Akira Isogawa finds the most important thing to pack is good company, not your entire wardrobe.
Which was your best holiday?
When I think about the best holidays I've had, it's really the company that makes them special - the friends and family I get to see or travel with. I do go away often but it is mostly work-related. I had a beautiful time at home with my family this year. My family is in Kyoto, Japan. It is such a picturesque city. The surroundings were very nice and I hadn't caught up with my family for ages. My father lives by himself - my mother passed away 10 years ago - so my siblings and I got together with him. I see my father as a friend. We went out and had a meal and then drinks and it ended with my father singing karaoke. He's 80.
And the best hotel you've stayed in?
I have to bring up Japan again here. A few years ago I was in Kyoto and I booked one night in a ryokan, which is a really traditional Japanese inn. You sleep on the floor. You are treated with traditional Japanese breakfast and I had a very memorable experience there. It was an even more traditional experience than I had with my family.
What do you need for a perfect holiday?
I often find myself travelling with others and I think great company is vital. Also, if I travel by myself, like I do for business, then I like to meet people and so it's the new friendships I make. I love the excitement of meeting them.
What do you always take with you?
I need my contact lenses and glasses to see. I have to see what I'm doing!
What's your best piece of travel advice?
It's really commonly said, but travel light. I don't know if people actually listen to it. There is no point carrying something you never get to wear. I can often just buy what is necessary when I'm abroad. I mostly spend time in London, Paris, Tokyo and Indonesia, and they are countries that have efficient stock of everything you require. I stick to buying basics when I travel unless I come across a pleasant surprise or something inspirational I want to have in my environment at home.
Where do you want to go next?
I would like to discover more about Australia. It would be somewhere in this country. When I first came to Australia I backpacked and have been around, but that was two decades ago and I'm sure a lot of changes have happened since then. I love Tasmania - it's somewhere I'd love to go back to - and the Northern Territory.
What do you hate about holidays?
Not much. Even when I have to work on holiday, I find that work is leisure as well. I'm lucky to be able to live like that. Work is an extension of myself, I really enjoy doing it. After holidays, dealing with the time difference is hard, though. It takes more than a few days and I don't like it because it slows you down.
Which was your worst holiday?
That's a very difficult question because holidays are meant to be for pleasure.
And your worst experience on holiday?
I had to go to the dentist a couple of times in Paris because I didn't deal with it in Sydney. I had to have someone accompany me and help me out after the treatment. But all these incidents, they are just things that happen. I have missed flights a few times but when things like that happen you deal with it in the best possible way. Avoid stress. If you keep calm, then everyone else will stay calm and be able to assist you better.
What's the biggest packing mistake you've made?
Luckily for me, I haven't really had anything bad happen, packing-wise. The more you travel, the more you learn what to take and how to pack quickly. I did lose my bag once when I arrived in Paris. That was a bit stressful because the bag had garments and samples in it to show clients. I got over it quickly, though, and the bag arrived the next day.
Which is the worst hotel you've stayed in?
Once I was travelling with business colleagues and staying in a hotel in London where the service was pretty nasty. Actually, it wasn't bad service because they didn't actually have any service. It was very difficult doing business from the hotel room. It wasn't comfortable, but those things happen.
What do you avoid on holiday?
It is not what to avoid but rather I try and do things that can't be done in Sydney. I find the things that can be done only in those particular countries - I think that's much more adventurous. I have not had many holidays that are not work-related but if I have the opportunity to travel just for the sake of a holiday, I would think about what adventures can be had.
Five Akira Isogawa designs can be seen as part of the Art Gallery of NSW exhibition Kamisaka Sekka: Dawn of Modern Japanese Design until August 26.