Allow me to introduce you to my new favorite Japanese artist, Yushi Iwasaki! I, being a hedgehog Otaku, first stumbled upon his art a couple of years bag at Design Festa, an event for indie artists in Japan, and since then he has made a name for himself within Japan selling at pop-up stores and events. When I found out he was doing a collaboration gallery and cafe, I had to go.
His art style is very whimsical and charming, basing his ideas on his own pet hedgehog, but he also includes a number of other little fuzzy friends including rabbits and hamsters.
The cafe itself is in Kichijoji - a place in Tokyo famous for its beautiful park that is a popular date spot amongst couples. I didn't realize that the cafe itself was about twenty minutes from the station, through the park. Although it was unexpected it gave me a chance to really appreciate the vast gardens, especially during Kouyo season, during the autumn where the leaves turn the color of sunset and beautifully adorn the ground.
We also came across this little shrine with an interesting lantern bearing the LoZ Triforce mark!
After a pleasant stroll, we finally found the cafe known simply as "Terrace Gallery cafe", choc-full of people who came to see Yushi's art. A beautiful hedgehog garland hung from the ceiling, the walls were covered in canvases displaying his work and there were tables and tables of goods to be bought.
A nice little surprise was the artist was actually at the event and signing post cards with every purchase! I showed him a picture of my hedgehog, Bottchan, and he drew this delightful little sketch!
The cafe itself was also very kitsch and had a very homely feel, serving us tea with a little hedgehog printed biscuit and coaster! The staff were very friendly and I noticed the tea pot and utensils they used were pretty traditional and Showa-era looking. The Terrace cafe isn't far from the studio Ghibli museum, so they played Ghibli melodies from the movies and there were some characters decorations peppered around the walls and tables, along with home made decorations and plushies.
Although this is a temporary collaboration, I feel as though Yushi will come back frequently to showcase his art, so please check their Instagram and Twitter for more information! The cafe itself was very unique, if you are in the Kichijoji area I recommend checking it out even if there isn't a collaboration event running at the time.
My favorite purchase of the day was this glittery snow globe phone case, when you shake it little glittery stars dance around inside, like a real snow globe! Yushi is selling his goods online, so if you are a fan of hedgehogs or Japanese indie artists, please check him out!
I feel as though it is much harder for Japanese artists to promote themselves overseas due to the language barrier and the fact most of them do not have a facebook or Instagram and instead favor Twitter. Let's do our best to spread the word!
You can find Yushi on IG - uchador
Also his personal website - www.u2que.com