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The Ninja: Warriors of the Night Documentary

30 Aug

Image courtesy of jonathanb1989 on Flickr.

While there are more ninja jokes and memes than you can shake a stick at making the rounds in popular culture, I for one didn’t know much about ninjas.

Sure, they’re sneaky and talented in martial arts, but what’s the real story behind them? Ninjas were definitely real of course, coming into the national consciousness of Japan in the 14th and 15 century. But are their amazing feats little more than legends perpetuated by action films, or is there a grain of truth to the ninja mythos? Continue reading

3 Cool DIY Paper Lantern Projects

23 Aug

Image courtesy of felixtriller on Flickr.

Maybe it’s the end of summer or my recent musings on Japanese festivals that’s caused it, but I’ve been longing for some paper lanterns to spruce up my space.

While there are some rather nifty lanterns you can buy on Etsy and similar places, it’s always fun to try a DIY approach.

So without further ado, here are 3 awesome tutorials from around the web that allow you to make some beautiful paper lanterns on the cheap. Continue reading

Printable Catherine Douzel ‘Tea Voyage’ Quote Print

16 Aug

I’ve had tea on the brain recently, even keeping an electronic kettle next to my desk so I can indulge in my tea habit at work.

Though I’m still a novice when it comes to the intricacies of tea, my love of Asian culture has made learning about tea even more interesting, as tea is a huge part of life in Asia and plays an important role in both day-to-day life and ceremonial occasions.

It’s with that in mind that I made this printable 8×10 print, featuring the Catherine Douzel quote “Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage.” I loved the imagery it inspired, and thought it would be perfect for my fellow tea geeks here on the basement. Enjoy!

To get the full size for printing, just click on the image above.
(Image will open in a new window.)

Organic Loose Leaf …


Teacup optical illu…


Tea For Two Wedding…


Blue Flora Tea Cup …


Nube Tea Cup


One Porcelain Yello…


WILD YARD Tea Cozy …


little porcelain bl…


Teapot Lamp, White …


Tea set – toasted m…


Bottom Feeder Tea P…


The Sky is Red at N…


Celadon and Bamboo …


Ceramic Sake Cups J…


Glass Teapot For Lo…


Plum Blossoms Hand …


Tanpopo: Classic Literature meets Robo-Kawaii in the Stunning Graphic Novel by Camilla d’Errico

9 Aug

Written and illustrated by Canadian artist Camilla d’Errico, I can honestly say that Tanpopo is one of the most unique books I’ve ever come across. Drawn in d’Errico’s signature style, I can only describe the artwork itself as whimsically modern, with the influence of Japanese-style illustration delightfully apparent. Aside from the artwork however, what makes Tanpopo all the more intriguing is that the story, while highly futuristic, finds its roots in classic literature.

While the book turned out to be different from what I was expecting, I didn’t come away disappointed. Since the blurb described Tanpopo as “superhumanly intelligent and inhumanly emotionless” and “ruled by her mind and vast knowledge” I think I was expecting some kind of kawaii-borg hybrid that was an impartial observer of humanity. But the ‘emotionless’ Tanpopo is anything but: she holds a startling fragility coupled with a determination to know the truth that sets her apart from being a mere automaton.

Continue reading

Hyōka: I Scream for Mystery (Anime, That Is)

2 Aug

Hyōka has the unique distinction of being a high school anime that does the genre just right. It has an almost lazy pace to it, where nothing really big has happened as of 13 episodes in, but it’s not a bad kind of laziness, as you get the feeling that there’s something really important lurking just beneath the surface from little clues scattered throughout the episodes.

Which makes sense, considering that Hyōka is a mystery anime. Each episode is either about solving a mystery, or is in some way a commentary on the mystery gene as a whole. (Be prepared to hear the words Holmes and Christie thrown around at least a couple of times.) Added into the mix is a stereotypical but somehow unique set of first year characters that all become tied up in these mysteries, and by extension, the Classics Club. Continue reading

My Neighbor Totoro Inspired Free Printable Bookmarks

19 Jul

Whether it’s the nostalgia summer brings or wishing for a little whimsy in my life, all I’ve wanted to do recently is curl up and watch Studio Ghibli films.

It’s this desire to get ‘spirited away’ that led me to create a set of three printable bookmarks inspired by one of Ghibli’s most huggable creatures: the totoros!

So go ahead and print out these free bookmarks featuring my artwork of the totoros and enjoy the touch of kawaii they’re sure to bring to your next read. Continue reading


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