Shako Club

Shako Club (or “social club”) is a community-engaged project I worked on with artist Cindy Mochizuki as part of my work with grunt gallery.

The project was created in collaboration with members of Tonari Gumi (Vancouver’s Japanese Community Volunteers Association), an association serving primarily Japanese Canadian seniors and new immigrants to Canada. Mochizuki spent 3 months in residence at Tonari Gumi, working in their commercial kitchen to create recipes and culinary sculptures that acknowledge equally the influence of cultural background, history, taste, aesthetic value, and an abiding love of snacks.

Through an ongoing series of workshops and taste experiments, Mochizuki and Tonari Gumi members crafted interpretations of the bento box (a traditional Japanese meal set containing a selection of small dishes) that combined culinary and sculptural sensibilities with stories, memories and advice, selected with care. The workshops were documented through a series of drawings and recipes available at the project website (, and the work culminated in the distribution of custom-made, edible bento “editions” to members of the public.

Shako Cup

Shako Cup illustration by Cindy Mochizuki

Shako Cup illustration by Cindy Mochizuki

As an unconventional ‘publication’ to celebrate the project, Cindy and I also created Shako Cup – a ceramic edition conceived of with and produced by Maggie Boyd. Drawing from the project’s focus on food, wellness and the social life of the kitchen, Shako Cup serves as both a publication and an object for flavourful contemplation. Custom-designed by Mochizuki and ceramicist Maggie Boyd, the edition is accompanied by a text by award-winning author Hiromi Goto and a unique tasseography (tea leaf reading) map, created with members of Tonari Gumi.

Read a conversation with Cindy and I.
And an article on the project by the Nikkei Voice.