Skip to content
Rubbish FAMzine #12
A mag in five pix

Rubbish FAMzine #12

The arrival of Rubbish FAMzine from Singapore has become an annual ritual here at magCulture. Yesterday the 2024 edition of the zine arrived at the shop, so I thought I’d share its contents.


First, a quick reprise of the project. Conceived, developed and handmade by the Lin family (Pann, Clare and their children—now tenenagers—Aira and Renn), each issue is a themed collection of parts based around their shared interests in food, music and pop culture. Beautfully designed and printed, then pieced together by hand, only 300 copies are produced, lovingly put together by the family at their Singapore home.

Although immediately recognisable in terms of its vivid colours and typography, each edition takes a quite different form (search our previous reviews here on the Journal.)

Titled ‘The Insatiable Beasts devours Tokyoto Again’, issue 12 sees the family make their long-awaited (thanks to the pandemic) return to Japan. The nine booklets—and 700 pages—that make up the issue reflect their trip through Ramen Rider, a pastiche alter-ego of Japanese superhero Kamen Rider.

This time the issue arrives as a cardboard box, carefully treated to appear old and worn (check those edges!), and designed as if it contains a plastic model of Ramen Rider. Only the flouro stickers hint that it’s the latest Rubbish FAMzine.


Inside, there’s a packet of instant noodles, a pair of chopsticks, a napkin (food!), and a series of small zines that when seen together form a patchwork ‘front cover’ of the issue, announcing the issue title (below) in multiple colours.

Pull the zines apart and their individual identities become clearer; each one has its own title, and while six of them are tiny bound books, there are other items too, such as a minature box about music, including a record of a visit to the world’s final branch of Tower Records in Tokyo, a tiny picture book about a gig the family saw in Tokyo, a guitar pick and sticker.

There’s so much here, I can’t run through it all, but the total effect is as strong as ever: at top level a gloriously colourful and exciting box of parts that is immediately engaging. Dig deeper and find the detailed research and rich reflection from the trip to Japan. Learn about favourite shops, the best meals, the failed photography and the cats of Tokyo, while getting an insight into the family relationships that the FAMzine has always been concerned with.

This glimpse inside one mini-zine (above) gives a sense of the project. It follows the four members of the family as they rediscover Japan. The flouroscent colours, analogue photography and sticker attached by paperclip sums up the uniqueness of Rubbish FAMzine, mixing high-end printing and manufacture with a handmade aesthetic that bursts with charm.

Although unique in execution, Rubbish FAMzine does what all magazines aspire to—it creates a unique world that is entirely its own—and is an inspiration to magazine-makers of all types everywhere.

Buy your copy from the magCulture Shop

Rubbish FAMzine #12

Sorry, not enough stock!
Previous post Tom Rowley, Backstory
Next post Joanna Cummings, Grub Street Journal