Thursday, August 10, 2017

TRAVEL TOKYO | Yakumo Saryo Restaurant & Tea House

Japanese sweets & matcha green tea at Yakumo Saryo Tea House

Hello friends,

If you are in Tokyo and appreciate green tea + Japanese sweets + meditation you may want to pay a visit to the beautiful space that is Yakumo Saryo tea house. I was introduced to this place by my lovely friend Hiki of Uguisu, the little shoppe (a great shop to buy handmade Japanese gifts & souvenirs).

Here is poetic description of the space by host Shinichiro Ogata:

"I have devoted myself to bringing to today's generation my vision of a contemporary Japanese lifestyle and making one's life richer. (...) Yakumo Saryo was born to become a stylish modern take on Japanese traditions combining a restaurant, a gallery and also a tea salon. 
Dining at Yakumo Saryo is like escaping from reality and from the stress of the city, by taking a breath into the essentials of a contemporary Japanese food experience."

Yakumo Saryo serves traditional Japanese breakfast as well as Kaiseki courses. I went there for tea and it was so nice to escape the buzzing city life & heat to experience peace and quiet while savoring  a matcha green tea and Japanese sweets. Highly recommended!

Note: customers under 12 are not accepted; taking pictures inside the tea house is not allowed, however you can take a picture of your order. 

Yakumo Saryo
3-4-7 Yakumo
Meguro-ku, Tokyo

TRAVEL TOKYO | Cafés & Restaurants

Coutume café in the stylish Aoyama district, Tokyo

Hello friends,

I will close up the series of blogposts on my last Tokyo trip with two posts dedicated to cafés & restaurant I was lucky to visit. As mentioned in a previous post, this trip was not much for leisure but I discovered 1-2 places that were totally new to me and that could easily become my favorites if I were still living in this beautiful city.

1. Coutume café, Aoyama district

A Parisian coffee shop first founded in Paris in 2011, Coutume Aoyama opened its doors in Tokyo in 2014. Here you will not only find excellent coffee but lovely food as well. Their crêpes looked delicious and I would like to try them out next time I visit!
Coutume is located a short walk away from the Omotesando station.

Coutume Aoyama
5-9-15 Minami Aoyama
Minato-ku, Tokyo

Hydrangea are in full bloom in June

2. Pretty Things Coffee, Setagaya

A cute locale coffee shop in the lovely Komazawa area - there is a big park nearby where to wander, practice a sport or admire the sakura in Spring. The perfect place to hang around if you have kids!
You won't be able to order an espresso at Pretty Things coffee shop, but you will love to spend time among the collection of vinyls and books. Long home-brewed coffees are the rule. Pet-friendly.

Pretty Things Coffee
5-19-10 Komazawa Koen dori
Setagaya-ku, Tokyo

Pretty Things Coffee, Komazawa, Tokyo

3. Tamana Shokudo, Vegetarian Restaurant, Aoyama district

I had already eaten at this vegetarian restaurant nestled in a little hidden street off Aoyama dori, and just a short walk away from Omotesando station. It was a pleasure to celebrate the end of the exhibition with Akima-san with a healthy (and delicious) dinner. I can't exactly remember the description of each dish but we had tofu, grilled baby corn, gaspacho, miso soup, nato, brown rice and homemade ice-cream. Perfect with a glass of red wine!

Note: it's recommended to book a table, especially at lunch time

Tamana Shokudo
3-8-27 Minami Aoyama
Minato-ku, Tokyo

Healthy vegetarian cuisine at Tamana Shokudo

4. Ove, Vegetarian Restaurant, Aoyama district

Ove is the restaurant where I usually have lunch with my students attending a full day workshop at Gallery Palette. It's a good 10mins walk from the gallery but it's totally worth it!
For about 1,000 - 1,500 yen you are served a very healthy meal that also includes a drink (herbal tea or coffee). The service is excellent and the restaurant spacious and stylish.

Note: the restaurant is closed on Monday (or Tuesday of Monday is a public holiday) only opens for lunch

Ove restaurant
3-4-8 Minami Aoyama 1F
Minato-ku, Tokyo

5. Tsukadanojo, Izakaya Restaurant, Nakameguro

A little izakaya (Japanese style pub) located near the Nakameguro station. Here you can enjoy an array of dishes that Japanese people will usually eat when going out with colleagues & friends after a hard day at work. We had gyoza, flame grilled chicken, seaweed salad, yakitori beef, asparagus and of course DRAFT BEER! Very friendly service.

