Friday, May 27, 2011

BrisStyle Twilight Markets

We arrived back in Brisbane yesterday after our mammoth Japanese shopping trip but there is to be no rest for the wicked!  You can find us at the Brisbane Indie Twilight Markets (BiTM) tonight in King George Square.

It looks like to weather is going to co-operate this time, so it should be a lovely night out under the stars.

Once again we will be sharing a stall with Pauline from Funky Friends Factory and in the stalls around us you will find Hungry Designs, Pannikin, Feybles Nel and Catamation. We are tucked away right up the back of King George Square on the Anne Street side (see the map below).

Pauline will have a bunch of her awesome Funky Friends patterns and kits and we will have Original Design Voodoo Rabbit fabric, dyed buttons and a selection of handmade items. 

Where: King George Square (in front of city hall)
When: 5 - 9pm Friday 27th April 2011

- Ky and Cloud

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Travelling Bunnies - Den-Den, Giant Bugs & Going home (Day 8)

We're home! First thing yesterday we went back to Excelsior Coffee (a bit like a Japanese version of Starbucks) for breakfast. It was the only place we found in Osaka that had a barista and a real espresso machine and didn't charge 400 yen per coffee (which would be almost $6 AUD with the current rate). Ky was super happy because not only was it a real cappucino, it came with choc sprinkles on top.

Yep another picture of food
Extra added bonus for Ky was grossing me out by eating prawns for breakfast (bottom feeders - totally ick). Ky managed to gross me out a lot on this trip by eating prawns, scallops & octopus tentacles whenever she got a chance to.

After a quick stop for last minute gifts and a play on the giant claw machines at a nearby arcade (Ky won me a Gloomy Bear plushie!!!!) we raced back to the hotel to check out & stash our luggage. We had five hours to kill before we had to catch a train back to Kansai airport & we weren't planning on wasting it.

We jumped on the subway to Nipponbashi station near Den-Den town. Den-Den in Osaka is the equivalent of Akihabara in Tokyo - full of electronics, comics, toys and capsule toy stores. At night, the area is lit up like a Christmas tree. During the day it is quite a lot more subdued.

Den Den town looking downright boring during the day
I was trying to hunt down shops that had accessories for my Usaggie doll - shoes in particular. I can make her clothes myself but no way can I make shoes. Ky researched the 'dolly' stores in Den-Den and found a recommendation for Volks. To be honest, it was a huge disappointment. Not much dolly stuff at all and none for Usaggie (or Blythe either). We stopped off for lunch and decided to wander around a bit afterwards.

In Japan, it pays to look up! We were looking down a side street at a huge 'Melonbooks' sign when we spotted this on the roof of a nearby building. No idea why it was there but we thought it was awesome.

Good thing we decided to investigate the giant bug too - it lead us to a back street and a stack of anime, toy & capsule toy stores. One of them, Kotobukiya had what I was searching for - Usaggie shoes! We also found that the same items found in stores on this street were way less expensive than those on Sakai-Suji (the main street).

We then wandered off back towards Namba via Doguya-Suji (Kitchen Town) and Dotombori.

Hovering Cow sign
Tako yaki cooking

We got back the hotel, collected our luggage and caught the train from Namba back to Kansai Airport. Along the way Ky managed to run over my foot with her luggage - all 35kg of it >_< All I can say is "Heavy fabric is heavy". We must have looked crazy because we were on the train platform laughing ourselves stupid while I hopped around on one foot trying not to cry and Ky kept saying 'Sorry! Sorry!' over and over again. I guess you just had to be there :P

The flight check-in was almost a disaster. Jetstar still had us down as being in Ecomomy even though we paid for upgrades to Business Class. To fix the problem meant that Ky & I may not have been able to sit together. I got stern. My feet were sore, I wanted a shower & I was not in the mood to deal with Jetstar borking our flight up. We needed to be in Business Class for the luggage limits! We were under by less than a kilo (not including our hand luggage). Like I said before, "Heavy fabric is heavy".

0.6kg under luggage allowance!!

Flights finally sorted, we caught the shuttle train (yup the airport is that big) from the main terminal out to our gate and the Jetstar lounge. No showers. They were back at the main terminal! We decided to have a coffee / snack then go back. I dropped by biscuit into my coffee. Made Ky laugh but it wasn't looking like our airport experience was going very well!

