiful when she's kind, lively and imaginative, goes through life consciously and stays authentic, however she looks. Being true to oneself, with a willingness to question things, take risks (emotional as well as physical), learn, change and grow is my motto. Smiling and having fun along the way is key: the happier you feel, the more beautiful you look!"

I love that the definition of beauty has nothing to do with materialistic and skin-deep look... instead it's much more about our energy, happiness and how we live. 

I would love to own 1/2 of clothes I currently own and really feel incredible from inside and out when I pick up a clothe and accessories that makes me feel like myself. 
My current favorite pieces are...:
I am always looking for inspiration and would love to hear your favorite pieces if you have one:) 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Bringing artifacts to life!

You know we received some new Superior Labor bags last week... I took a lot of pictures in the studio but it was just lacking the last bit of life the bags totally deserved so I asked Frido to come in the studio on Friday to take pictures with some of the bags. Here are some of my favorites. I was absolutely totally awkward in some of the photos that are forever going to stay only on my laptop. I am much happier just hugging the bags (above picture) than pretending to walk with the bag. Some day... I hope we could bring professional models to be in these photo shoot but for now... we do what we can to make things happen.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Dear Satchi & Coco...

I have been writing (almost) everyday to our girls since last October and it has been one of the most amazing and therapeutic change I have made in my life. I am using MD 2015 Daily Notebook in A5 size. Initially I was worried that the A5 size might be too big to fill out everyday but I somehow always have something to write or draw:) I don't have any rules about what I write everyday... and the page happens very organically. Sometimes I would write an entire letter to each of them... sometimes I capture what we did or what they said... or moments from the day. Some day I use the provided structure of the page to document the hourly activity... I am using the monthly spread as a visual index and it has been fun to come up with a little doodle for the tiny box.

I noticed that my need to document about little ones on our blog has decreased quite a bit recently and it might be because I have a healthy outlet in my analogue world. Out of all the notebooks I carry around everyday... this one is definitely the most treasured.

I am so looking forward to seeing how it evolves over the course of the year!


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