Japanese House of Craft

On a whirlwind "bachelor party," my friend was in town very briefly this weekend. So I made sure part of her bachelor party consisted of a visit to Uwajimaya Village, home to the greatest Japanese bookstore in the U.S.: Kinokuniya. Her eyes practically burst from her skull when she first entered. After a cursory inventory of the entire store, we both settled down on the floor in front of the craft section and proceeded to drool for the next hour.

I don't know when I started to fall in love with Japanese crafts. Because it's so hard to resist the Japanese's talent for combing cute with whimsy with simplicity, I'm sure I was blindsided the second I first saw a picture of some form of Japanese craft. What I do know is that when I first visited New York last winter, I made sure to visit Kinokuniya in Manhattan (near MoMA) and came home armed with my first three craft books. And then when I returned a few months later, I again made sure to visit Kinokuniya, and once again came home armed with more craft books. Somewhere along my multi-year journey into obsession (the obsession started way before visiting New York), I found out about the Seattle branch of Kinokuniya. However, I brushed it aside as I also knew it was an "extension" of Uwjimaya, and I was therefore convinced it was a tiny little outfit not worth my time. And then when I first saw the New York store, I became convinced that it was the only truth and that the Seattle store was a mere speck of dust in comparison.

If only I could time travel. I would do so just to smack my slightly younger self into sense. Not only is the Seattle store as good as the New York store, I'm now convinced it's bigger! At least, it certainly feels much more open and easier to navigate than the New York store. And at the very least, their inventories are a close match. Why, oh why, was I too snotty to visit before now? Oh, why!!! I guess it's a good thing I still live in Seattle and have the ability to make up for lost time.

Anyway, If you ever find yourself near any of the 21 oversees stores, make sure you visit. Japanese craft booklets are craft ninja porn, and Kinokuniya has no shortage of them. And speaking of craft ninja porn, I decided to compile a list of Japanese craft sites. Ittadakimasu!

Crafting Japanese, I Really Think So