A HOUSE IN TOKYO TO LIVE,
A 100 years old rice shop, converted into a meeting space for international creatives
Creatives coming to Tokyo searching for inspiration and ideas might find the city and the language challenging. We want to create a place where creatives from around the world come and meet, get inspired and create, and also have the chance to show their work and meet Japanese peers. This is Almost Perfect.
An old rice shop and family house
A house from 1924 nicely renovated in a Modern Japanese style, the rice store on the first floor fed the family who lived upstairs for several generations.
Built right after the 1923 Kanto earthquake, it survived the WWII bombings. We found the house in a pretty good state. The renovation took just 2 months and we officially opened on the 1st of October, 2018.
The walls have been reinforced and painted, we made a new wall to show art on the gallery and kept the old rice machines in place as a tribute to the owner's past hours of labour.
1F THE GALLERY
We have a big wall for exhibitions which change regularly. Guest artists staying in the house show their work there and also we welcome local and international artists to exhibit. On the corner we have the piano and the Permanent Collection, with a changing mix of small prints and originals for sale.
2F RESIDENCE and OFFICE
The Guest Room has been completely renovated, it has a brand new tatami floor and a Muji bed. The beautiful window/balcony faces a street where you can see Tokyo life and the seasons pass by.
Our office is small but can hold 3 people. One is the guest, other is founder Luis Mendo and the other is for creatives willing to rent it. At the moment we are full since Ailsa Johnson is going to be here until March. If you want to rent a desk after March 2019 please fill in the APPLY form below.
Asakusabashi and Kuramae is being called "the Brooklyn of Tokyo". The house is conveniently situated with 10 different train stations in a 13 min walk radius, with many lines (Asakusa line, several JR lines including the Yamanote, Oedo line, Ginza line, Asakusa line, Hibiya line…). Direct connection to Shibuya, Omotesando, Shinjuku etc. Going to the Narita airport is a 57 minutes direct train from Ueno Station.
The ku (city) is Taito-ku, which originally was a makers area where many craftsmen made leather goods, buttons, tin cans… and now is declining because of the move of production to other areas and countries. There are loads of young couples moving here because is quiet but central, it has wide, safe streets, the terrain is flat and easy to walk and bike through. You probably have heard of our area before: otaku and electronics town Akihabara, the Senso-ji temple and foodie paradise Kappabashi are at walking distance and famous amongst visitors.
Many cafes, little shops and galleries are coming to the area recently, like the delicious Dandelion Chocolate, Kakimori (where they make lovely custom made sketchbooks), Inkstand for your best waterproof ink needs, Coffee Wrights for perfect espressos and the gorgeous Readin’ Writin’ bookstore. Please ask for recommendations, we have tons of bookmarks on our neighbourhood map.
Also there’s several nice old sentos where you can bath, a laundry, supermarket and good bars for drinking and dining in the area.
Here’s a pin of the building in Google Maps.
電気街で有名な秋葉原や浅草寺、合羽橋道具街も近く、新たなスポットではダンデライオンコーヒー、カキモリ、インクスタンド、Coffee Wrights、Readin’ Writin’ bookstoreなどがあります。また近辺にはいくつもの銭湯、コインランドリー
Being sustainable is very close to Almost Perfect’s heart, we are not doing this just because it sounds good, we have been doing it for years before this project. Yuka's INHEELS ethical fashion brand is a good proof of it.
Upcycle/Recycle We love upcycling. We use already existing things as much as possible: in the building, to wrap, hang, lighten and decorate. By mending, painting, repurposing and taking a good care of old things we can save them from going to the landfill. It feels better than buying shiny brand new stuff made of virgin materials and it also adds charm to our place. This is why our bags are from other shops and our cups are stamped instead of printed. There's already enough stuff around us.
Source locally Our area, Asakusa/Kuramae is a jewel box of all sorts of makers. We believe that sourcing locally not only reduces transportation costs but also supports and nourish the beautiful community we are a part of. We found printers, wine and bag makers, coffee roasters, even tin artisans in our neighborhood to name a few.
Source ethically We also buy organic, fair trade and anything that have ethically conscious backgrounds. We get things directly from producers, or from people who know the producers directly rather than mass produced items where it is impossible to know who are actually making them. We believe that if you are friends with the producers, you cannot exploit them nor their lands.
Co FounderのYukaはサステナブルファッションブランドINHEELSの代表でもあり、サステナビリティはAlmost Perfectが大切にしていることの一つです。
Your questions, answered
💃 Is this only for artists?
