A British Love Affair in Tokyo
From English cups of tea and British movies to cashmere socks, Yumeka Miyazaki been a self-confessed Anglophile since as long as she can remember. Dreams of all things English began when Yumeka was a little girl – and today, her Tokyo home is packed with British design products, from textiles and books to fashion.
So it is perhaps little surprise that Yumeka, who worked for a British fashion brand in Tokyo until the birth of her one-year-old daughter Kiiro, is an avid admirer of Caramel in Japan.
Yumeka, who first visited the Daikanyama flagship when she was pregnant, now takes Kiiro several times a week (the baby’s face lights up when she crosses the threshold and sees the familiar smiling faces of staff).
Here, Yumeka explains the deep-rooted appeal of British design in Japan – and reveals her Must Visit list for her first trip to London later this year.
What is the appeal of British design?
I love things that have a sense of history and tradition. I have long wanted to inhabit the world of English movies and the picture books I read as a child – in particular due to the unique clothes worn by the British characters.
Do you have many British items at home?
Yes! (laughs). I have a Mackintosh coat, British knitwear, Corgi socks from Wales and many other things. I also love British movies, in particular Notting Hill – the flowers, the cityscape and the front door colours really struck me when I watched it.
What were your first impressions of Caramel in Japan?
I was still pregnant when I visited for the first time and I had honestly never seen such a cute shop – the whole space was beautiful, the clothes, accessories, shelves and even lighting. For me, it opened up a whole new world. I think I said “wonderful!” many, many times. I was immediately fascinated with the brand.
Why do you like Caramel?
The colours of the fabrics, buttons and threads, which feel unusual but beautiful. I also love the simple and luxurious silhouettes plus the original textiles which feel very British. There is a feeling of nostalgia and warmth in the designs. Now I visit as often as I can – normally two or three times a week. The staff have watched my daughter grow since she was born. And for her first birthday, we even commissioned the illustrator Kyoko Osada to draw a picture of my daughter in her favourite Caramel outfit.
And I understand you will soon have the chance to experience British design in person?
Yes, we are visiting the UK for the first time in September. I’m so happy that I can finally visit the country that I’ve dreamt about since I was a child. I am also excited to introduce my daughter to the landscape and culture. We plan to visit the Tate Britain and St James’ Park, among other places – but a highlight will definitely be visiting all five Caramel stores in London!
Words and images by Danielle Demetriou