For the past few years, reading My Little Paris has been an important way for me to learn about what’s going on in Paris and to keep up with more current vocab. I learn something new with every post. Kanako Kuno’s illustrations add so much charm to the site. Kanako – as she always signs her work – had an international childhood – born in Japan, she then lived in Rio de Janeiro for three years as a small child. She went to art school in Tokyo. While she was there, her Italian teacher asked her to illustrate a textbook he was working on. She discovered that working as an illustrator was a blast. Unfortunately, it didn’t pay all that well and she had to continue to live at home and take part-time jobs on the side to help pay the bills.
But that experience of living in Brazil as a tot had given her itchy feet – Kanako moved to Finland with an aunt, then two years later, they moved to Hawaii. Ultimately, Kanako chose to move back to Japan where she pounded the pavement to land a steady job as an illustrator. But she still wanted to live abroad. Japan had a special visa program available for those who were under 30. This allowed her to live and work abroad for one year. She wanted a country that would provide her with a host of new experiences and good food, so she chose France. Kanako was able to extend her visa, and at the end of her second year, she landed her dream job at My Little Paris. She now lives permanently in France.
Last year, My Little Paris launched a fun series of videos entitled “Les Parisiens” that poked fun at the idiosyncrasies of the inhabitants of the City of Light. Kanako and My Little Paris turned vignettes from those videos into a book of illustrations: Les Parisiens: ce qu’ils disent, ce qu’ils font, ce qu’ils pensent (lay pair-ee-see-ehn : suh keel deez, suh keel fohn, suh keel pehns). The mayor’s office had a great idea – why not transform Kanako’s illustrations into a series of posters placed throughout the city. Here’s a video showing the highlights. They’re only on display until August 28, so catch them if you can! The 1,000 posters are clustered around the Champs-Élysées, Barbès, and Saint-Germain des Prés. Here’s the itinerary of precisely where you can find them.
The title of Kanako’s book in English is Parisiens: what they say, what they do, what they think. These days, Kanako has as much right to call herself a Parisienne as anyone else. Her illustrations perfectly capture all the(sometimes quirky) charms of life in Paris. Maybe my dream of calling Paris my home will come true for me, too.