I can’t believe that Baum-kuchen is celebrating 10 years next month. How I came to be part of this amazing team 5 years ago was truly serendipity. There are honestly so many sweet memories, most of them are small and simple … but they are always filled with so much laughter, happiness, and inspiration; all sentiments that Baum-kuchen fills my heart with. Although it is hard to pick just one memory, the one that really stands out is my trip to Japan in 2017 with Wakako. This was my second trip to Japan and I had the amazing opportunity to visit Okayama, Kurashiki, and Naoshima Island.
Our first stop was to Okayama to visit The Superior Labor Studio. I still remember getting off the plane at the quaint airport and making our way to the luggage claim and admiring at how tiny and cute it was (it was the tiniest luggage conveyor belt I had every seen). Kawai-san was there to pick us up, and the drive to TSL studio was just breathtaking. The endless facade of dark green trees and the sparkles of sunlight streaming through them; all encompassed by the the sharp fresh air… it was like being in a scene from the movie Totoro. Although I had seen the TSL studio in photos, it was quite a different experience being there firsthand. It was really inspiring to be in their space and hear the sounds of the mallets tapping the brass rivets and the TSL team crafting the artifacts with so much love and care. It was kind of a “moment” to be in the very place that the TSL artifacts come from; an old school house deep in this countryside so far away, then making the trip all the way to our studio and into the hands of our BK community.
Our next stop was to Kurashiki (the home of Classiky)! We took a train and arrived at our minka (traditional Japanese house). We settled in on the first day and set up our futons on the tatami mats and rested up for the night. The following day was filled with exploring the beautiful town as it quietly drizzled on and off all day. We made stops to Classiky, a one of a kind handmade hat studio, a postcard shop where the owner sold postcards of vintage photographs taken by her husband, and stood in a long line to try out a super cute and yummy pudding called “happiness pudding” (which was worth the wait) to name a few.
The last stop, and possibly the most memorable part of the trip was to Naoshima Island. It was quite a journey to get there as we took a train, then a ferry to arrive at our destination. Have you ever been somewhere where even the air was inspiring? Maybe it’s because I love rain, but the drizzle of the rain and the pure inspiration all around was enchanting. I got to experience the Chichu Art Museum (the architecture of the museum is built into the landscape, and is an art piece in itself), encounter the Art House Project, and touch a gigantic Yayoi Kusama pumpkin! Even the small moments there will always be a special memory; such as meeting the sweetest grandfather who gave us a ride to the convenience store because we looked lost, to eating lunch at Apron Cafe which prepared beautifully presented lunches in limited numbers.
It’s hard to wrap up such a magical trip into words. Often times people say that the gift of traveling to extraordinary places is a gift that keeps on giving for your whole life. Although it has already been three years since that trip, it still continues to inspire me today. I can always look back on the moments and feelings I had and can experience a renewed sense of inspiration that fuels my life during different seasons.
Thank you Wakako for the unforgettable experience which I will treasure forever!
BK Artifacts Featured In The Story Photos: