Skip to content

Tokyo Design festa autumn 2010

Two weeks ago, I woke up on a Sunday morning with a strong desire to go somewhere and do something and yet out of all the days when my schedule is usually so packed, that particular day I had absolutely no plan.

In times like this, Tokyo art beat and everyone’s beloved Facebook are the two great sources for “where tos and what to dos”. Surely soon enough, I discovered Design festa at Tokyo Big sight! I have always wanted to go to this event which is organized every half a year to introduce the creative works of Tokyo’s many designers, artists, performers, musicians and craft masters.

I was absolutely amazed with everything I saw and as a girl who easily gets inspired by the greatness of other people, I immediately started to play in mind various scenarios of me one day displaying my own work. ^-^ I would love to use my blog to show some of my creative work but due to Japan’s strict copyright laws I cannot…because everything that I have ever created belongs to my clients and since my clients are usually charging users to use my products, there is no way I can display them anywhere else for free.. So if I am ever to show something, it would have to be done from scratch and entirely for that purpose which requires a lot of motivation to sit in front of computer on top of the crazy hours that I already do..Hopefully, one day I will have enough time to let my fantasy run free and create something nice that I can also possibly sell to someone, hehe! Luckily, I already have like 10 business plans for that magic time in my life! When, oh when do I start working for myself?..^-^

For a very long time, I was really impressed with the creativity of Japanese people. Only recently, upon my discovery of I have realized that there is a lot of talent and craftsmanship in every country and that there are thousands of unrecognized designers who create way much better stuff than some of the world’s renowned jewelry brands or fashion houses. Seriously, just go to and check the silver owl earrings. Then, compare it to Marc by Marc Jacobs and Gorjana owl earrings and you would see the same quality, only the etsy earrings would be sterling silver, no plate – real silver and they would cost three times less than the brand ones. ^-^ When it gets to buying jewelry, etsy should be your first and last stop – period!

I took some snapshots of cute Japanese girls displaying their art work. Many of them were using themselves as principal models or centerpieces for their installations.

One girl was selling postcards with the cutouts of her grandfather’s head. It was so cute and endearing. Who would think of that? How do people come up with such ideas? Amazing!

Many artists were creating their pieces on spot and some even offered custom work like this guy who was drawing portraits on big wood panels.

There were makeup artists offering artificial scars for free and they had the biggest waiting line. The scars and wounds they were creating looked so realistic, I couldn’t tell it was makeup even from a very close distance.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t take any pictures but here is a video I found on youtube:

This guy was oblivious to everything that was happening around him, he just painted and painted his beauty, completely absorbed in his own private world..

These handmade dolls were amazing, so delicate, so fragile. There is a whole town in Tokyo called Akihabara where you can buy various parts like hair, fingers, glass eyes etc to create your own dolls like that. Once, I found myself in one of these shops and I was really shocked with the crowd who shopped there (yes, that’s a given, you have to be a freak to carry this much dedication to create something like that) but also with the variety of tiniest little parts you could buy to manufacture something absolutely unique. Japanese are the most patient and devoted people I’ve ever met!

This guy was my favorite. He was carving Japanese personal seals “hanko” on small pieces of marble and each one had taken him only a couple of minutes to complete.

He made one for me. It says “Natalia” in Japanese alphabet Hiragana. In Japanese, all foreign words and names are usually written in Katakana – a special alphabet created  for that sole purpose. So, whenever a foreign word or a name is written in Hiragana – traditional Japanese alphabet, it creates a kind of artistic spirit about it. I am going to use this hanko for my art work instead of signature! ^-^

My next stop was at a small Bonsai arrangement booth. A few years ago, my husband bought me a Bonsai tree from the shop in Jyugaoka – the very same one that was displaying work at Design festa. It is run by a cute little old man who gave me a lecture on the care of my “furosou” moss arrangement before selling it to me. He does Bonsai workshops every week and also personally replies to every email so if you are thinking of buying a Bonsai tree, he is the person to ask all the questions to. ^-^

Thats’s his website:

I have a little shelf at home where I display all my treasures. That’s where my Furousou moss arrangement went, right next to the rocks that I collected from the Grey Glacier in Torres Del Paine, Patagonia. ^-^

There were some foreigners at the festa as well, displaying mostly their graphic designs and paintings and giving out business cards and hopes of making it big in Japan. I believe some of their work was of the same high standard and surely deserved attention. If you are lucky to sell your character in Japan, you are golden. ^-^

That’s how I met Meghan – my facebook friend from New York and her boyfriend Alex who is not only an artist but also musician. They each presented their brands Ruby Winkle and Optivion – dark but beautiful art that I really liked. I got their prints for free – thanks you guys!

Here are their websites: (Meghan’s cute character Ruby Winkle) (Alex’s Optivion)

In the evening, me and my husband gathered our precious finds and went to watch sunset in the park next to the Big sight.

The park was created as a part of Tokyo disaster prevention program. That’s where people would gather in the occurrence of a big earthquake or some other disaster. Underground, there is an intricate backup system, above, it is a nice green space with a few helicopter landings and a huge field to play soccer or enjoy picnics..

Tokyo’s Big sight was hosting another event that day – Career fair. It is organized several times a year for 3rd year undergraduates who are looking for employment. In Japan, students start to look for job a year before their graduation and if you haven’t found one, next year you chances are going to be even smaller so many unlucky ones decide to take on an extra year at the University or join an abroad program to procrastinate their graduation and therefore have enough time to find a job. I was amazed at the number of students who came in that day. Tokyo fashion blog captured a picture of them standing patiently in line to enter the expo:

My friend Serezha found his present job this way and come to think of it – me too. I visited a career fair in “Zimniy manezh” in St. Petersburg where I learned about various internships abroad and applied just for the fun of it. A month later I got a call, then passed three exams, participated in a culture shock training program, got matched with an IT company, passed exam again and finally landed an internship in Japan. ^-^

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. なたりあ!you inspire me every day :)
    I started to write blog inspired by your blog, chose IT company when heard you talking about your job so enthusiastically. Thank U!
    “hanko” is cute!

    November 20, 2010
  2. Haha, that’s what I keep telling you! You inspire me to study every day and I am really grateful for that!
    I love my hanko but it only looks good with expensive Chinese ink so I need to go shopping!

    November 20, 2010

Leave a Reply

You may use basic HTML in your comments. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS