It’s already December. There is less than a month left this year.
Everywhere you look in town, you see holiday displays. The beautiful Christmas lights along Omotesando Avenue or Roppongi Hills have created a Christmas atmosphere in Tokyo. This coming March 11 will mark the 3rd anniversary since the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred. Seeing towns spangled with lights and crowed with people, I feel that Japan has been regaining vitality little by little. But thinking of those who are still evacuees while towns are in a celebratory mood, I also make a wish for everyone’s happiness and health.
While people feel busy with special events and parties in the last month of the year, craft shows for Christmas are held throughout Japan. The other day I went to an “exhibition & sale” style craft shop named “ATELIER FIVE” which was opened for only 2 days in Nishiogikubo*), Tokyo.
The small gallery was full of felt items by Kuniko Kitamuki and her pals’ fabric or knitted accessories.
In the picture is a Christmas cake Kitamuki created with sheets of felt. The whipped cream around the cake was also made of felt.
“Fold each felt circle in half, sew several pieces together, open it, and you will have such a round stuff.” Kitamuki said.
The small fuzz balls on the top add color to the cake stuffed with the winded and fluffy woolen yarn. The mock sugar cookies of Santa Claus and snowman are lovely, too. The Matryoshka dolls placed behind the cake are also the creations by Kitamuki. Each doll is in a different colored hood and different appliqué apron. The felt sheet of 20 square centimeters, which comes in various colors, is ideal material to work with and is so versatile. Don’t you think it must be fun to create Christmas felt ornaments with your children?
The gallery where the 2-day shop “ATELIER FIVE” was held is located a 10-minute walk from JR Nishiogikubo Station. Roaming around the neighborhood, there are lots of interesting shops, such as vegan confectionery shop “khanam”; “Re:gendo” restaurant where reusing a traditional Japanese house; and “café orchestra” restaurant that specializes in Indian curry. There are small but unique and cozy shops along the quiet streets where you feel like stopping by.
The popular fabric stores “Country Quilt Market” and “Early’s Print” are also in Nishiogikubo. Most of you will visit Shibuya or Harajuku when you come to Tokyo. But please keep mind that the town Nishiogikubo is one of recommended places to check out in Tokyo.
You can see the blog of Kuniko Kitamuki at http://atelier5.exblog.jp
*) Nishiogikubo is a district in Suginami Ward of Tokyo. It takes 13-15 minutes from Shinjuku by JR Chuo/Sobu Line.