felt cafe japan is intended to be a resource for people looking for information about crafting in japan, japanese crafts, and craft resources for those visiting japan.
for now, the information presented here is primarily based on my first hand experience in japan, and most of the craft workshop information is for the kansai area (western japan), especially kyoto, which has both a concentration of traditional crafts and workshops for foreigners/beginners.
i love fiber arts, and felt cafe is my own wee craft business where i sell felted objects, handspun yarn, and naturally dyed felt and yarn. as a crafter, my first love is felt and fiber art. since i moved back to japan, my etsy shop has become a place where i share my favorite japanese craft books, fabrics, and other supplies, at http://feltcafe.etsy.com.
my background is in architecture, and in traveling around japan, i have had the pleasure to see traditional architecture and crafts, often preserved and presented together. in japan, there is a widespread appreciation for the traditional and the handmade. as the handmade craft movement has become more popular in the u.s. in the last several years, there has also been a renewed popularity in handmade crafts in japan, especially the trend of zakka 雑貨, which often takes the form of small handmade items that make your daily life more cozy or cute. in visiting handmade markets in japan, i have seen both new and old crafts side by side, as well and young crafters with their original creations and older craftspeople using techniques that have been handed down over generations.
while i lived in japan in '06-'08 i tried to learn about and try my hand at a variety of crafts, especially fiber arts. i was living in kobe, so most classes and workshops that i had access to were in kansai (western japan). i tried to document these experiences on my blog, http://feltcafe.blogspot.com both as way to remember and organize information for myself, and share my experiences with others. in april 2009, i moved back to japan, and in july 2009 i moved to kyoto. i am so excited and thankful to have the chance to continue to explore japanese crafts and share what i find here. as anyone who is familiar with japan knows, there are amazing resources and opportunities available, yet information in english can be hard to find or minimal. i have tried to include the japanese kanji, phonetic romanization, and english translations whenever possible, so this site can be as helpful as i can make it.
in response to inquiries from people who are traveling to japan and looking for recommendations on craft workshops, i wanted to gather my information about japanese crafts in a central location that is easy to browse. i hope that this site will continue to grow and expand, and i really and truly welcome your suggestions, contributions, and feedback. would you like to be a contributor? do you have suggestions or corrections? questions or requests? please feel free to contact me via the contact link above, or directly at feltcafeATgmail.com. really, i would love to hear from you!