The Crazy Suburban Mom: Japanese Craft books and oh yeah.. Of course it's snowing...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Japanese Craft books and oh yeah.. Of course it's snowing...

What else would it be doing?

Not that I'm bitter; I'm just....  I dunno.  Cold?  Over it?  Ready for spring?   I don't even know anymore... But that's not really what this post is even about see when I woke up to the snow this morning and realized I wasn't going anywhere (again) I decided to go through my books to see if there were any I wanted to Paperbackswap  I found my stash of Japanese craft books and couldn't resist pulling them out.

Japanese craft books are the best.  Craft books printed in the US are disappointing and it took me a long time to figure out why but I have it - The cover projects are fabulous; the one's on the inside?  Not so much.  Besides a great cover project, there's not much else to recommend.  Meh. At best.

And worse than that, the projects are dumbed-down to the easiest common denominator of skill level.  Even the Project pictures are not great - I would think that in a craft book the examples would be spectacular; and they just aren't.  I've seen better project pictures on most websites (and on many websites much better examples).

Or maybe it's not the pictures themselves but the projects are just not done well.  The stitches aren't perfectly even.  Glue shows.  Edges stick out.   Now I know, these things happen in real life but they shouldn't happen in the examples!

It looks like the people (well, publishing houses) who put out the books know they have an audience and pump them out.  And worse than that they pump them out with projects that aren't that interesting and are frankly, silly.  Kindergarten-ish.  It's like the crafting industry is afraid woman will take one look at the book and say, Oh! I could never do that and put that right back on the shelf.  And perhaps, they will - I don't know.  But if that was the case I don't think Japanese Craft books would be so popular.  I mean they are the antithesis of the complaints I have been talking about...

US publishers should really take a look at Japanese craft books and all the interest in them.

japanese craft book button

Because even though the text is in Japanese...

(read on)

japanese craft book button1

People do not seem to care. At all.  Also the diagrams are so
good you don't need Japanese to make the project.

japanese craft book button3

Sometimes you don't even need the diagram.  I mean, really...  Is this hard?  

japanese craft book button4

Not all Japanese crafts involve complexity.  But all the books I've bought involve meticulous detail.  Even if it's only one detail.  Like these buttons.  And doing something interesting with them.  And photographing them well.  Nothing about this book screams 'rushed to publication!' Like so many US books...

japanese craft book button6

But taking small items

japanese craft book button7

And detailing them is a good way to learn a technique.

japanese craft book button5

Or adding something to a store-bought item...

It's not even hard to get Japanese Craft books (although unless you know someone there -and alas I do not - it can be expensive)  Amazon Japan is easy to buy from  and there is a link to it at the bottom of Amazon US with a credit card and Google Translate is very helpful!   

Just find the books you want and you can put the ISBN number in the search bar - You don't need to know the name.  For example if you want to try the book I showed pictures of - The number is 4-579-11063-3.  If you go to the Amazon Japan link and put it in the search bar at the top of the page the button book I showed pictures of will come up (here) and because it's Amazon; other similar books will show up too!

There is another place I've not ordered from before but I will in the future most likely because the shipping is better and it's in English Yes Asia  I can't let you know how this is but it seems many people like it!  You could actually go to Yes Asia first to get a few ISBN numbers in categorys that you like and than scoot over to Amazon Japan because Amazon Japan will than make endless suggestions for you... Which is fabulous and dangerous!

Two important things about Amazon Japan!

Realize that you are ordering in YEN! And make sure you check the exchange rate on the day you order and realized that shipping isn't exactly cheap.  While the books tend to be cheaper on Amazon than a few other places that sell Japanese craft books (like eBay)  the shipping might not be.  Some places sell the books for a lot (I mean,  A LOT more) but charge less for shipping ...  So it might depend where you can get a better deal.

As many books come and go in my life I rarely let my Japanese Craft books go.  They are just too special.

