February, 2011

24 hours in Sapporo

February 12th, 2011

It’s about 8:30 right now, and I’m sitting in our hotel room in Asahikawa. I wanted to get a post up today, so I woke up at 6:00am to get started. Since we only had 1 full day in Sapporo we thought it would be fun to do a travel guide if you want to see the best of the city in 24 hours. Of course this is the same premise as the essential Wallpaper city guide, but who cares!

If you have ever been to Japan before, you know that getting a good breakfast is near impossible, even in Tokyo. We read about Vege Cafe Marcle, and walked there with the promise of bagels.

Well there were no bagels, but we ordered the breakfast special which included rice balls, sausage, potato salad, carrots, tomatoes, and a pickled cabbage salad. It was the best breakfast we’ve ever had in Japan!

Our next stop was Cholon, a specialty shop that stocks beautiful handmade products from Japan and abroad. We got the chance to visit the sister store in Daikanyama Tokyo, but liked this one better. Plus it had a cafe.

The cafe is called Morihiko, and there are two locations in Sapporo, both of which I’m told are worth visiting.

We sat down to look at the goodies we had just purchased at Cholon.

We thought we would split some toast, some of which had some rather peculiar toppings: potato, ice cream, or cheese.

We stuck with the cheese, and I can’t even begin to tell you how delicious this big thick piece of toast with melted cheese on it tasted!

We paid our bill and rushed off to our lunch appointment at D&Department.

D&Department is run by Shin Sasaki, the creative director of D&Department and founder of graphic design firm 3KG design, who have their offices on the top floor of the store.

D&Department first launched in 1997 and has since progressed into 6 shops in different prefectures all over Japan, each stocking designs found in their own region.

We were in heaven.

This is a collection of city guides published by D&Department. On our last trip to Tokyo, Oji Masanori gave us the D&Department guide to Hokkaido, and I think it made a big impact on the decision we made to visit Hokkaido for our Honeymoon.

The 2nd floor is a furniture showroom, which has a lot of mid century Japanese designs that were put back into product by D&Department. It was such a pleasure to see all of the pieces in person. And if that wasn’t enough, the 3rd floor has a gallery space too.

Naoto Yoshida from To-Mo-Ni arranged for us to meet with Shin Sasaki for lunch in at “Pippin” the D&Department cafe.

Juli had the fish course, which she said was delicious, and I had the pork.

Shin took us on a tour of the shop, we stopped in to the stockroom to find out that all of the paper bags in the store are recycled. Their customers come in and drop off their old bags, and D&Department puts their branding stickers on them. It is such a fantastic idea!

Our little purchase.

Shin offered to show us around for the rest of the day. Instead of bikes we opted for public transit.

The first place I wanted to see was Kusaka Koushi, a custom leather shop run by Mikasa and his wife Hiroko. Our hearts sunk when we noticed they were closed, but Shin knocked on the door and they graciously let us peruse the shop.

Each leather piece is a work of art, there are some stocked leather pieces for sale but the shop specializes in bespoke leather items made from the best sourced leather in Europe.

We noticed the little harimi dustpan on the table.

The music case.

Each leather bag is made from start to finish by one artisan.

Down the street we stopped for a coffee at FAB coffee.

A generous collection of Japanese magazines. I could flip through them for hours.

Easily the best clothing shop in town, Garage 69 carries some pretty amazing brands including one of my personal favorites, Comme Des Garcons.

The store inside was an experience, and among beautiful clothes the shop also had a large record shop and cafe.

A section of the indoor/outdoor market street.

BEARS! The symbol of Hokkaido.

Our last shop visit of the night was “Weird Meddle Records”.

The owner Akiba runs the shop by himself and hand writes very honest reviews on all of the cds (in Japanese). I mentioned I liked 1960s Japanese surf rock and he got out a few cds, which he let me listen to.

Needless to say…

I made some purchases….

Last stop of the night was Tolumaru, an izakaya pub that looks really old but is really built out of antique wood.

Smokey, dark and cozy.

Various grilled meats…

Hokkaido sake!

A more traditional dish of radish, tofu and miso, on the house.

Asparagus wrapped in bacon.

Chicken with various toppings.

It’s currently the Sapporo Snow Festival. We had a good laugh at this random snowman.


We are naturally exhausted, but wanted to get this post up. More to follow, and we’ll update with links and more photos eventually. I just inhaled way too much indoor bbq smoke (an oxymoron to be sure) and need to go to bed (John is already passed out, though it must be said that he was up very early working on the bulk of this post).

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Do Dundas

February 1st, 2011

Last Friday we visited Dundas St West to see “Do Dundas”. The neighborhood banded together for a fringe installation which featured design works in 29 local shops, restaurants, and cafes between Markham and Grace.

We stopped at Bookhou to see the show “Capacity.”

Maker Sofa by Michelle Ivankovic

A green velvet sofa made from exercise balls was quite striking.

Hydrological Map of Canada by Joy Charbonneau

Nest by Kirsten White

The Universe Will Not Be Typeset by Ayla Newhouse

Now I know my ABC’s by Nathalie Nahas (left)

LIAM mailbox by Maiwenn Castellan (right)

Lodestar by Erin McCutcheon

Detachment Series (capacity) by Arounna Khiunnoraj

I heart U Lamp by Ange-line Tetrault

Aster* Bowls by Kirsten White

The next place we stopped by was MADE for “MADE AT HOME”, an exhibition of new Canadian design, located in the apartment right above the MADE shop.

Your first instinct is to head into the bright kitchen. The table is by Dylan McKinnon, chairs by Anneke Van Bommel and Cameron Maclean, and Felt objects by Felt Studio (Kathryn Walter).

Bottle light by Brothers Dressler

Stack of Plates (lamp) by Annie Tung & Brad Turner

The Hunter get captured by the Game
by Grant Heaps & John Webster

The next room was the living room with a sofa by 608 design, coffee table by Jason Wheeler, Chandelier by Periphere, and Gemstone rug by Bev Hisey.

These Felt ottomans are design by Yvonne Ip.

The office space has a table console by AHDI,  upholstered stool by Melanie Zanker & Angie To, pendant light by Shana Anderson, and Sky Condition blinds by Angela Iarocci.

Walnut plywood Tamitik (chair) by Connie Chisholm Studio

The last room is the bedroom with a large wall hung carpet called “Habitat” by Katherine Morley.

Kerry Croghan designed the bed cover and cushions, and the light sculpture is by Elsworthy Wang.

I would definitely recommend seeing these two exhibitions in person if you have the time (Capacity is on until February 6th and Made at Home is on until February 12th). There are a lot of great designs that you really need to see in person to really appreciate.

We stopped for a bite at Porchetta & Co.

I had the Porchetta sandwich with truffle sauce and a side of rapini.

The sandwich was delicious with a perfect blend of crunchy skin and ample meat. The rapini was the perfect side with onions, garlic and a little bit of chili flakes.

Juli had the same thing as me, except she opted for mushrooms and mozzarella instead of truffle sauce.

The last stop of the day was the Harbourfront Centre to see an installation by Studio Junction. SJ was asked to address Mid Block residences.

The structure is made from birch plywood, and features back lit walls made from folded paper. A pixelated effect occurs when people are in the light box.

The entrance is a small little opening leading you to a sitting bench.

The diffused light comes from the top of the structure and gets distributed throughout of the interior. Peter says, no pictures please!

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