I have safely returned home to Hawaii after a lovely trip to Japan. I love Japan!! The people are so polite, the food is delicious, and it is always exciting to go on an adventure in a foreign land away with unexpected challenges!
This was my second adventure to Japan, and I felt a little anxiety before leaving, because my first trip in 2010 was exhausting! Last time, I had worked for 2 long days in a row at a festival in Yokohama, and being unable to speak Japanese, I felt disoriented from the chatter of unfamiliar words. I remembered how fun it was to meet all of my fans in 2010, but the tsunami and earthquakes in the spring of 2011 made me feel a little uneasy about returning.
This time, I made mental goals of feeling at ease and balanced upon this trip by visualizing myself content and comfortable in Japan, surrounded by loving faces. And thankfully, it worked! It’s amazing how intentions can create a whole different world.
Upon arrival, I spent a couple of days in Ebisu (in Tokyo) with a very sweet family…I met the mother, Yahoko, during an interview here at Sunset with a Japanese TV show featuring Hatsue Iwamoto. Yahoko was on the production crew and graciously offered me a place to stay at her home in Tokyo when I mentioned that I would be visiting in a month. Yahoko ended up producing an art show in Milan during my stay, so I enjoyed the company of her 2 daughters and niece.
On my second day in Tokyo, I caught a taxi to MMJ Maunaloa (one of the few places in Japan that carries Noelani Designs in their store), where I set up my jewelry for a trunk show. I enjoyed seeing my jewelry display at the shop–it looked sooo cute! The girls who work there are super sweet and pretty too! I was pretty tired from my arrival and I forgot to take pictures with everyone. But I did manage to take a few pictures of my setup.
Adjustable bracelets of all different styles
My boyfriend's newest carpentry design- an earring/necklace display! It beautifully displays many earrings and a few necklaces...perfect for traveling!
The setup looked nice considering I traveled all the way from Hawaii to Tokyo with all my jewelry and displays!
I enjoyed meeting my customers and helping them to select styles that best fit their character and style. This part of being a designer is the most fun for me because each person is unique. Getting to style them is a treat! I was happy to see one of my long-time customers, Mina, who I got to take a picture with. I have communicated with Mina online many times, and created many custom designs for her, but never before did I get the chance to meet her!
One of my long-time fans and customers, Mina. We finally got to meet in person, and she is sweeter than I ever imagined!
I also enjoyed meeting another customer, Toshie, who picked out the Anuenue earrings. She said she loves hula and looked so cute in them so she will always be thinking of Hawaii in her rainbow earrings! Check out Toshie’s Blog here.
After my show in Tokyo, I packed up for a good night of sleep to prepare for my big weekend in Yokohama!
Riding the train from Tokyo to Yokohama alone was a bit scary since I couldn’t speak Japanese and had 3 bags loaded with jewelry and displays, along with my backpack and purse. Choosing the correct train in a metropolitan labyrinth is a change from my normal habitat of North Shore, Oahu, where my typical mode of transport is a rusted bike.
On Friday I met up with my good friend Angela Maki in Yokohama and we setup for the LOVE HAWAII event. Angela set up her table to display Ocean’s Love apparel, and take orders for her upcoming book. Ocean’s Love is a non-profit organization dedicated to share Angela’s love for the ocean with special needs children in Japan. Check out Ocean’s Love’s website here
. Before the event, Angela helped promote my arrival with her blog:
Angela Maki’s Blog
The Hawaiian girls: Kawehi, Maki and Mahina
Also joining us from Hawaii were Kawehi and Mahina of Genuine Guava
. Kawehi and Mahina design handbags out of vintage and recyled fabric. They are sooo adorable and functional!
One of the many cute handbags designed by Genuine Guava
Angela Maki and I arrived at Osambashi Pier in Yokohama early Saturday morning to prepare for our show. We dressed warmly and ate a hardy breakfast of eggs, rice and ume plums (homemade by Angela’s grandmother).
On Saturday the show began at 9AM and we were ready to go! We had a line of customers waiting to be beautified! I met many lovely Japanese women and got to practice the few Japanese phrases that I know and learned many more. My favorite one is “kawaii,” which means “cute!” Every woman loves feeling cute!!
I got to meet with so many of my loving fans and enjoyed speaking and taking pictures with each them! Here are some of the photos with my beloved customers:
Yuki and friend! Yuki (on the left) is a fellow bodyboarder...I hope to see her in Hawaii in the waves! Click on the picture to read her blog.
Akiko and her custom earrings! Akiko came to visit our studio on North Shore last year. It was so wonderful to see her again!
Shigeru Ono, a photographer, and long time fan, came to see Angela and me!
Shigeru took a close-up of Maki's "Elizabeth" earring- I love the composition with Angela's poster in the background!
She bought a one-of-a-kind design with hues of pink and purple chalcedony. So happy and so cute!
Kimi and her friend were a joy to talk with! As young ladies, we shared some inspiration and wisdom with each other about the manifestations and creations of life!
I took so many more photos with other customers and would love to see them. If you have one please send it to my email: Noe@NoelaniDesigns.com.
There are a few more photos on the following blogs in Japanese:
Hisari’s Malulani Life
I really enjoyed sharing my treasured designs with my Japanese fans and am hoping to come back next year! In the meantime, I hope that my jewelry reminds you all of the special magic of Hawaii each time you wear them!
At the end of the show we all packed up and got ready to go home, but not before taking a few more photos…
Sumo wrestler Konishki, surrounded by Hawaiian fans, and his wife Chie.
My awesome assistant, Kiyoko. I really appreciated her help at the event!
I had such a great show, and was happy to relax on my last day in Japan. I did a little shopping in Tokyo with Angela Maki and enjoyed some lunch with her family!
Japanese buffet! Yum yum! Delicious and healthy!
Shopping time for gifts for family and friends! The weather was rainy and cold, but a nice change from warm and sunny Hawaii!
Mahalo to Angela Maki for showing me around and being so much fun! Love you!
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