Field Notes - From the Editor

Real estate developers don't publish editorial magazines. There: I said it. It's the one thing ringing in my head as I sit down to write House of Koa's first Field Notes. Real estate developers print brochures. Campaigns. Marketing spiel. Prospectuses. And yet, here we are—our very first issue of the House of Koa Journal, featuring six grand adventures and the people who live them.

So let’s back up a little.

 In 2017, we came upon a piece of woodland at the foot of Mount Niseko-Annupuri in Higashiyama, Hokkaido, and among the snow covered shirakaba and waist deep powder, we set off on an adventure of a lifetime to build beautiful snow homes in Hokkaido. Then, in 2022, we set out again to reimagine a five-storey tong lau at the heart of Hong Kong's CBD. Along the way, we designed a line of utilitarian accessories (coming soon!); curated one-of-a-kind furniture; befriended artists, sandwich makers, craftsmen, mushroom enthusiasts, and so much more.

The House of Koa Journal is partly an archive of this grand adventure. But perhaps more than that, it is an ode to other people’s adventures and the adventures that we want to go on.

And what better way for us to launch our inaugural issue of the biannual House of Koa Journal than to explore something very close to our hearts—the very intersection between adventure and harmony: take a peek behind the seams of the world of classic menswear (and an encounter with the Italian underworld) with co-founder of The Armoury, Alan See; discover the story of Hong Kong’s only Italian bitters distillery with co-founder of Fernet Hunter, Raphael Holtz. Our friend John Carper, world renowned surfboard shaper and all-round badass takes us on a journey through the decades, from Honolulu to San Diego
and back, of surfing, shaping, money laundering, and (a recurring theme this issue, apparently) The Mafia. We sat down with Osaka-born fine art photographer, Reylia Slaby, to talk about her hypnotic, visceral work that transcends and challenges boundaries. Finally, adventure photographer, Aaron Jamieson sends us two stunning photojournal dispatches—one from Rishiri Island, and the other from the drift ice beyond the shores of Hokkaido.

As House of Koa continues to evolve, we will continue to do things differently; to take an opinionated approach not because we're unafraid, but because to do good work is to take risks.  

So, yes, perhaps real estate developers don't publish editorial magazines. But we aren't a real estate development company—at least not in the traditional sense. I prefer to think of us as makers with an opinion. 

Welcome to Issue One. We hope you'll stay for the journey. 


Jason Cheung