After a hot shower (500 yen & totally worth it) we boarded the plane. Our seats were fixed up and we were sitting together again. Business Class is rad. I've always flown Economy & hated it. This was.... incredible. Customer service, free Bailey's, plunger coffee, real food, hot towels, real napkins, real cutlery, free water... did I mention LEG ROOM! Another great thing about Business Class? When your flight is delayed by 2 hours due to engine problems and Japanese Customs won't let you disembark while the repairs are done you get snacks and LEG ROOM and drinks.

We landed at Coolangatta just after 8.30am. I got home around 11.30 and slept for the rest of the day. The Great Unpacking begins tomorrow.

~ Cloud & Ky

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Travelling Bunnies - The Search for Coffee, More Shopping & Osaka Wildlife (Day 7)

Hello Bunneh Lovers! Tonight is our last night in Osaka & we need to pack so this post will be short on words and big on pictures (^_^)

In our ongoing search for good coffee this is the best we have found.
 We slept in (bliss) and then hit the streets for more shopping. After breakfast we explored a craft shop on the second floor of the Daimaru South building in Shinsaibashi Suji, so Cloud could look for yarn. They had lots of yarn but Cloud didn't know how much to get (they sell it in 10g lots off big skeins) so didn't buy any.

Japanese school girls have much more interesting uniforms than we ever had.
Shin Saibashi Suji shopping arcade
We also went back to the Bodyline outlet where Cloud bought her strawberry Lolita shoes. We got busted trying on a jacket by one of the staff members. She said "No try. No try." That meant "No buy. No buy." for us. Japanese styles are so differently cut than Western clothes there was no way were buying clothes without making sure they would fit first. The store did give us inspiration for the types of fabric we could be stocking for the Goth / Lolita / Cosplay crowd though!

Next was back to Otsukaya to pick up the fabric that we couldn't carry yesterday. Last night we worked out how much of our luggage allowance was left so that we could fill to capacity. We bought more lace trim - pink with embroidered cherries, skulls and spiders. We raced back to the hotel, dropped off our loot and went straight back out again.

Cloud got herself a new hairdo and also some shoes for her Usaggie doll. Then back on the subway and off to Umeda for a quick trip to Kinokuniya Books, Yodobashi Camera and Vie de France for a maple scone.

On the way home we checked out the Osaka wildlife.

Isn't it pretty?
Now it's off to pack, weigh our luggage again, see how much we can cram into carry-on and get ready to fly home tomorrow night. If we can get free Wi-Fi in the airport tomorrow night we will post again.

~ Cloud & Ky

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Travelling Bunnies - Kokka & Fabric Store Raids (Day 6)

We had our appointment with Kokka this morning and it was AMAZING!  Australia is the last to see the new ranges after release at the international shows (like the recent Spring Quilt Fair in Salt Lake City) so getting to see them a week after the event was an opportunity we couldn't pass up.

We were very lucky that Kokka has an English woman working there at the moment so we had a translator (^_^) Cloud knows enough Japanese to get herself into trouble but that is about it!

We placed an order that should (hopefully) get to us in Australia in about 3 months or so. Here is a preview for you.

New Melody Miller Ruby Star Spring Range

After finishing up at Kokka we decided that it was time to do some more craft shopping for ourselves. First up, we took off to Namba Park to go to World Craft Shop. It isn't there anymore (>_<) but there was a great bookstore which used to have a large collection of craft books. I say 'used to' because we bought about half of it! Namba Park is also a pretty cool building becuase it has rooftop gardens - greenery is not common in downtown Osaka.

Toraya in Ebisu Shopping Street was our next stop. Success! Not only was this fabric store still in existence it was 3 levels chock full of textile goodness. We found some really cute goth / lolita pre-ruffled trim, skull ribbon tape, and new Kokka in colourways that we hadn't already ordered.

It was bucketing with rain but we rushed back to the hotel to drop off our parcels, jumped back on the subway and went to our next store - Otsukaya in Esaka. Again there was far too much too choose from. Otsukaya not only has Japanese prints, they also have a small range of Alexander Henry and also Liberty of London prints. The fabric of the day (it was a tough competition too) would absolutely have to be this Hello Kitty x Liberty print.


Tomorrow we are going back to Otsukaya for the fabrics that we couldn't carry today. We also needed to check our luggage allowance to make sure we could bring everything back home! Also on the agenda is finding shoes for Cloud's new toy - a cute Usaggie doll (^_^)

We fly home on Wednesday evening so tomorrow may be our last blog post from Osaka. The blog posts about Osaka may be going for a while though - we have a load of photos.

