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Michael Fiorella
Tokyo, Japan
Bilingual, 25-year resident of Japan. Expert on Japanese consumers, lifestyle products and Japan market entry. Curator of The Spark Galleries, a syndicate of online shops selling art, antiques and home accessories.
Interests: Sosaku hanga, Japanese woodblock prints, Japanese kokeshi dolls, Japanese antiques, Japanese vintage, fine art photography, graphic design, market trends in Japan, Japanese consumers, Japan market entry strategy, Japanese language, Chinese martial arts, world travel, world cuisine, movies, TV, books.
Recent Activity
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We love this stylish and elegant Japanese kokeshi doll from the 1960s. She looks like royalty from "The Tale of Genji," but sculpted with a delicate mid-century modern eye. Continue reading
Posted Apr 15, 2017 at JAPANESE KOKESHI DOLLS
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This rather unusual vintage kokeshi doll was made in 1969. We love her sleepy eyes, "kappa" hairstyle and a powder blue kimono. The hand-carved detailing is wonderful. Available on our Etsy site. Continue reading
Posted Apr 15, 2017 at JAPANESE KOKESHI DOLLS
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This beautiful vintage Japanese kokeshi doll was hand-turned and hand painted by renowned kokeshi artist Sansaku Sekiguchi. With peaceful eyes and a sweet mouth, this lovely ningyo (doll) has a "kappa" hairstyle and a brown kimono with floral geometric pattern. Hand signed by the artist. A beautiful vintage kokeshi! Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2017 at JAPANESE KOKESHI DOLLS
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This beautiful and rare vintage sosaku kokeshi doll is over a foot tall (33 cm). beautifully made. This lovely woodgrain kokeshi has an adorable expression and a unique silhouette.Signed by hand on the base by the artisan who made her. A notation indicates that the previous owner acquired the doll... Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2017 at JAPANESE KOKESHI DOLLS
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New in our Etsy store. An elegant woodgrain kokeshi doll with long hair and a rich red-brown kimono and gorgeous hand carved floral detail. Handmade by artist Hajime Miyashita, this vintage kokeshi doll won a design award from the Japanese government. Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2017 at JAPANESE KOKESHI DOLLS
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These three vintage Japanese kokeshi dolls were made in the 1960s. Brimming with personality, they were made by "sosaku" kokeshi artisans who were mavericks in kokeshi doll design. Rare! Available in our online store now: goo.gl/t6I4Su Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2017 at JAPANESE KOKESHI DOLLS
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This unusual sosaku* kokeshi doll was handmade in Japan in the 1950's. It was produced in the Shirahama area of Shizuoka and is signed on the bottom, "Saburo", by the artist. We sold this lovely doll through our shop on Etsy (www.JapaneseKokeshiDolls.etsy.com). *Sosaku kokeshi are artistic, freestyle dolls that break... Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2017 at JAPANESE KOKESHI DOLLS
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A lovely example of a super-cute vintage wooden kokeshi doll, hand-carved and hand-painted in Japan in 1971 (base is annotated with date: Showa 54, February 28. Showa 54=1971). Nice traditional design with a bit of mid-century modern flavor thrown in. Approximate dimensions: Height: 20 cm (8 inches) Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2016 at JAPANESE KOKESHI DOLLS
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#Beautiful #summer #art! #Kids at the #beach under a #blue #sky! #Cute #handmade #Japanese #print from our #Etsy store. goo.gl/a7l1Ly Continue reading
Posted Jun 9, 2016 at SPARK GALLERIES
Hi and welcome to Gimlet Eye. I don't know where this blog is going (if anywhere), but it's likely to evolve considerably if anybody starts reading it and they find it informative, useful or entertaining. I like stories (books, TV, movies) and I follow a lot of television programs. While... Continue reading
Posted Sep 29, 2014 at Gimlet Eye
Are the producers of Castle running out of steam? The show used to be smart and a lot of fun. I'm wondering why more resources aren't being applied to maintain and or improve its quality. This episode felt pretty underwhelming and sloppy. See my notes below. **SPOILER ALERT** The episode... Continue reading
Posted Sep 29, 2014 at Gimlet Eye
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Boy oh boy. I love the fresh bread that's available in Japan. One of my favorites for breakfast is this one that's packed with toasted sesame seeds. Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2014 at New Sun Rises
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Delicious steak and side dishes today. All this plus a salad and drink for $16, including tax. In Japan there's no tipping, so $15 means $15. Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2014 at New Sun Rises
Posted Sep 19, 2014 at New Sun Rises
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They seem to be out of pamphlets so I don't quite know how this new service works. Love the fact that they're using little bikes with baskets though. . . Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2014 at New Sun Rises
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Thrilled to be eating from our favorite Indian delivery joint! Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2014 at New Sun Rises
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This tart may have the power to change your perspective on cakes and pastries forever. . . Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2014 at New Sun Rises
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No matter how much time you spend in countries where English is not the native language you never quite get used to the curious ways people put words together. . . Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2014 at New Sun Rises
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I just acquired this item for one of our stores. Made in 1936 by a Japanese artist whose name escapes me at the moment. Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2014 at New Sun Rises
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Such a pleasure to walk along Omotesando near my old apartment. The view only gets better and better with spectacular new structures popping up all the time. The speed of change in Tokyo is staggering so the adjoining backstreets are constantly evolving too. I took a quick walk around the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2014 at New Sun Rises
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Methinks I sees new uses for saws . . . Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2014 at New Sun Rises
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Picked up these carvings and castings from a local antiques dealer who had them priced at about one-tenth of their value. He told me he was happy to sell them cheap because they had been donated by a nearby temple that was disposing of old statuary as preparation for renovations... Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2014 at New Sun Rises
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Happy to have ready access to fresh fish again! This Japalian pasta dish prominently features Pacific Saury (aka Sanma or Mackerel Pike). Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2014 at New Sun Rises
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View from the elevator of Tokyu Honten department store looking down the main way to Shibuya Station. Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2014 at New Sun Rises
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After living for over 25 years in Japan, I have gotten so used to life without a car. You can get from just about anywhere to anywhere using your legs, bicycles, buses and trains. Bicycles are everywhere in Japan and the infrastructure is built to reflect it. The picture on... Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2014 at New Sun Rises