Snippets Issue 24 : The Japan Issue

Jennifer Smile

Scottish artist, Jennifer Smile takes on Japan.

Jennifer Smile

Win A Jennifer Smile iPhone Case

We've got an awesome iPhone case and set of cards designed by Jennifer Smile up for grabs. So, if you want your iPhone to look like a cute monster, just leave us a comment at the end of the article, letting us know what your favourite things about Japan are. Jennifer will pick her favourite, so good luck!

I'm Jennifer Smile and currently I work as a freelance artist living in Gifu the heart of Japan. I studied a short Japanese course at university and I was given the opportunity to study abroad in a rural area called Gifu. From there I fell in love with Japan and I went back after graduating and haven't looked back since. Theres always something new, something crazy or something just weird going on. Everywhere you go, theres some sort of cute or "kimokawaii"(disgusting cute) characters. Japan is the place to be inspired.

Currently I'm exhibiting work in the third largest city in Japan, Nagoya. My work is very colourful and full of weird characters. I'm very inspired by the Japanese artists Yayoi Kusama and Takeshi Murakami. I love the colours that they use and Yayoi Kusama's crazy style. I particularly like using simple shapes in my artwork which I morph into cute and strange characters. I always just try to have fun with my art and create pieces that I like or that make me happy and hope that others enjoy them too.

Being an artist in Japan as a foreigner can be very difficult with the language barrier, but I've found other artists to be very friendly and helpful. I've worked on a number of projects and exhibitions with other artists in Nagoya and its always been fun and sometimes unusual. We once exhibited in an old shrine which was still in use. It felt very strange at the time, but it was a very interesting and unforgettable experience.

I love so many things in Japan, its hard to narrow it down but if I had to, the list would include ; sushi, karaoke, Japanese TV dramas, cute characters, speedy train service, all you can drink alcohol, Japanese punk bands and music festivals. I'm an avid fan of Japanese punk bands and I regularly go to concerts and festivals. I once created a music video for the Tokyo punk band, Melt Banana. Japanese music can be so crazy. Much like the rest of the country, which is why I love Japan so much I guess.

Check out more of Jennifer Smile's work on her portfolio.


I love their clothing styles! Especially kawaii or lolita. I just absolutely love how people combine their clothes and make them look so cute! I would go to Japan just to see a few people dressed like that if I had enough money Happy
I love the COLORS, everywhere you look in pictures. Clothing, neon, billboards even
their food. So colorful and YUMMY!
I love the technology advantages and all of the vibrant colors and pretty designs. Also, I love the art, its super cute and makes me giggle everytime i see it.

and ninjas ^.^
My favorite thing about Japan is: How visually expressive they are!
From the food, to the toys, and the clothes...its so crazy and bright! ITs so amazing, and ive fallen in love with all of it. (especially the clothes and anime)

It is my #1 place on my list to visit, if i ever get a chance to travel. Happy
I can't chose only one favourite thing about Japan, because EVERYTHING IS REALLY AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL!... I love the japanese food, the manga, the culture, the different types of Lolitas, the people and artists, and all other things... But something that I really love is the meaning of the word "Japan": sun-origin... What can be more beautiful than that?
Japan shows the true beauty, technology, creativity and landscapes of the world!!!
My husband got me hooked on anime back when we were just friends in highschool. I have been addicted ever since. His brother got me to try sushi years later and all I can say is yum! I like to see people dressed in cosplay, and try to guess their character.
your pictures are so cooolll!!!!!!
My favorite thing a bout Japan is the beautiful fashion, the culture, and the scenery. Everyday looking at different things, makes everyday seem like an adventure. It just makes life better and fills it the heart with joy =D. Another thing I love about Japan is that the people are very kind and they don't care about someone dressing different.
My favourite thing about Japan is how people there are so kind, so modest, shy and basically super nice. At the same time they are very extravagant.

