The art of Gengoroh Tagame

18 06 2017

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Above, new Tagame-inspired swimwear from hipster manga company Massive and below, the infamous bath at Ueno’s 24 Kaikan.
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Tokyo secrets

27 05 2017

I recently stumbled on to a list of Tokyo attractions which included some surprising, and hitherto-unknown, sightseeing options, such as:

House of the Insect Poet (10 minute walk from Sendago subway station in Bunkyo Ward) is an insect museum inspired by a Japanese translation of famous poem about insects by the French poet Jean-Henri Fabre. Opened in 2006 in a building designed to resemble a cocoon, it houses specimens of insects and butterflies from around the world. Most of the specimens belong to a scholar of French literature who began collecting insects in the fourth grade and has since collected 100,000 specimens.

And who knew there was an ancient Egyptian museum in Shibuya?

Another surprise was the discovery of this very instagram-chic guide to the outer suburb of Fussa, by a very visual-savvy Hong Kong-based food stylist and “social media content provider.” My memories of Fussa are of a down-at-heel, but interesting, dormitory suburb on the Western fringes of Tokyo. I used to pass through every morning on my way to work at a small and shabby “English school” in Ozaku, almost the last gasp of metropolitan Tokyo before suburban sprawl hits the beautiful hills, cedar forests and lakes of the Oku-tama ranges. Fussa stood out for its vast US military base and the streets immmediately surrounding it, which featured Filipino and Thai bars (and bargirls) and family-run Latino restaurants (I was once called a gringo at the local station).  With its white and (more often) brown and black faces, American fast food and slightly raffish, red light air, it actually does provide quite a unique, and interesting, perspective on the metropolis – but not one I would have expected to see style-blogged. Until, that is, I realised that it was a paid promotion for a campaign to highlight more “regional” parts of Tokyo prefecture. Still, certainly worth a look.





Flowers in New York and Tokyo

21 05 2017

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Above, a rogue florist is turning public rubbish bins into floral art installations in New York. Below, a pop-up womens’ bathhouse designed by photographer Mika Ninagawa to promote Tsubaki (camellia) brand shampoo – open in Tokyo’s Ariake district for the next few months only.

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Tokyo 70s 80s

2 05 2017

 

Listening to records with friends over the weekend, the subject of Kenji Sawada came up. The fresh-faced and well-scrubbed teen idol morphed in the mid–70s into something much more transgressive, a louche Roxy Music-esque man-vamp in the mould of David Bowie, becoming an enduring Japanese music and fashion icon.

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He also starred in two notable movies, the Man Who Stole the Sun, a psychedelic romp about a rogue chemistry teacher who builds his own atomic bomb, and an iconic turn in the sumptuous Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters.

Sawada also appeared in the advertising campaign for PARCO department store, often paired with J-supermodel of the moment and fellow face of the early eighties, Sayoko Yamiguchi. What a time!

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Yamiguchi also flirted with Western rockers like Steely Dan – on the cover of one of their albums, above – and the rolling Stones.

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Tokyo mixtape

11 04 2017





Tokyo boys by Ryan Chan

18 02 2017

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New Tokyo landmark

25 09 2016

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The new “Ginza Place” building, which opened in Tokyo this week, housing the new product showrooms for Sony and Nissan. It is by the same architects, Klein Dytham, who did the Tsutaya T-Site Building in Daikanyama that I enjoyed so much on my Tokyo trip earlier this year, when I also explored the “new Ginza.”