Greetings from Japan!

Takeshita-Dori at Harajuku, Tokyo. We ate a ton of sweets here.
Ginza, Tokyo. I liked the “San-ai Dream Center” sign because it reminded me of my name and the way I pronounce it, which is actually different from the Japanese traditional pronunciation.
On weekends, the main street in Ginza is closed off and is pedestrian only. K is lounging at one of the tables in the heart of the shopping district.
The theme of the trip was animals. We went to the amazing Yokohama Sea Paradise aquarium where it felt like we could practically touch the dolphins.

Hello, hello! K and I have spent a glorious time in Japan for the last 11 days, and we’re having a hard time leaving. I have so many thoughts and emotions right now and though I’m unable to organize them in a coherent way at the moment, I wanted to pop in to say hello.

I also wanted to talk about Ogden camis. For this trip, I somehow made four Ogden Camis by True Bias Patterns in two days before embarking on the plane to Narita. I originally purchased the PDF pattern and then printed it out via PDF Plotting. This turned out to be a brilliant move because I probably would have never gotten around to sewing these great little tops if I had to tape loads of sheets together.

I started with the size 12 based on the finished size dimensions, but the top was much too large and also too short for my liking. Undaunted, I traced the size 10 and the fit was much better, though I think I could go down a half size. I experimented with lengthening, ranging from 1″ to 3″ — 2″ feels like the right amount for me.

Size 12 in a Japanese fabric I received as a gift from Frances of Miss Matatabi



Version two in size 10 using a double-gauze.
Here’s the back
Version three in my favorite indigo cotton with subtle vertical stripes. I lengthened this one by 3 inches.

Here’s the sad part though: I brought three of the four camis with me to Japan and I only wore one. The breezy top is perfect for the muggy weather in Japan, but I felt very exposed and a bit scandalous showing so much skin in the thronging areas amid women covered from head to toe in layers of fabric. The Japanese as a whole are a modest people and there seems to be an unspoken rule to cover your shoulders.

This fourth version was made from 1 yard of GORGEOUS linen I got on major sale from the no longer open District Fabrics in Fremont. I love how Katara stays close to me and you can see what the photo area situation is actually like here…

I wore this stripey linen version to a cat cafe in Atagawa — where my parents now live — and I felt all the Japanese cat lovers surreptitiously staring at my torso. Luckily, the kitties were incredibly adorable so the stares were short-lived. The cat cafe was one of the highlights of our trip. K and I were missing Katara and it was an unplanned way to get a dose of feline fun. I was pleased with how well-cared for the 28 (!!) cats were at the small facility. For the price of roughly $10 an hour, we played with incredibly friendly cats, fed them snacks and enjoyed a beverage ourselves (the snacks and drinks were included).

K at the cat cafe, having the time of her life.

Well, it’s time for me to wake up K so we can have our last breakfast in Japan. I want to absorb all that we’ve seen and done here in the land of the rising sun and will be updating my Patreon lovelies with all the nitty gritty behind-the-scenes stuff as I always do. I hope you’re all doing well, and I’ll be back with more sewing with some fabric goodies I got in Ginza soon!

8 thoughts on “Greetings from Japan!

  1. Wow! I love all the tops but my favourite on you is the one in double gauze–I like both the length and the shape. But yes, I totally hear what you say about “exposure.” India is no different, although urban spaces are getting more “modern,” I feel so much depends on the perceived age of the woman, and whether what is worn is passed or not. Not fair, I know, but while I have often gazed at this pattern (it would be perfect in 40 deg plus temperatures), I know I would feel far too self conscious, which kind of defeats the purpose.
    But, I do hope you get to wear them all the time in the US, where none of this should be a problem! They look fantastic each and every one of them.
    Loved seeing the Tokyo photos too, especially the one with K lounging in Ginza in the middle of the street 🙂 She looks so much a part of the space!

    1. I remember visiting India when I was about 12 and feeling a similar sense of exposed-ness because I was wearing tank tops and shorts (this was in the 80s so it was probably even more inappropriate). Now that I’m back in Seattle, I’m fully enjoying my Ogden camis!

  2. I am happy to hear what a great time you had in Japan! Did your parents move recently?

    I kind of feel the same way about tank tops. I tend not to wear them, although I wear sleeveless dresses all summer. I am not Japanese, but I get it!

    I love the new sewing you did and I am thrilled to see how grown up K is looking!

    1. Hi Max! Yes, my parents moved back to Japan earlier this year after living in Los Angeles for over 50 years. They’re trying to figure out how to split their time between L.A. and Japan or if they want to leave the U.S. permanently. It’s pretty cool to have a place to stay in a beautiful part of Japan!

  3. Lucky you and lucky K! Family time is the best and family time in a great place is even better. I bought Sewing Happiness today. Not sure why I waited so long but I read it from cover to cover over the day and I feel like you blessed me with an inside glimpse of your life. Thank you for that. There were some valuable and wise insights in it and I truly enjoyed reading it. I will be making some of the projects soon.

    1. Wonderful, thank you so much for buying Sewing Happiness, Tracy! I’m currently working on a kind of sequel to it, and it’s bringing up a lot of emotions! Hope all is well with you!

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