Crazy about Travellers' Notebook
Ever since I picked up a Midori travelers notebook in Japan 2 years ago it has been my on-the-go travel journal for recording trip memories. The size, portability, options, and possibilities are so great I have totally stuck with it. In earlier trips I journaled then came home and printed photos to add. I always added memorabilia and brochures, and embellished with washi and more. Recently I also started to paint and draw and it all makes for the most memorable travel journals!!
You can see my travellers notebooks in detail here:
New Zealand (only on instagram currently)
Bali (on instagram here) and right below in this post :)
Macau (only on instagram currently)
Can you tell I'm crazy about Travellers' notebooks, lol!
Travellers' Notebook-style Japan Layouts!
so I thought, why not make my Japan layouts travelers notebook style?? Once the thought entered my mind I got excited and got together a stash of digital washi tapes, stamps, painted backgrounds and made some more of my own. It was really a lot of fun. And then pulling the layouts together, as if I’m pasting photos and journaling about each of them all over my travelers notebook, the best part!
This first layout was of the time we went wandering in Kawagoe, a town near Tokyo that has kept its charm from a bygone time. Most of the buildings are heritage and many small shops are still manned by the original vendors, with some newer ones added in. The kind of Japan we like to see! Highly recommended if you go to Tokyo!
At Kawagoe we chances upon this charming matcha green tea shop that has an upstairs tearoom. Since I am a matcha green tea addict the family agreed we can splurge and spend some time here. And oh my, it was the most exquisite and lovely tea I ever had. They didn’t speak any English but it didn’t matter. We were united in our love for matcha! There was even a group of young actresses filming with a TV crew! Maybe we went on Japanese TV!
There's so much that is quirky and whimsical in Japan! We read about this cafe selling Totoro cream puffs online and really wanted to try it! It was really out of the way in a suburb town but we had a few days of free and easy un-planned time so it was just perfect. See for yourself how cute they are, it was just impossible to take that first bite, lol. The cafe is really sweet and a dream too, worth a trek out here if you have time in Tokyo. I hand drew a map (not the real thing haha) to add to the layout, as it reminds me of the confusing lanes and getting lost we did before we found the cafe!
Now here is a day we spent at the Doraemon (actually Fujiko F Fujio) museum. All of us especially the boys loved Doraemon growing up, and all the characters and their futuristic inventions used to turn up in our conversations. So it was like visiting an old childhood friend! We giggled and oohed and ahhed and heard many people around us telling stories of themselves growing up. So great! Although the place was geared more for children there’s a lot for adults too, with a focus on Mr Fujio the artist and why he created this magical world. His dedication to the art of comics and his ideas and art were very interesting and we learnt much and gained much admiration for this man. It’s quite a way from Tokyo and you have to pre- purchase tickets so plan ahead if you want to visit!
This is how we do Japan - a layout collecting various photos of what we ate, drank, how we travel, where we stay and what souvernirs we buy. Hint, we love shinkansen and their bentoes, and you can't go wrong with AirBnB in Japan!! If you need a recommendation for AirBnB in Osaka let me know!
Finally a page about the 'Men's Japan' ! About the three places in Tokyo we went purely for their sake - Akhihabara, Nakano Broadway and Joypolis. The first two a haven of techy, nerdy and anime stuff, and the last a Japanese arcade themepark of sorts. All the thrills and checks, according to them :)
And this free template is for you to try out. It's a photoshop layered template in 24 x 12 size for a double page layout. Go to the store page here to download it. Let me know if you liked it, and better yet, show me if you used it!
And the rest of layouts and some 'extra' hand drawn doodles and embellishments are also available in my store here, thanks for looking!
Bali Travellers' Notebook
And finally I have photographed my Bali TN pages for you to take a detailed look. This was only a 5 day get-away, and I used a Midori 64 page insert so there was lots of space for me to dabble in drawing and watercoloring. It was like my first try and I had watched a few videos and read Danny Gregory's Art before Breakfast, was terribly unsure, but so glad I tried, because I loved it. As Danny said in his book, 'art stops time'. when you stop and draw or paint, you focus on your surroundings, notice the details, become present - something I'm lousy at, so yeah, so glad I picked this up!
So this is how I set up my TN. I have the one Midori leather TN cover, and simply switch into a new notebook insert for every trip. It's really simple, I only have the one plastic pocket insert, and decorated the cover of this notebook by doodling in (inspired by Bali carvings) and then painting. Added a tiny map on the first page, and our hotel room card pocket to note where we stayed, and that's it!
Here are the pages where I added photos when I got home, with some embellishments
And here are the pages where I drew and painted. Mostly when we sat down for a drink or a meal, I'd draw on the spot, snap a picture, and usually finish up the painting when I'm back in the hotel. I found the Midori papers thick enough for watercolours if you don't load it with too much water, and they dry well and crisp, I'm no artist, but I like it
And here are pages where I tried to do some stamping and more painting in titles & speech bubbles. As you can see I'm hopeless in stamping, but that didn't matter, these are all easy ways to add some interest to the pages.
As you can see we did a lot in our 5 days in Bali, we love it as a short getaway, don't know why we didn't do it till a couple of years ago, even though we live so near Bali. If you have any questions on my Bali trip just drop me a comment!
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