Happy Happy Japan!


Can anyone in Japan ever get depressed? Not with pastries like this chocolate filled panda! I was super down on myself yesterday after seeing these adorable creatures that Rosa linked to. They are so perfect! The exact little animals that I was aspiring to create. And there they are better and cuter than I will ever make. After boohoo’ing all morning that “I give up!” Tim decided to cheer me up by taking me to our newest discovery, the Mitsuwa Market. Mitsuwa is a cool indoor Japanese mall complete with grocery store, foodcourt and bookstore. I got the tip on craftster. I went last week to see what kind of craft books were to be found. The selection was no Kitty’s Oriental Craft Shop but there were a few Ondori books and others that were calling to me. A lot of them were beautiful but just too complicated to be followed by diagram alone, knitting with beads, making macrame bags, etc. I was specifically looking for books on making stuffed toys so I could get some practice following 3D patterns and then hopefully I could create my own eventually. I found 2 that were pretty good. They really didn’t have much to choose from for stuffed toys. I guess I’ll just have to keep checking back for new stock. And in the meantime I can fill my basket with all sorts of goodies!

These are the stuffed toy books…


And these are the Ondori books, the flower one my Mom bought me from Kitty’s Shop, the Sashiko one I found at Mitsuwa…


A bunny notebook to keep track of crafty to-dos, some pretty stationary and these sticks.. one with fuzzy and one with a little something. what are these?!


A cutie lunch box and bag and a book for Oscar on an egg’s hunt for the perfect outfit! We love an egg in clothes (eggpants).


Bamboo knitting needles for $1.50 each! amazing! I’m not sure if they’re nice quality like the Clover ones but for that cheap I couldn’t pass.


The trip did the trick and cheered me right up. Now I’m all better and ready to continue on my quest for cute stuffed animals. I’m also feeling very nostalgic. When Tim and I first lived together, our apartment in Chicago was very close to a large Vietnamese neighborhood and we used to dine on delicious pho and shop the asian grocery shops for yummy candy and treats and I’d get my fill on san-x at the giftshops. It was so good to see cubyrop and puffy kitty stickers again.

ok, back to my knitting.. I’ve got that damn George sweater up against the ropes and begging for mercy.

13 thoughts on “Happy Happy Japan!

  1. Giao says:

    Wow, you always have such great finds to share! I think I saw an article in the Sunday Tribune about this place. I live so near I really should go. You got so many great goodies! (Also, as a Vietnamese person, I agree, pho and the grocery for candies and the yummiest pastries are so good!).

  2. maia says:

    hello again! yes, one of my favorite places too– mitsuwa/previously yaohan! gee, I sure miss the japanese stores in west LA… big discovery last year was mitsukoshi deptartment store in the japan showcase at epcot/walt disneyworld, orlando–a must visit! 🙂

  3. daisylou says:

    Those cute mystery sticks that you bought are earpicks…Yup, picks for cleaning ears. My husband has brought them back for pals at work when he’s gone to Japan. You can get all sorts of them….
    My husband, son and I went to Tokyo last spring and I bought a super cute knitting magazine. I’d love to find more like it here.
    I live in Chicago and now am very excited to go to Mitsuwa…Thanks for the info.

  4. claire says:

    Oh I know! I Have been feeling the exact same way since seeing those toys on Tar-tan. BOOHOO! Gorgeous things. I wish there was somewhere as cool as the Mitsuwa Market for me to drown my sorrows in!

  5. hillary says:

    earpicks! hilarious! they’re so much cuter than my q-tips. you should definitely go to mitsuwa – they had all sorts of very cool knitting books when I was there. I was very tempted but I didn’t think I’d be able to figure out the patterns.

  6. Cinnamon says:

    Mitsuwa is awesome. Everytime I have to go out to the burbs I beg to wander around the place. I’ve gotten some amazing rice beer there, as well as lots of books from their store. I’ve even eaten spam rolls. (Not as bad as I expected, but no reason to eat them again.)
    Very cute site, by the way. It helps that your wee model is a charming fellow, too.

  7. Monica says:

    Your photo’s make me miss the crazy amounts of overly cute & happy stuff I used to get in Japantown in San Franicisco. I caved in and checked out the Kitty’s Oriental Craft Shop and bought 2 books on kimono chirimen dolls, because you know one just wasn’t enough. Dangerous links you post…but thank you so much for sharing your finds:) knitmonkey from Knitty

  8. gracie says:

    wow…i never thought i’d find someone with those same exact knitting needles!! i bought them from the local japanese 99c store. they come in all kinds of sizes (their sizing is a bit different from US), lengths, dpns & crochet. i really love them…much cheaper than clover. 🙂 im overly obsessed with cute japanese things!! i love your site 🙂

  9. molly says:

    Wow, what a bunch of great stuff! I live in Japan, and I love having all that fun stuff everywhere–they sell those knitting needles at the equivalent of the dollar store!! I just found your blog and I think it’s great. Your stuff is so cute!!

  10. Sonia Kessler says:

    Can you please tell me if you carry the new book by Kyoko Tamamura “Parchment Fairies”
    Thanks for your help…………Sonia Kessler

  11. yumi says:

    Yay! Someone cleared up the Totoro mess! Totoro is no bunny…I believe that one is Chu-Toro (medium sized Totoro)…beloved by children of Japan…and beyond (I hope!)

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