Definitely NOT. We welcome designers, art directors, photographers, illustrators, artists and anyone who creates, really. We do not think people outside the creative sector will enjoy much our place or our events, but you can always convince us otherwise.
🤔 Who is behind Almost Perfect?
We are Luis Mendo (art director, illustrator) and Yuka Martín Mendo (founder and director of ethical fashion brand INHEELS), we funded the place with our own money and are the ones who run it as an independent endavour. Also, our cat Señor is living here. We wanted to create a place that Tokyo and the international creative community deserves. Read more about our career paths in this fantastic State of Tokyo feature.
🔍 How is the guest curation made?
We have a panel of curators who make the selection for us. They are professional artists, journalists and art directors who have a good eye and understand we need to keep a consequent line in the kind of art we show. This is why it's very important that you pitch yourself and your work well in the APPLICATION form. Tell us if you have a plan, an idea, of what you are going to work on during your stay. Give us links to your portfolio site, we want to see your Tumblr, Dribble, Instagram and whatever you have to show what you (can) do.
🙅 Is this like a hotel or airbnb?
Absolutely NOT. We are not a hotel and you cannot rent the room to just sleep in there. We hope and expect creators are willing to interact, learn and teach new things to our community of Tokyo creators. Tokyo is a fantastic city but it can feel as an island at times, we want Japanese and local creators be inspired by and inspire our guests. We provide the experience of spending a productive time in Tokyo. If you come for a relaxing vacation or sightseeing, Almost Perfect shouldn't be your choice. We are looking for engaging creators, not tourists.
🎨 Can I just have an exhibition in the gallery?
By all means YES. Please get in touch through our APPLICATION form and let us know who you are and what you would like to do.We will get back to you with more details.
🤝 I would like to hold an event in the gallery space, can I?
Also, by all means YES. Please get in touch through our APPLICATION form and let us know who you are and what you would like to do. We will get back to you with more details.
💵 What are your prices and what do I get for it?
For ARTIST RESIDENCIES
Prices vary from 9,000 to 13,000 yen a day, depending on how long you stay. They include the stay in the guest room (minimum of 7 nights) + office use + 4 to 7 day exhibition. We will introduce you to our network and help you with any questions/needs as far as we can. Also, 1 free coffee a day, WIFI and free entrance to any events we might have in the house during your time with us. Kitchen, toilet and shower are on the 1st floor and are shared with us but we are clean and neat. The kitchen, toilets and shower are new and we placed new tatami in the guest room. All guest room furniture and linen are also new. Of course, also amenities and linen are provided. Please fill in the APPLICATION and we will get back to you with an estimate.
For EXHIBITIONS and EVENTS
We offer the whole gallery space on 1F for exhibiting art and selling products under different conditions, depending on what you need the space for: book presentations, private dinners, small concerts, product showroom, photo shooting, pop-up store... talk to us, we are happy to discuss the possibilities. Just fill in the APPLICATION form.
😢 I love the idea, but I just cannot afford it.
Governments of most countries have grants to support artists and programs to pay for artist residencies. Please search around. We are already in talks with different official organisms in different countries to make it easier for artists with limited resources.
📅 I am applying for a grant, can you block the dates until I receive the funding?
Please understand we cannot lock your dates until we receive payments in full. Keeping everyone’s dates until they get grants would put an enormous pressure on our calendar and be unfair for others.
🖥 Can I just rent a desk at the shared studio?
Maybe, we have a very limited amount and like to work with inspiring creatives sitting next to us. Please get in touch through our APPLICATION form and let us know who you are and what you would like to do. We will get back to you with prices and more details.
🗼 Will you show me the city?
We are sorry we are too busy to show you the city but will be glad to give you instructions on how to move around and find your way. Also, we can do a little walk with you in the area to show you the best spots on the first day.
💰 I have some art/prints I would like to sell
We would love that! Luis is in charge of the curation of our stock. Please email him about it.
💑 Can I bring my partner to the room?
The bed is for 2 so you can bring your partner (we ask a 20% extra fee) but we prefer if you leave your children and pets at home.
🐈 There's a cat in the house!?
Oh yes. We won't allow him in your room, don't worry. He will stay mainly on 3rd floor in our residential area but if you are allergic to cats maybe you won't be able to stay with us. We are terribly sorry.
🏢 Do you do partnerships/sponsorships with companies?
Only with good companies who share the same passions. Please email Yuka for enquiries.
🙊 What languages are spoken in the house?
We master Japanese, English, Dutch and Spanish, but English is the common ground we all use on daily life. Señor the cat speaks Neko-go 🐱.