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Six Feet Under Blog 2/25/10, 11:49 AM  

I love the look of this. Ive never seen this kind of craft before.

Maureen 2/25/10, 11:49 AM  

I have a great idea. I think you should make a few of those things and send them to me! Good idea? Just kidding!

The Crazy Suburban Mom 2/25/10, 11:53 AM  

Six Feet - Its a button craft book and I agree - totally attractive! But really, all the japanese craft books 'look' so appealing...

Maureen - I wish I wish! LOL...

Low Tide High Style 2/25/10, 12:39 PM  

Thanks so much to telling us about these. I would have never thought to look for Japanese craft books. I agree that the US books leave me wanting, but the photos you've shown of the Japanese books look really wonderful!

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and leaving such a nice comment. Now I'm off to see if I can find some Japanese craft books, I wonder if our local college library might have some.

Kat :)

Lynette 2/25/10, 2:09 PM  

awww phooof....none of the photos came up for me....i feel lost

The Crazy Suburban Mom 2/25/10, 3:21 PM  

Low tide - definitely find them and hope you can locally. Ive had no luck at libraries but if you have a community with a large asian population there are usually stores that sell these and some great magazines too.

Lynette - I wonder why????

LV 2/25/10, 5:11 PM  

What wonderful craft books you have. Some of those Japanese craft would be great to own. I have never seen any like that. Really enjoyed you feature today and hearing about them.

Anonymous,  2/25/10, 6:07 PM  

really cool crafts! I need to look into this. Thanks for sharing!

J Sedai 2/25/10, 6:19 PM  

I totally agree, the US craft books always look so rushed, and the Japanese are way into detail!
and FYI the Yen rate has been (for about 6 months now) hovering around 86 yen to the US dollar (I know I live here, and have to deal with/know the exchange rate daily) so there Tracy, you do know someone who lives here! LOL but I'm fairly new here.

misguidedmommy 2/25/10, 6:56 PM  

i want all of those things. all of them okay. right now. kthx

Carrie 2/25/10, 9:34 PM  

Ah-hh, after six inches of snow yesterday, it started to rain; it's raining hard now...well, I trust it will bring back my perennials looking their best soon.
It would be fun to find some of those Japanese craft books. I wonder if Paperback swap has any??

Lin 2/25/10, 10:44 PM  

So, how does one get started on reading Japanese craft books?? Where you just perusing old books in Chinatown and stumbled on some Japanese books? Is there a Japanese section at your library?? You find some funky stuff, Trace. Funky.

Roslyn 2/25/10, 11:13 PM  

You're correct that the Japanese books are so superior. the quality of production & editing is so classy. As for the snow, we had SO much the past week at our CO. mtn.home, & when we left this morning to drive to AZ it snOwed for the first couple of hours! It was one degree on night this week!

The Crazy Suburban Mom 2/26/10, 10:22 AM  

J - Oh, right! Of course! I should have thought of you because I believe someone who I've bought from in the past does live there ... an etsy seller maybe? and NOW I am ridiculously jealous of you and shall remain so forever and ever! There are books that go for a few yen in japan - and on amazon japan - that sell for over $30 plus shipping on top! I've not bought any in ages because of that!

misguided - yeah oh yeah! me too!

carrie - I wish they did! Sometimes there are the american versions of previously pub. in japan books and Ive gotten a few after waiting forever, but none of the japanese books.

Lin - Man I swear Im not even sure where I first saw them now that you got me thinking of it! lol

Roslyn, Oh snow snow snow! I cant even get my darned car out at the moments and its still snowing!

Campbell Jane 2/26/10, 10:21 PM  

Love love love the button change purse! I am one of those people that actually use a change purse. Heading off to go through my buttons! Thanks!

RE-Entrepod 2/26/10, 11:29 PM  

I so love Japanese Crochet books. the detail in the photos totally breaks the language barrier. they are the best for sure. great post and why not become a japanese craft book seller on ebay or etsy ? no doubt you'd have a bumper crop of buyers.

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