Tokyo mixtape

11 04 2017

Tokyo boys by Ryan Chan

18 02 2017

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New Tokyo landmark

25 09 2016


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.”

New era

20 08 2016


News filtered through this week that the seventy-something Japanese emperor has been dropping hints of his impending abdication. It would mean the end of the Akihito era ( Imperial stints are renamed posthumously in Japan, so the official title wouldn’t emerge until either his death or effective abdication, I’m not sure which, and the Japanese calendar would again return to Year 1).

But there were other, perhaps even more meaningful signs of change afoot in the Eastern capital. Mega-boyband SMAP confirmed they would disband, a decision which to me seems startlingly overdue (the members are all squarely middle-aged) and will do little to dent their media ubiquity anyway. I had forgotten they actually released records in the avalanche of advertising campaigns, well-reported feuds and nervous breakdowns, films, detective dramas and Korean co-productions the SMAP “boys” have embarked on.

But much sadder was the closure of PARCO department store in Shibuya, a truly iconic Tokyo landmark, which once set the tone for Shibuya’s glistening youth fashion culture, complete with Eiko Ishioka-designed advertisements. The Logos bookstore in the basement was always on my personal “must do” list whenever I was visiting the city, or every Saturday morning, when I lived there. It was also where I saw the “Tokyo death banana!” and got hit on by a Japanese guy who had seen me at the Peel, a gay bar in Melbourne, the year before.

The PARCO chain lives on, but with its heart – for now – missing. It will reopen again in three years time, but will it still be the same ?

Dan the barbarian

4 08 2016

“Dan the Barbarian”, a manga series about culture clash between a sexy caveman and time-travelling current-day Tokyoites, was a conspicuous flop for illustrator Santa Inoue. His previous series “Tokyo Tribe” had spawned a cult status, millions of manga sold, a live action “hip hop opera” film adaptation and a popular fashion line with its own Harajuku headquarters. “Dan…” by comparison was so low-key that when I tried to find a copy, they weren’t even stocking it in the “Tokyo Tribe” store. It has now been released on kindle however on Japanese Amazon, together with a “Tokyo Tribe spinoff called “Tokyo Burger”.


6 07 2016


Tokyo calling

4 07 2016

Gucci continues its recent fun flirtation ( or rather, full-on affair) with the Seventies, this time in Tokyo.