Being a self-confessed adventurer, I've wanted to visit Japan for what feels like a lifetime. Mainly because of Harajuku (a district of Japan that has the quirkiest fashion I've ever seen). I guess it's fair to say I was a tiny bit infatuated with Gwen Stefani's music videos while studying at Art College and remember pleading with my tutor that my year-long final project idea should be based on her Harajuku girl backing dancers. My proposal was utterly rejected.
Kawaii illustration, (Kawaii meaning 'cute' in Japanese) infiltrates everything in this place. The Kawaii Monster Café is an absolute must see - the waiters could've walked straight off Gwen's HollaBack Girl music video!
Kyoto was... different. In Tokyo the city is totally flooded with sharply dressed professionals, but in Kyoto, I don't know, people seemed more laid back, less 'in a rush' and more… traditional looking.
The shrines and temples are a must see for those who are interested in honing their landscape illustration techniques, and the bamboo forest is infinitely cool.
Now I'm not a sushi fan, but there are ways and means of finding... donuts.
Naoshima, the 'art island': This place has some of the most amazing sculptures nestled away in the landscape! I guess we visited about 2 indoor galleries and a whole heap of outdoor sculptures including a massive yellow pumpkin by Yayoi Kusama (check her work out it will blow your mind).
We slept on a traditional futon… my back did not like this.
Zoe wanted to visit Hiroshima , she's a bit of a history buff and was super keen to see the site of the first atomic bomb… the museum is harrowing but so essential for us to remember those who were lost.
Towards the end of the trip we headed back to Tokyo. If I can recommend just one place to inspire you as an illustrator, it would have to be Studio Ghibli... it's a smorgasbord of ideas and character - a huge hit for me! I'm such a fan of their animated film The Flying Island. If you want to visit the studio be sure to buy tickets before you fly out!
If you want details on where we stayed and what we did in more detail, ping me an email and take a look at my visual travel video at the top of my post!
This s#@! is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S! ;D