The way you do anything is the way you do everything.

Designing a good life in rural Japan.

I’m a design professor, photographer, writer and a Papersky Japan Stories contributing editor; “Outdoors & Design”. Over the many years and many projects I’ve believe that good design come from a good person, leading a good lifestyle. How you live in the world impacts what you create. Design principles and process are not enough, therefore one must start with designing ones own lifestyle. Leading by example, doing the utmost to live —design— the change you want to see in the world.


Movement Nutrition Community Purpose

A newsletter exploring my journey and struggle to make sense of the world we live in, while trying to be and do a little better each day. In each “Newsletter” and shorter “postcards” sent, I hope to share insight and stories discovered along the way.

If this is something you are interested in please subscribe, to receive each new story by email (Paid subscribers get full archive and communication privileges). Are you a student? Want to become a subscriber? Click here.

My good work is supported by you.


Projects made possible by you.

A selection of creative projects, some ongoing, some paused and some closed. In recent years I’ve become interested in projects promoting education, co-creation and regeneration with environmental, economical and sociocultural benefits. Believing in responsible, transparent, fair-trade and traceable work ethics, with an emphasis on continued learning and improvement.

It’s projects like these and the people met along the way, which inspire the creative ideas talked about in each newsletter I write. In turn each new paying subscriber support more projects like these. Win win.



Make your own chopsticks with Hamidashimono.

We use upcycled premium cypress from the chopstick manufacturing process. Every Hamidashimono is shaped, collected, stored and dried as if it were a regular pair of chopsticks and once carved, is ready for use as an eating utensil. All wood comes from from sustainable forests near Yoshino, Nara, in the heart of Japan’s timber country.

This project is a collaboration between designers Jan Chipchase, James Gibson, Eko Hayashi and the Kitamura Seihashisho.

I wrote more about making —stopping to make— skateboards in my newsletter Harder to Stop than to Start.

Harder to Stop than to Start. (pt.2. Start)
Hello Full moon is upon us again and that means it's time to continue my story of stopping and starting creative projects. I'll keep this introduction short and jump right into pt.2: Start. ...after I say one word: hot, sooo hot! Okay, that was three words, but it is so bloody hot. The only way to cool my body and mind these…
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Rekindle the spirit of campfire storytelling.

“Schools began with a man under a tree who did not know he was a teacher, sharing his realisation with a few others who did not know they were students.” —Louis Kahn

A platform inspired by outdoor culture from which to view the world and share our stories.
On the border between the city and mountains we built a new type of outdoor space. A place away from the stress of our daily lives, to decompress and reset our minds and bodies. You could say it’s a classroom where everyone is a teacher and a student, sharing and listening to stories around the campfire. Stories Inspire us and help us remember the important things in life, they strengthen our community, while reconnecting us to the natural world.

“In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks.” —John Muir.


Lost Again Club

Outdoors with Love.

•O•W•L• is a project by Masaki Yokoyama, Takeuchi Futoshi, and James Gibson.

Using new materials and fabrication techniques to make minimal gear for trail runners, hikers and adventurers around the world. Our goal wasn’t to make more gear, or the same gear as other brands, but minimal products with specific functions that fulfilled our basic necessities while moving outdoors with love. It is because we love being in nature, and want to continue enjoying its beauty for many years to come, it became hard to continue making more things. We not only want to be conscious consumers, but conscious makers and to cause no unnecessary harm (like our friends at Patagonia). For this reason, we decided to pause our production until we could make new things, which not only causes less harm, but actually does good. Products that regenerate the environment and the lives of the people making and using our products, from material manufacturing to recycling, repairing and reusing. We would rather make nothing, more than make something which does not align with our core values. So for now we are rethinking the type of gear we want to make and how to make it. Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us down this path of exploration —a journey of discovery and possibilities.

Until then, we hope you continue enjoying life outdoors with love.



Being in & riding on nature.

OKA SKATEBOARDS is collaboration between James Gibson & Yoshiro Mizokami.

In 2012 we started making skateboards because we wanted to ride them, it’s as simple as that. It began over a glass of beer and a conversation about Back To The Future. We asked the question: “Wouldn’t it be cool to make our own skateboards?”

So we did!

All the boards were made by us in Yoshiro’s factory set deep in the Shiga countryside. Many of then taking inspiration from classic surfboards and early skateboard designs; cut from wood picked for its colour and natural grain. We don’t use griptape, because it isn’t needed, we love to see and touch the wood. Why cover it? OKA isn’t about the latest trick or going fast. We believe in enjoying life and work, in the quality of simple materials and the feeling of motion, gravity and nature in perfect combination.

I wrote more about making —stopping to make— skateboards in my newsletter Harder to Stop than to Start.

Harder to Stop than to Start. (pt.1. Stop)
Hello Why do we start new projects? Why do we stop old projects? For what reason do we work so hard? What is the purpose, your purpose? What does a project say about you? I’m a little late for the August full moon newsletter. The changing seasons caught me by surprise and I found myself needing a few days to recuperate. I also wrote what turned out to be t…
Read more

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Nutrition, Movement, Community & Purpose.


Designing a good life in rural Japan - A design professor, photographer, writer and a Papersky Japan Stories contributing editor; Outdoors & Design.