Born and raised in Tokyo, Ai left her hometown in 1998 and moved to New York to study graphic design at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Living the student life to its fullest degree, Ai frequently went from exhibition to exhibition and also interned for a number of agencies, magazines, and design studios. Eventually, her strategy paid off. Back in Tokyo, she quickly found her way working as a freelance art director, illustrator, and graphic designer.
We met Ai in her new home in Gakugeidaigaku, a residential neighborhood west of Shibuya where she had just moved with her boyfriend. Gakugeidaigaku is where Tokyo reveals its true spirit through a jumble of small streets filled with corner shops.
Here you will find old-school Japanese fish shops selling the freshest maguro sashimi next to sophisticated boulangeries and organic clothing shops. On a sunny weekend, the streets are crowded with young couples heading to the nearby Himonya Park to enjoy the first sakura blossoming. We followed the example, wrapped a bag with some delicacies, and proceeded to spend a perfectly calm Sunday afternoon whiling away the hours.