Image of cover of Kunel magazine from Japan

I have a list that isn’t written down. It consists of things I have bookmarked, pictures I have kept, snippets filed away. Things to look out for one day.

So. A friend was recently heading to Japantown in San Francisco, and was here anything in particular I was after? Well, yes. A copy of the Japanese magazine ku:nel. I had long since given up the idea of actually getting hold of a copy. The good Japanese magazines tend not to make it over here in huge quantities. I have contented myself looking at the covers of back issues of ku:nel online instead. But whatdoyouknow. I now have a copy.

Ku:nel is a nice – if not sweet – magazine. The cover of this issue is just lovely. Lovely photographs of plants. Nothing else. No copy to mar the graphic simplicity. I have never been convinced that magazines need tacky copy on their covers in order to sell them. Especially niche magazines. And even the bigger sellers; Vogue itself spent many decades with copy-free covers and looked all the better for it.

Ku:nel is a lifestyle-homes-interior-crafts-type magazine. Not exactly sure of the translation of the title and inside it is, of course, in Japanese. But far from frustrating me, this just gives me an excuse to simply look at the pictures. It’s what I do with most magazines, anyway. Very nice pictures in here: a selection of watering cans, a beekeeper, nicely laid out food, interestingly dressed ‘normal’ people…

Inevitably one thing leads to another. Getting the magazine means going back and looking online for information about things I spot in it. This then leads me to yet more blogs to subscribe to. Yet more intriguing Japanese products to hanker after. Yet more nice things to think about putting on my shelves.



ku:nel is the name of the magazines' little character. It was designed by the same woman who did the JR train network's penguin.


Hello Jane. I'm sending this to my son who is hoping to study Japanese at university next year. Have I said how much I enjoy your blog? I keep trying to send people here.


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