They are a well developed country with a mixture of technology but the great thing is that they never forget their traditions and that is just awesome!
I love how different Japanese food is from American food. I stayed in an aisan hotel once, and I was surprised to find rice, nori, and noodles out for breakfast, along with the traditional American eggs and sausage breakfast. By the third morning there, I was eating miso soup and rice for breakfast, and I ditched the waffles! However bizarre Japanese food first seemed, I think it was that strangeness that appealed to me the most.
ive always thought that the coolest thing aboout japan was its edo period ^_^ seriously, if travelling back in time were an option, id be there. maybe id finally aquire a taste for sushi too? have not yet done that -_-'
but overall, japan itself is fascinating with its amazing and colourful culture, its traditions, its technology and its people. there are many other things i could list that are amazing, but my comment is getting rambly...considering i havent even been to japan (yet!), ive got so much to say about it Tongue ive got so much more research to do and need to continue learning the language before i dare go there
My favorite thing about Japan is their fashion sense. Actually, everything about Japan is amazing but their fashion sense surprised me the most! Theirs are very inventive and what really fascinates me is that people don't seem to give you that "weird look" when you are dressed whether in Lolita, Visual K or Gyaru, etc. They really have individuality and respect for each other's self expression, unlike in most places I know. I love to dress in Lolita soo much! And Japan is one of the few places I know where you can feel that you're not being made fun of when you're dressed like one. Happy
My favorite thing about Japan is the culture and just the people and their whole outlook on everything.
I can't imagine anything but the resilience of the Japanese to recover and their sense of unity and national pride. In some ways it holds them back (notably with intra-Asian relations) but I can't think of a single other place on Earth that would have been able to come back so strongly and so remarkably quickly from the disasters they have faced recently. There's many other things to love about Japan, but that is certainly the most astonishing and admirable thing.
i love everything kawaii!!!!!!! oh and sushi :-p om nom nom
My favourite things about Japan has to be the culture, fashion and of course the food! It's all so diverse and so lively. Nothing can compare to how different those three components of Japan are. The fashion ranges to so many styles from gyaru to visual kei. The food is just so intriguing and tasty. The culture is so interesting and just sucks you right in to learn more!
if learning anything or paying attention in japanese class there's interesting things going on in that small hot room. i've learned that japan is basically ahead of development in many ways. thats what i love about japan just it's overall culture that blends into modern technology. it's a beautiful country with amazing people. i hope to go there some day.
My fave things about japan is, its unique style,i love the bright colours, i love the big cities, DEFINITELY the art and the manga. I think Japan is definitely unique. XXXXX
What I like the most of Japan... being just a person fascinated with the culture, but that has never had the chance to go there, is the way tradition mixes with the modern life. Young girls wearing kimonos for a festival while holding the most modern cellphone you can find sending an e-mail to a friend.
And bento boxes. I wish my mom had made them for me when I was young.
My favourite thing about Japan is the contrast between the new culture, J-pop and all, great technology and the old culture, geisha makeup, paper lanterns and all that, it's very exciting!
I think their pop culture has got to be THE favorite thing I like a Japan b/c when I think about Japan, I think everything kawaii meets technology. It's amazing how they appreciate the cute things, yet at the same time they remain tech savy. And looking at their cell phones, it's rediculous how much cute charms they keep on those. <3
My favorite thing about everything! Japanese food is my favorite, japanese art is my my favorite art, and I LOVE their Cherry Blossoms, they're so pretty Happy
My favorites would be the culture and technology of Japan, especially the food there.
What i love about Japan is the fashion. I am very inspired by Lolita especially. Their clothing style is simply adorable, or Kawaii Happy and i love it! I also think the cherry blossoms and the scenery is beautiful, also very inspiring. I have always really loved anime since i was a kid, i always had fun drawing it, and used to watch sailor moon. their culture is very cool!
One of my favourite things about Japan has got to be the beautiful cherry blossom festivals. I've seen so many pictures of sakura blossoms in the spring and they seem so romantic!
my favourite Japanese restaurants are the one with the food that comes past you on conveyor belts. I love watching your food go by! The food is always extra special too!

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Snippets is the free online magazine from Cut Out + Keep featuring the best in indie & DIY.

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