Tsukadanojo Nakameguro
1-20-5 Kamimeguro

Dinner at Tsukadanojo

6. Mr. Farmer, Café & Restaurant, Komazawa park

Another great place to stop by while at Komazawa Park is the new Mr. Farmer café that opened earlier this year at the park's entrance on Komazawa Koen dori. The restaurant gets really packed at lunch time, so you must arrive early or wait for a little while. The space is beautiful, the service impeccable, the coffee is excellent as well as the food. It may be a little pricey, but it really is a relaxing place!

Note: children & pet friendly 

Mr. Farmer at Komazawa
1-1-2 Komazawa Koen
Setagaya, Tokyo

I must share one more space with you in one more post, about an intimate tea house located nearby Komazawa Park. I was introduced to this peaceful place by my friend Hiki of Uguisu, the little shoppe. Check the post here.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

EXHIBITION TOKYO | Part 3 - Dreamy Moroccan Garden Exhibition

Hello friends,

The last round of photos will be about the workshops that I held during the exhibition in Tokyo. You can have an idea of the different projects in this post. I usually have a full day project that includes a lunch with my students at the stylish Ove restaurant in Minato-ku. This time it was a tropical brooch that included leaves, flowers and a butterfly. All participants created very beautiful and unique pieces!

Another popular workshop was the Fatima hand brooch, and I must highlight that I had my first male student to attend one of my workshops. It was so interesting to watch which color combination he would come up with (it ended up being a nice red coupled with blue & emerald green).

I would like to thank everyone who attended these workshops and congratulate them again for their hard work and beautiful embroideries!

first day, first workshop...
above is the personal embroidery work of Kawai-san (@classekimi) 
after attending several workshops!
paper artist Aiko Tamukai (@aiko_moclen) with the book & a lovely Fatima hand brooch

the full day workshop had started: one day to complete a complex brooch design!
lunch at Ove, always healthy and delicious!
the brooches are all done, with a bit of extra time given...

can you spot which design was made by my first male student? 😉
Fatima hand brooch by Makiko Hata of Chocolat Box (@chocolatbox and @chocolatboxschool) 
who is a needle-felted rabbit artist
the last workshop of the week was held on Saturday morning 
and I had 8 students making two different projects! 
Takako Hirano (@vermillon.t) also made a Fatima hand brooch; 
she's a crochet artist and realizes beautiful accessories and bags

My dear friend Chikako Yamamoto who is a chef & cooking instructor in Tokyo came to visit on Saturday and brought these delicious cupcakes for us to enjoy at the end of a long week of hard work. She also helped me to bring down most of the decorations, thank you so much for your help Chikako!

If you are into cooking, you should check her wonderful & mouth watering website DDbistro and Chikako just published a new cookbook called Vermicular, available in Japanese on Amazon.

Chikako's cupcakes: as good as they are pretty!

Read Part 1 and Part 2 and don't miss the extra post about the new cafés & restaurants I have tried out during my trip!

EXHIBITION TOKYO | Part 2 - Dreamy Moroccan Garden Exhibition

Photo collage courtesy of @coconuts.17 on Instagram

Hello friends, 

Here is part 2 of the exhibition story... it started on a Wednesday & ended on a Saturday (June 14-17) with workshops every single day. Even though it was during the rainy season, we were granted a beautiful sun every day which helped tremendously our visitors to come all the way to the gallery. I am not able to feature pictures of everyone in this blogpost, but you can check the album on my Facebook page

The gold curtain ended up being a great photo backdrop & tool!
Hours of labor to create the title out of cardboard, paper & pompoms 
but it was all worth it at the end!
Accessories, bags and wall art displayed harmoniously. Most pieces are unique!
Tadadam! I present you the most popular design of this collection. 
All 7 pieces got snapped up over the first two days of the exhibition!
Leaves brooches were quite popular as well!
Funky little tote bags created for the occasion
Earrings & Fatima hand brooches. All in a unique color combination!
The necklace masterpiece (available here)
Illustrator Eri Takenaga presenting her new purchase 
and wearing her embroidered accessories collection 
Tropical brooches (available here)
Bright and colorful bracelets (available here, here and here)

I had en entire section of the exhibition dedicated to roses, as Morocco famously produces dried roses that are used in the perfume industry.

Akima-san is wearing two flower brooches I created just for her at the end of 2016. 
I absolutely love her fashion taste and her gift to mix colors!

Read Part 1 and Part 3 and don't miss the extra post about the new cafés & restaurants I have tried out during my trip!