I’m Geri Coady—a designer and illustrator from St. John’s, Newfoundland—now living in Nottingham, UK. Join me as I share my lifelong passion for Japanese culture, language, and travel through illustration.
Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き) is a gorgeous comfort food, far removed from the more refined washoku and delicate sushi folks usually associate with Japanese cuisine. The word "okonomiyaki" can be broken down as お好み (o-konomi) meaning “preference” or “choice,” and 焼き (yaki) can be translated is “grilled” or “cooked.” The name alludes to the fact that you can choose whatever ingredients you want to add to the batter or topping, making it a highly personalised and fun dish to eat.
People are usually quite surprised to learn that, although I’ve been in love with Japan since I was twelve years old, I never had the opportunity to visit until I was thirty-three! In this new blog series, I’ll talk about the best hot spots around the world for travellers who may not be able to visit Japan, or who simply want to feel nostalgic about a journey long ago. First up, Copenhagen!
Well, after toying with the idea for a while, I’ve decided to create a Geri Draws Japan YouTube channel! For my first vlog, I’ve decided to share my original audition video for my appearance on TV Tokyo’s 「世界！ニッポン行きたい人応援団」(Who Wants to Come to Japan) program in February 2017.
From July 14-16 I attended the Hyper Japan Festival in London as a first-time vendor where I launched my Geri Draws Japan illustrations and goods. Since getting back from my trip to Japan in February, I’ve been planning, designing, printing, packaging, and stressing over getting every last detail right.
The Japanese Language Proficiency exam (JLPT), or 「日本語能力試験」as it is called in Japanese, was something I had been aware of since my teens. I always wanted to take it, but growing up in Newfoundland meant I knew it was something I would have to spend a lot of money on—the nearest testing location was, and still is, in Toronto.
To kick off 2017, one of the most unbelievable things happened to me—a Japanese TV crew visited my house in the UK to film me talking about my love for お好み焼き (okonomiyaki). It was part of my audition for the TV Tokyo program called 「世界！ニッポン行きたい人応援団」, or “Who Wants to Come to Japan?” as they call it in English, which invites foreigners with specific interests in Japanese culture to make their dreams come true with a visit to Japan.