A HOUSE IN TOKYO TO LIVE,
A 100 years old rice shop, converted into a retreat space for international creatives
Creatives coming to Tokyo searching for inspiration and ideas might find the city and the language challenging. We wanted to create a place where creatives from around the world come get inspired and create, but 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 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 of 2018.
The walls have been reinforced and painted, we created 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. 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 what we call The Permanent Collection, an ever changing mix of prints and originals for sale.
In the gallery we organize regularly events and workshops. Please check our Facebook page or Instagram feed to see what’s going on today. If you want to hold an event or show please let us know in our APPLY form below
2F TATAMI ROOM and STUDIO
We have two guest rooms:
The Tatami Room is located in the 2nd floor. It has been completely renovated, it has a tatami floor and a comfortable Muji double sized bed. The beautiful window/balcony faces a street where you can see Tokyo life and the seasons pass by.
The Studio is small but cosy. It can hold 2 people at a time. You can make use of the scanner, Wacom tablet (22 inch Cintiq), scanner and printer. We have a small library of books we love and inspired us, of course you can let them inspire you too. If you need more natural light to work, as a resident we welcome you to use the Gallery to work.
Please tell us your room preference in the form, although we cannot guarantee it will be available on your travel dates.
2階のTATAMI ROOMにはダブルベッドと台東区の活気あるストリートを見下ろせる窓スペースがあります。スタジオは2名まで使用可能。スキャナー、ワコム（22インチ Cintiq）等は無料で貸出しています。大きなスペース、自然光を希望する場合は1階のギャラリーでも作業が可能です。
応募の際は2階TATAMI ROOMまたは3階TERRACE ROOMの希望を記載して下さい。（日程によりご希望に添えない可能性もありますのでご了承ください）
3F TERRACE ROOM
Located on the 3rd floor, The Terrace Room is a cosy, more modern room. Inside there’s a block with your own Japanese washlet toilet and sink. Also it has direct access to the terrace. The terrace has a beautiful view of the Tokyo surroundings and all it has a outdoor shower you can use, weather permitting (up to you!). Some guests used the terrace for a plain-air painting and as a yoga room. The room has the same comfy Muji double bed as in the Tatami Room. In the room you will also have your own A/C which is necessary, in the summer it gets hot in the room.
Please tell us your room preference in the form, although we cannot guarantee it will be available on your travel dates.
滞在を希望される場合は、2階TATAMI ROOMまたは3階TERRACE ROOMの希望を記載しAPPLY formからご連絡ください。
We are located in the Asakusabashi - Kuramae area, which is being called the Brooklyn of Tokyo. Situated with 10 different train stations in a 13 min walk radius, you have many lines to choose from: Asakusa line, several JR lines (including the Yamanote), Oedo line, Ginza line, Asakusa line, Hibiya line… connecting directly to Shibuya, Omotesando, Shinjuku etc.
Narita airport is a 57 minutes direct train from Ueno Station.
Our ku (city ward) 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 from SF, 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. Also there are several nice old sentos where you can enjoy traditional Japanese bath, a laundry, supermarket and good bars for drinking and dining in the area.
Please ask for recommendations, we have tons of bookmarks and we will give you a copy of our neighbourhood map.
Here’s the building on 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、スーパーマーケット、居酒屋やバーなども揃っています。周辺のおすすめスポットをまとめたマップも作成しましたので、イベントの際などに是非入手して下さい。
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, light and decorate. By mending, painting, repurposing and taking a good care of old things we can save them from ending in the landfills. 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 one table is made from old wood that our friend found in an old kimono shop.
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.
Source ethically We also buy organic, fair trade and anything that have ethically conscious backgrounds. We try to 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.
Also, we operate on 100% Renewable Energy from April 2019.
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 try 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 endeavour. 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 but for artists?
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.
🖥 Can I just rent a desk at the shared studio?
Yes, if there is availability. 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. You can also rent a desk and show in the gallery, without accommodation.
🤝 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 CREATIVE RESIDENCIES
Prices vary from 9,000 to 11,000 yen a day, depending on how long you stay. They include the stay in the guest room (minimum of 14 nights) + office use + 4 to 6 day exhibition. We will introduce you to our network and help you with any questions/needs as far as we can. Shared kitchen, toilet and shower are on the 1st floor. If you stay on the TERRACE ROOM, you have your own toilet and outdoor shower.
Of course WIFI in the house, amenities and linen are provided. Please fill in the APPLICATION and we will get back to you with an estimate.
Please note the we can only book the dates for you on full payment. We do not accept deposits.
For EXHIBITIONS and EVENTS
The gallery rental price is 13,000-20,000 yen a day (1-7pm) depending on how much assistance you need. You can use the gallery for exhibiting and selling arts or products, or 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 can’t 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.
🗼 Will you show me the city?
We are sorry we cannot 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. 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?
If 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 🐱.
These are the different ways you can use our building
If you are interested in just having a show, giving a small concert or a workshop, this is your option. Please kindly note we curate all events.
Cost JP¥ 13,000(not staffed)/JP¥ 20,000(staffed)per day +20% of sales
(check the “GALLERY RENTAL” option)
DESK & GALLERY
If our room is booked or if you are living elsewhere in Tokyo, you can still rent a desk at Almost Perfect. A 4-day show in the gallery is included.
Duration 2 weeks~
Cost JP¥ 53,200 ~
(check the “RENT A DESK” option)
CREATIVE RESIDENCY (full service)
This is our full service, you can stay in our beautiful, Ikea-free tatami room, work on a desk and have a show in our gallery. We curate our guests very carefully.
Duration 2 to 6 weeks
Cost JP¥ 9,000-11,000 per night
(check “CREATIVE RESIDENCY”)