Cool + Kawaii, DC to Japan

Japan Preview


I am finally getting around to sorting life out from my last trip to Japan for the fall.

It was a gruelling two weeks and where I wanted to come home and start telling you guys all about it, I got sick.

So I spent almost a week with no energy and hacking up my life.

After getting well, I had to make up for time lost and catch up on replying to opportunities that Design Festa has given me. (so thankful!!!!)

A bit more elbow grease for the coming years and maybe my dreams of working in Japan will come true yet.

2015-11-18-19-53-20Niko & I at Harajuku’s Monster Cafe

Before I share this quick preview though, let me share that I have updated my store with some of my art goods.

In case you haven’t checked out my long-term project, Little INKPLAY Shop, any monies spent at my store go directly to my #supportLIPS fund efforts.

Big dreams need deep pockets huhuhu but what people give is matched so hopefully I can meet my goal faster. ^^

I.P. Brand

Most items were recently for sale at the DC9 Annual Holiday Market put together by Faith, master baker for DC Crunkcakes.

It was hella fun! Feel free to check out my event report here. (Thanks again Faith for such a wonderful event and great time!)

Ok! Japan!!!!!! Let’s talk about Japan.

*Whew* Thinking about it makes me tired all over again. haha

The purpose of this trip, like all the ones before, is a working vacation to make connections for displaying/ selling my art in Japan and to build tattoo clientele.

I usually use my time away to plan my next steps while in the States and grab soak up some inspiration.

I was accepted and participated in Design Festa (whoa! big dream achievement unlocked) and was able to guest spot at my friends Shu-san’s studio, Kichijoji Genie Tattoo and get some quality tattoo time in, so this time was a bit heavier than past visits.

All work aside, here’s a preview of my “vacation” time.

Oh! Speaking of clientele in Japan …

look who I found out was kicking it and doing big things in Japan, one of my regular clients turned friends VaJohn.

Of course I had to throw shade … “So when we’re local I can’t even get a hello if you don’t need ink, but come to Japan and we can kick it hunh?!” haha

I kid, I kid!

It was great seeing the homie and hanging out in some Japanese hoods. 😀

Can’t wait to do it again!


We had the most riveting conversation about street fashion and street fashion with a kawaii aesthetic. *lightbulbs and ideas e’rywhere*


Walking through the mean streets of Shibuya, we found bae! 😹


Strolling through Harajuku I found the homie, Pear. I swear this dude’s EVERYWHERE!
But … wha’chu doing way out here?! >.<


I got to skip over to Osaka (cuz I NEEDED THIS VIEW☟) and checked in with my TNS tattoo family, Naoki, Tomoko, & Yaya-chan … but I didn’t get to see a lot of my favorite people.

I’m sorry it was so short Nao-san, but we’ll have fun on Nara adventures in the summer!!!! 💞



Why you always so cute Yaya-chan >.<


I also got to kick it with muralist Moya and the new homie, Naoki (he does character design and illustration).

Moya and I met in DC as G40 Art Summit participants.

We met in Kyoto for lunch. (So much fun! Thanks Moya & Naoki for the fancy restaurant surprise and a lllll the beer! ^.^) I swear my time in Kansai region was too short BUT we got plans to kick it and maybe make some art together. PSYCHO <3!!

Back in Tokyo, a hard work week still allowed for some time to “stop and smell the roses”.

Shu-san and I left the shop once a day to stroll around Kichijoji and stretch our legs.

There is a graveyard and temple directly across the street from his building’s entrance, so we decided yo stroll through.

It was so tranquil.

Shrine that dates back to Edo period

I also knocked off work early on Wednesday, I think it was, for an art inspo date with my fam, Niko.

They’re hanging tough doing the study abroad in Japan.

I’m so proud of how far they’ve grown for sure! ❤ Our date was so inspiring and definitely deserves a lot of blog love, so please #staytuned~

from Murakami’s 500 Arhats exhibit
inspired by Osamu Tezuka’s manga Hinotori (Phoenix)

Heavy heavy discussions about kawaii art – the compare and contrast of it all, from styles to artists, to concepts. *my mind’s spinning*


2015-11-18-12-53-02quick “Kawaii” hand style doodle by me!

I usually like to connect with one (or more) of my favorite manga/ anime characters, resulting in a themed trip.

Since the movie comes out there are so many amazing things happening for the Maru-chan’s 25th, so this time was all things Chibi Maruko-chan!

The manga and anime are my favs for studying Japanese and learning more about Japanese culture.


My trip to Shizuoka was the best idea EVER! I can’t wait to share all the Chibi Maruko-chan goodness!


Big on work hard, play harder, I met up with my long distance love & sistah, Kaila for a kawaii date at Chibi Maruko-chan cafe in Odaiba.

She beat me too a blog entry about this (she’s fast … I’m still new to this haha) so please stop by and check it out.


She surprised me and wore the #supportLIPS kawaii friends shirt she grabbed. Why my friends so amazing?!
(THANK YOU always for the #kawaiiempowerment Kaila-chan. Love you bunches!!!)

[Oi! Kaila will be doing a guest feature on Tokyo Extra, this Sunday. Check here for deets, mark your calendars, and tune in if you can! Congrats Kaila!!!! Ooohhh kill ’em! ^^]


aaahhhhhhh ~ My feels EXACTLY!

Follow my snapchat + Instagram (@ipukekawaii) to enjoy Japan with me!^.^

Gambare, minna


Imani (イマーニ)

Let’s keep in Touch!


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