~ Cloud & Ky

Monday, May 23, 2011

Travelling Bunnies - Rest day (Day 5)

Today (Sunday) consisted of a lot of doing not much at all ^_^

We went to Umeda Yodabashi Camera to buy some head phones. Cloud also bought herself a Tonari no Totoro watch.

The rest of the day has consisted of eating mega amounts of Japanese junk food, blogging and watching episodes of Supernatural (aka Boy Buffy). Updates on our snack binge have been posted on our Facebook page and also our Twitter feed.
No we didn't eat it all in one go, the banana is for breakfast ;)
Tomorrow is a visit to the Kokka showroom to see the new ranges!

~ Ky & Cloud

Travelling Bunnies - Kyoto: Berry Cafe (Day 4)

This deserves a post all of it's own! While wandering (semi lost) around the Kyoto Train Station we walked past a cake shop called the Berry Cafe. It specialises in cakes covered in fruit arranged into beautiful patterns. Check these out!
real cakes
plastic display cake
plastic display cake
plastic display cake

The most elaborate (and expensive!) is the Mango Rose Cake. It is absolutely beautiful. It also costs around AUD$20 a slice!
Plastic display version
Real one
~ Ky & Cloud

Travelling Bunnies - Kyoto Day Trip (Day 4)

On Saturday we went to Kyoto for the day. It takes about a half hour from Osaka on the Special Rapid train and is really cheap (only 530 yen each way). On the 21st of each month there is a huge outdoor market in the grounds of Toji Temple.
Japanese couple in traditional dress kindly posed for a photo

The market was very crowded and hot

We walked to get to the market. It was a super humid day in Kyoto so we were extremely hot bunnies! The market was big, loud & colourful. On offer were ceramics, second hand kimonos and yukata, fresh octopus, tea, mystery foods on sticks, and a mixture of second hand goods (a bit like a trash and treasure / flea market set up).

There was so much to buy but we restrained ourselves - we need to keep our baggage allowance free for fabric. We walked back to the station for lunch and air-con.

Kyoto Station itself is a popular landmark - the roof is amazing. According to Wikipedia it is "Japan's second-largest train station building and is one of the country's largest buildings. It includes a shopping mall, hotel, movie theatre, department store and more under the 15 storey roof. Photos of the roof just do not do it justice, nor do they impart the scale of the place - it really is a place to see to believe. There used to be a cool Tezuka (creator of Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion) museum shop at the train station but we were very disapointed to discover that it closed earlier this year.

Kyoto train station
After lunch we jumped on a bus to our favourite fabric shop in Kyoto - Nomura Tailor for a spot of fabric shopping. Cloud's feet by this stage were swollen up to the point that her ankle bones couldn't be seen anymore - they had moved beyond 'cankles' to 'thankles' (ie: swollen up to become part of her thighs :P). Time to head home!

~ Ky & Cloud

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Travelling Bunnies - Bicycles, Sore Feet & Fabric (Day 3)

We have been doing a lot of walking the last couple of days while shopping and it is starting to hurt. To try to save our tootsies we borrowed the free bicyles available here at the hotel.

They were a bit rattly and had no gears but they got us where we needed to be much faster than walking. Osaka is quite flat too so the hardest thing about riding around is not running into people or having them run into you. Cloud took some pictures of the streets as we rode around today.

We are visiting Kokka on Monday so we rode to the area where the showroom is. Nearby we found a huge shopping arcade. It is under a massive highway overpass and contains 10 separate buildings. It runs for a kilometre, split into two sides and multiple levels. We couldn't take the bikes in there so it was back to punishing our feet again. We found some goodies though so it was worth it!

After coming back to the hotel for a quick nap & a shower, we headed to Tennoji and ABC Craft. Not much there for the shop but a load of stuff for us! Cloud bought forceps (for stuffing toys) and some Clover crochet hooks. Ky hit the motherlode - a blank umbrella frame (with pattern) so she can make her own parasol; a number of dressmakers rulers, belt interfacing (for making woven bags), sashiko kits and also a rotating bobbin holder. For the shop we found some great little bells that are going to be included in some of our toy kits and a cute little anchor fabric.

Our stomachs were growling with hunger after so much exercise so we went in search of okonomiyaki. It is referred to as 'Japanese Pizza' but it is really a cabbage pancake filled with either meat or seafood and then covered in sauce and mayonnaise. It doesn't look pretty but it is both tasty and filling. Ky got tentacles in hers just to gross out Cloud.

Tomorrow we are going to Kyoto for the day. There is a market on at one of the temples and we also want to stop in at a fabric store we love. Hopefully there will also be time to visit the Astro Boy store ^_^

~ Ky & Cloud