Friday, October 20, 2017

Maker's place: Kurashiki Bikan-Chiku

We stayed 2 nights at Onsaka-no-ke, a retrofitted traditional Machiya house in the town of Kurashiki, Okayama. I LOVE staying in this house because it's nestled in the culturally preserved block of Kurashiki city and they did an amazing job in keeping the structure of the old machiya while updating all the essentials like bathroom and kitchen to be ready for modern travelers. Price was also reasonable considering we were able to eat-in our breakfasts and be comfortable staying in the house when we needed to take a break from walking the rainy city. Also, let's not forget it's across the street from the masking tape store:)

Kurashiki Bikan-chiku is incredibly charming with "old" Japan atmosphere. We could stroll through the streets and forget the year we were in. I think if you are only viewing the Bikan-chiku, you will probably only need 2 nights to stay here. If you are exploring outside of the area, it's totally worth spending few more nights. Since Eunice and I were on a tight schedule, we spent a day exploring inside of the Bikan-chiku. Visiting Classiky store (yes... their physical store was just as amazing as their artifacts), researching lifestyle brands and products that were present in the neighborhood and enjoying Japanese hospitality at a coffee and shops. 

One thing I noticed about this area is that they are really promoting the maker-consumer connection. Many of the new retail stores that opened since last July had a 1/2 making space & 1/2 retail space arrangement so we could watch behind the scene while shopping for items. I appreciate that the city is in the process of curating an interesting perspective to tourism instead of simply selling more souvenirs. 

This little town definitely opened up my imagination of what it might have been like to live in a small Japanese town back then...  

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Our inspiring day at the Superior Labor

Greetings from back home in Los Angeles! Eunice and I landed back in LA last night and my day was very "normal" at home today. Homeschooling with the girls, cooking, cleaning and visiting our friend. Perfectly normal in an everyday way and I loved it.

I am so excited to share some of our highlights from our BK Inspirational Investment trip. 

Our very first stop was at The Superior Labor headquarter in the mountain of Okayama. It has been a year since Frido and I visited them last time and I LOVE that everything was still timeless this time around just as I remembered. 

I am so thankful that Kawai-san, the owner of TSL, and Yanai-san who closely works with us on our collaboration projects shared pretty much an entire day with us. Our conversation spanned from our upcoming collaboration product launch, our passion for analogue as well as Kawai-san's favorite Korean foods (Eunice was so impressed by his Korean food knowledge). I always really enjoy listening to Kawai-san's authentic perspective in life, his vision for TSL, as well as his unique experience from the past. 

Eunice and I got to see a glimpse of their most updated product samples and took a lot of notes about which items we might carry at BK in the near future. One of my highlights was to see the final sample of the BKxTSL original Jibun Techo cover (!!!). The idea of creating an original planner cover has been on my mind for a while and I am so glad that we can share this with the Jibun Techo enthusiasts around the world... since the well-made cover for Jibun Techo is scarce on the market. If you are interested in getting timely updates reg. this item, please send us an email.

I also LOVED spending a good chunk of time discussing our love for analogue. I got to take a peek into how he organizes his calendar, which tool the TSL team uses to manage their production schedule and listen to Kawai-san's thoughts on film photography. If you are interested in film photography, check out their photo club on IG. I become their member #41 so it looks like I will be shooting some film photography:) 

I think a good relationship (whether it is romantic, personal, or business) inspires and continue to inspire. I feel incredibly lucky to have had a chance to get to know them more and to be able to say that I continue to be so inspired by them. 

We left our day by saying "see you soon in Los Angeles or Okayama" so I have a good feeling that this won't be the last chance to have more conversation with them. 

Thank you Kawai-san and TSL family and team. We will see you soon:) 


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