Back in June I was fortunate enough to visit Japan for my birthday. This meant that I also got to visit my friend Satoshi who has a wonderful bar called the Ipcress Lounge in Tokyo.

There is so much I could mention in this blog as I did so many things whilst I was out there. There is still much more I didn't manage to do in this visit so I'm hoping to possibly go again next year. Here are just a few of my highlights:

When Satoshi found out I'd be visiting Japan, he decided to hold a birthday party for me at his bar which was really nice of him. Here is a picture in his bar with me and Jules and some of his friends who he invited to the party. 

 

party

Satoshi also arranged for a birthday cake to be made for me for the party. It was a really nice fruit cake which had my name written on it in Japanese. Again, this was a surprise which I wasn't expecting!

cake

hBirthday Cake

Satoshi's bar is very popular with the locals as he specialises in selling british beers, such as Spitfire and Bishops Finger. As well as running a bar, Satoshi also produces a clothing range for men whch specialises in late1960s style shirts and shoes. His particular love is William Morris fabrics which he uses in a large range of his shirts. My partner and I were fortunate enough to visit his fabric shop where Jules was able to pick some fabric to have a couple of shirts made which look fantastic. He also had a pair of beautfiul light suede shoes made by Satoshi. Here is a link to Satoshi's website:

www.ipcressmodfile.com

Satoshi also has collaberated with his friend Miki Shimizu to produce a clothing range for ladies called Dollybirds Baroque. The website can be found at www.jeweltrash.jp The clothing is amazing and again, late 1960s style. I had hoped to purchase one of the dresses when I visited but to my surprise, Satoshi and Miki were one step ahead and had already made me one of their beautiful dresses for my birthday present. Satoshi picked a beautiful paisley fabric in a black and gold colour which is just wonderful. Here is a picture of me in the dress pointing at the Sky Tree which I would recommend a visit to if you're ever in Tokyo.

sky tree

Running a bar is a full time job for Satoshi but he was kind enough to take a day off and show me around Tokyo. Satoshi knows I'm a hand knitwear designer and he arranged for me to visit a hand knitwear shop called Avril. It was really interesting for me to see a yarn shop in Japan and how different it is to yarn shops in the UK. A majority of their yarns were on large cones. After some chatting with the employees of the shop I established that they price their yarn per 10g (rather than 50g or 100g) and that you confirm how many grams you'd like and they wind this amount onto a separate cone for you. Here is a picture of them winding some yarn for me that I purchased:

wool

wool2

Unfortunately I didn't find any of the Japanese stitch pattern books in this shop. However, whilst I was visiting a department store called Tokyu Hands which had a knitting section, I finally found the book I was after which was a 3rd of the price that it sells for in England so I was very happy and it was a nice finish to my last day in Tokyo :o)