Selected pages and front cover of one of my favourite Japanese books. It’s about paper craft and collage, it’s published by Pie Books, and I have no idea what the title is(!) but the ISBN is 4-89444-471-2.

Japanese books are one of my few internet shopping indulgences… occasionally I’ll order up big on Amazon Japan or Yes Asia… and the thrill of receiving that package and flicking through the pages of perfectly styled photographs, carefully selected paperstock, beautifully sketched diagrams and indecipherable kanji just gets me every time!

I can’t put my finger on why these books are so seductive (especially given that I can’t read a word of Japanese) but I’m not the only fan! Crafting Japanese is a great resource for selecting and buying Japanese books… a vast number of contributers post images of their purchases with the ISBN numbers here, which is the easiest way to track and buy these books if you don’t read Japanese. There’s also a pretty good selection on Flickr… try searching for ‘Japanese Books’ or ‘Japanese craft’.

Most of the books in my little collection are craft project books with beautiful shots of handmade bags, purses, cushions, baskets, printed fabrics or papercrafts… and gorgeous sketched diagrams to accompany each project. These delicate, hand-drawn little diagrams are usually enough to work out the construction of each item. But if you’re not handy with a sewing machine (or if, like me, you’re just a little short of time and motivation!) the photography and prop styling in these books is so stunning I guarantee they’ll still be an inspiration! If craft isn’t your thing, there’s also a wide range of inspiring interiors and travel titles – for a kooky Japanese take on subject matter like shopping in Stockholm or Parisian kitchens! (images below)

above – cover and pages from ‘Paris Kitchens’, ISBN 4-07-24600-7

above – cover (top left) and pages from ‘Lotta Jansdotter’s Travel Style’, ISBN 4-07-244191-0

Oh, and did I mention that most of these Japanese books are usually surprisingly cheap? Seriously… I don’t think I’ve ever paid more than AU$30 for one. Best to order a few at a time to save on shipping though… (not that you’ll need my encouragement).