Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Things Japanese

Its interesting how you can travel half way round the world to another country and end up finding yourself spending much time connected to another country far far away. That's how it has been for me with New York and Japan.

Apart from the beautiful Japanese Designers we saw at the Museum Art and Design, I have been tracking down a couple of Japanese shops.  First of all, I love Muji, and their pens and the only store I am familiar with is in Singapore, so I was thrilled to discover there were three stores in NYC and that yes, they sold the pens I like. (Sadly not the tea bags nor the rice crackers...) so here's my happy pack of pens.

The next store on my list of "it would be nice if..." was the Japanese textile shop Habu. It looked like bliss on the website and I thought it would be lovely to pop in and browse if we got the chance. And we made the chance today, on our way to the Centre for the Book Arts. Such beauty and wonder in this tucked away little shop. My funniest moment was arriving downstairs. There is no street signage, I only had the address. We had to go in and look at the building board to see if Habu even lived there; the guy at the desk looked at me in my felted purple hat and asked "Habu?" I said yes! How funny he picked me as a Habu kinda gal even tho there were 10 floors in the building and loads of other lawyer-like businesses!

And gorgeous it was - quite the bliss. Here is a quick snap of the shop and here is the stash I got. Yum! It includes things like printed silk gima; knitted rami knitted linen tape; raw silk wrapped paper; linen paper cotton ; and Gear linen. What delights await me over the coming months!

And finally but not least in any any way; is the Noguchi Museum. On Barry's birthday we ventured over the East River to Queens and found our way to this very special place. A place of quiet meditation, reflection, and peaceful energy.  We spent quite a few hours there gently and slowly walking thru the beautiful spaces created by his work and for his work. The perfect birthday.

And nothing whatsoever to do with Japan - just a quintessential NYC view - night time from the 86th floor of the Empire State Building.


  1. well now I'm officially very very jealous - habu sounds like heaven to me! and did I see mention of centre for book arts...... (I think I feel my already green eyes getting greener by the second!)

  2. The colour palette of those yarns is so you Fiona. I suspect if I ever went to Muji I'd be like a child in a sweet shop too. Looks like your suitcase will be slightly heavier on the return trip home!

  3. I'm loving experiencing New York through your eyes. And am slightly jealous too. While I am the proud owner of a stash of Habu yarns and threads, it keeps slipping my mind to visit the store. Next time!

    What a wonderful day you had yesterday for exploring too. It was spring-like up here.

  4. I can't believe how much you guys are taking're having a grand time, happy for you! Such amazing sights and treasures to behold!

  5. It's always a commendable feat when you can teach a New Yorker something new about their own hometown - and get them to admit it! I had no idea the Noguchi museum existed in my backyard so to speak. What a perfect place for you and B to spend time on his birthday! That now makes two places I need to visit in Queens (otherwise known as that OTHER borough) next time I'm in NYC - who knew? So happy you are getting the full experience of the city - which often means experiencing non-American culture!

  6. Boy, are you seeing stuff! What a great trip you are having. Hope you took empty suitcases.

  7. Such a wonderful post Fiona - i have always wanted to go to Japan - now the urge is even stronger - we have Muji here in the UK and I always buy pens there - not seen this kind though so maybe they are new - and I see what you mean about Habu website - absolutely gorgeous - thank you for sharing all these treasures

  8. how lovely, and habu, i've never been. sigh. the sculpture evokes much from me, i want to touch.

  9. Hi Ronnie - yes they could be vermillion by now! the Centre fo the Book Aets was a delight and awe-inspiring place. Sigh, I wish we could have places like that at home. And Habu... Well what a find!

    Hi Lesley, yes Muji has so much, but I just go for the pens! Oh and the tea bags and rice crackers when they have them. Yes my bag was only 10 kg on the way over and I am allowed 23 kg ...

    Oh Jennifer I love that you have a Habu stash too!! The shop is so tiny and so funny you would definitely enjoy, as you say next time.

    Thank you Patti - yes we are going and seeing heaps but we don't go out at night too much. We are enjoying ourselves immensely and seeing some wonderful things...

    Hi G/TT I am sure you would enjoy it. I found it in the bottom right hand corner of a page of a book I bought otherwise would have had no idea. It's a special place.

    Hi Jo you can imagine the Dempster-smiths would be pretty organised and we are deftly getting around! In a city like this there is do much to see, but we are also wandering here and there and not overloading ourselves.

    Thanks Rosie - I love the Japanese aesthetic and it's funny how I hone in on things... Muji is overall gorgeous and always worth a visit; and Habu is unique I think. Go well.

  10. Maybe one day V - the sculpture was breathtaking in its silence and serenity. Perfect. and Habu - fun to gaze in wonder I think.


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