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Lost in conversation, Kyoto

Posted: 05 Mar 2010

After a year of traveling around South East Asia and traveling solo through Japan, I started to experience "sight seeing malaise".

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What seemed to interest me more than anything else, was spending time with other like minded people and that's exactly what I did in Kyoto.

My friend Kana, who I met randomly in Tokyo, put me in contact with Kyoto based architects Geneto, who invited me to stay and hangout at their studio.

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Asako (left) and Mayumi (center)

Whilst at the Geneto studio, Asako and Mayumi helped me out by translating my English at dinner and social events. I would not of been able to talk so openly without them. Thank you both.

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Trying to network at the AS2 art event, Kyoto

I spent one evening trying to network at the AS2 art event, organised by Geneto, which included an eclectic mix of artists, poets, game designers, scientists and TV producers.

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Keiji (left), Myself (center) and Eiichiro (right)

One evening, late at night in the Geneto studio, myself, Keiji and Eiichiro talked about dating through an English to Japanese translation website. Some very funny "lost in translation" moments.

I was honoured that Ko-ji invited me to stay at his studio. It felt like a real experience and was inspiring to observe how his collective lived and worked together. Although Ko-ji’s English was limited and my Japanese was just as bad, I felt that we had a strange sense of connection. He even told me how he dreamt in English sometimes - which I thought was hilarious.

It goes to show, there may be cultural differences in this world, but we’re all made of the same stuff. Design and passion helped connect us.

This experience has definitely re-fuelled my inspiration and made me even more curious about the many wonders of Japan.

I’m also wondering where my Japanese phrase book disappeared to.

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Geneto Architects, Kyoto and Tokyo

I recently had the pleasure of spending some time with furniture designer Asako Yamashita and architect Ko-ji Yamanaka at their studio in Kyoto, Japan.

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Illustration of Jon Leverrier

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